In a letter sent a little more than two months ago from the president of thePhilly Fraternal Order of Police to the Philly Police Advisory Commission, the FOP president wrote it was “absolutely incredible that you would engage in any attempt to further weaken and demoralize the Philadelphia Police Department in a time of crisis with a significantly growing crime problem in this City. The danger your policy poses to our citizens is both reckless and inexcusable.” The Commission’s alleged attempt to weaken the Philly PD involved calling officers and telling them to apologize to civilians that have complained.
The Police Advisory Commission did not respond to the letter. Asked about it, the executive director, William Johnson, said: "the letter isn't factual in its content, so we're not going to engage in that."
The letter from the FOP president ended by claiming the Police Advisory Commission “poses a direct threat to public safety” in Philadelphia. Joel Mathis at Philly Magazine’s Philly Post blog interpreted the letter this way:
McNesby’s attitude, then, is that accountability—even toothless accountability—is dangerous, that citizens who demand it are a threat. This is scary stuff.
To be fair, Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey appears to be fighting these attitudes… But he’s fighting an uphill battle.
We in Philadelphia rightly and regularly lament the “stop snitching” culture that allows criminals to evade responsibility for their crimes. But we rarely talk about how that culture is perpetuated by the evident contempt of local cops for the city and residents they serve. The police don’t earn our trust just because they have a badge and a gun.
Philadelphia police hate Philadelphia. Their job might be easier—and we all might be safer—if they didn’t.