Philly seeks stronger recruits amid police woes

PHILADELPHIA - August 5, 2010

The charges include rape, murder, drug dealing and theft.

The latest case was last week's arrest of 25-year police veteran Kenneth Crockett. He was caught on surveillance video, allegedly rifling a safe for cash in a Frankford bar, where his K-9 unit responded to a burglar alarm.

"We've already got a few cases that I'm aware of now, that still haven't come out yet, which I will not talk about yet because they're open investigations that we have yet to complete," Ramsey said.

Commissioner Ramsey displayed a lengthy plan to weed out bad cops. The major points include expanding the size and scope of the Internal Affairs unit, creating a 24 hour hotline for reporting police corruption directly to the commissioner's office, and raising the standards for hiring, meaning cadets will have be 21 years of age instead of 19, with a substantial number of college credits.

Ramsey concedes his 6,500 member police force has to deal with what amounts to an internal no-snitch culture of its own.

"We've got to create an environment where people feel comfortable coming forward and speaking up when someone's doing something wrong and maybe that's where we've fallen down," Ramsey said.

The president of the police union, John McNesby, says he is OK with the commissioner's corruption remedies.

"It doesn't seem all that bad, different hiring practices, a little bit more stringent. Nobody wants to work with a bad cop, I think what happened last week sent a rippling effect down the spines of a lot of street cops out there," McNesby said.

Philadelphia's police force has been rocked by a series of officers being accused of committing serious crimes:

-As stated above, last week, Action News showed exclusive videos allegedly showing K-9 Officer /*Kenneth Crockett*/ stealing $825 from an unlocked safe at /*Pat's Café*/ in Port Richmond.

-Former cop /*Adrian Makuch*/ was sentenced to prison last month, for having sex with minors.

Fired cop /*Alhinde Weems*/ was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison for his conviction on crack cocaine and firearms charges.

-Last month three ex-officers, /*Robert Snyder*/, /*James Venziale*/ and /*Mark Williams*/, were indicted on federal charges with scheming with a drug dealer, to sell heroin they stole from another local drug lord.

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey has fired 55 police officers since he came to the city two-and-a-half years ago.

"We've got to be thoughtful about this, but we've got to do something," Ramsey said. "We can't ignore the fact that we've got an issue that needs to be addressed... It brings discredit to the entire department and it puts a cloud over all of us and it just should not be."

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