Richard Ross, a 26-year veteran of the force, was sworn in as Philadelphia’s new police commissioner at a Tuesday ceremony where he discussed the importance of working with the community to make improvements, according to ABC 6.
The 51-year-old — who was sworn in at his alma mater Central High School by Mayor Jim Kenney and city district attorney Seth Williams — held the Bible during the ceremony, writes the television news outlet.
He replaces Charles Ramsey, a well-respected African-American leader who presided over a dramatic decline in homicides in the nation’s fourth largest police department, notes the news outlet.
Congrats to Philly's new Police Commissioner, Richard Ross! The PPD and our citizens could not be in better hands! pic.twitter.com/hh37P71mMJ
During remarks after his swearing in, Ross said he chose to have the ceremony at Central because it represents the incredible ethnic and economic diversity of Philadelphia, what he called “a city of neighborhoods.”
He said police need to be more responsive and more accountable to all neighborhoods.
Ross told a story from his childhood that he said made an impression on how communities can cooperate to boost safety.
Ross also stressed the importance of using technology like body cameras and cameras on the street to help officers reduce crime.
His hiring comes at a time when the nation is grappling with rising complaints of police brutality, mostly in communities of color. Activists and civil rights leaders have repeatedly called for cities to diversify their police forces.