Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has tapped respected law enforcement veteran Charles Ramsey to help direct civil rights reforms in the city’s beleaguered police department, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Ramsey, 65, an African-American Chicago native, came up through the ranks in the city’s police department. He rose to become deputy superintendent from 1994 to 1998, before departing to head up Philadelphia’s department. He was up for consideration as Chicago police superintendent several times, including in 2011.
President Barack Obama last year named Ramsey as co-chairman of a White House task force to identify strategies to help strengthen police community relations across the country.
Ramsey, an architect of the Chicago department’s community policing program, will return to advise city leaders on policies, training and accountability when it comes to the use of force, interactions with people with mental illness and community policing, the city said in a statement Sunday. Ramsey lost bids in 1992 and 1998 to become police superintendent in Chicago.
“Hopefully, we will begin to make progress, make inroads, in many communities where relationships are strained,” said Ramsey, who grew up in Englewood.
Ramsey will be paid $350 per hour as a consultant, the mayor’s office said. He plans to begin work Monday, participating in a conference call with officials in Chicago. Ramsey, who lives in Philadelphia, also plans to frequently travel to Chicago to work with police officers, community members and the U.S. Justice Department, which announced a review of the department in December in the wake of the release of the Laquan McDonald video.
The Justice Department is in the midst of reviewing the CPD’s practices, notes USA Today:
Before Ramsey left the Philadelphia police last month, the Justice Department praised the department for making quick progress in implementing changes recommended by the federal probe on deadly force by police in the City of Brotherly Love.
“Commissioner Ramsey is a not only a national leader in urban policing who has led two major police departments through civil rights reforms — he is also a native Chicagoan who knows our police department and our communities,” Emanuel said in a statement.
We hope Ramsey can help bring about much-needed change in the city’s department, especially as it relates to excessive force in communities of color.