The choice of who will succeed Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey will be made by the next mayor of Philadelphia when he or she enters office in January.
A call to comment from Republican candidate Melissa Murray Bailey was not immediately returned. Democratic candidate Jim Kenney’s campaign declined to comment.
During the press conference in which Ramsey announced his retirement, the commissioner responded to media questions regarding who might become the city’s next police commissioner. The possibility of First Deputy Commissioner Richard Ross stepping into the job was mentioned. However, Ramsey also stated there is a great deal of talent within the Philadelphia Police Department and many ranking officers with strong leadership capabilities. He said whoever will be the city’s next police commissioner is going to be the next mayor’s decision.
“He’s the best out there and if he’s not going to run this department it will be a department somewhere else,” Ramsey said about Ross. “But obviously that’s going to be the next mayor’s call. The next mayor will want to pick his own team.”
Ross is a native Philadelphian. According to his official biography, he’s known for his compassion for people and his commitment to public safety. He believes in community policing and the power it has to effect change in this country. Ross also believes in the importance of mentoring, and mentors a number of young people.
He joined the Philadelphia Police Department in April of 1989. He was appointed to the rank of Deputy Commissioner in August of 2005 and to First Deputy Commissioner/Field Operations in May of 2008. He holds the civil service rank of chief inspector and has served in several units: patrol, special operations, detective bureau, homicide and internal affairs. In his capacity as first deputy commissioner of field operations, the units under his command include all homeland security, criminal intelligence, and the mayor’s security detail.
He is a graduate of Central High School and has an undergraduate degree in Labor & Industrial Relations from Penn State University, and a master’s degree in criminal justice from Saint Joseph’s University. He is a graduate of the Northwestern School of Police Staff and Command, the F.B.I. National Academy, the National Executive Institute, and the Police Executive Leadership Institute. He also has a certificate in leadership from the Harvard Kennedy School.
Another potential candidate is Deputy Commissioner Kevin Bethel, who oversees patrol operations.
Bethel, a graduate of the city Police Academy in 1986, is under Ross’s command on the organizational chart for the department. He oversees the 21 patrol districts, city school district police, Police Athletic League and community relations unit. His assignments have included positions in the special investigative bureau, narcotics strike force and internal affairs. He also previously served as commander of the 17th Police District. He holds a bachelor of science degree in criminal justice from Chestnut Hill College, and a master’s degree in public safety from St. Joseph’s University.
Another top deputy commissioner is Nola Joyce, who has extensive experience in the area of public safety. She joined the department in 2008 and is currently deputy commissioner of organizational services, strategy and innovation.
Joyce was with the Metropolitan Police Department, Washington, D.C., (MPDC) from 1998 to 2007. Ramsey served as chief of the MPDC from 1998 to 2006. She guided the expansion of MPDC’s community policing model, the alignment of the budget with strategic initiatives, and the implementation of significant changes in the department’s organizational structure. Prior to MPDC, she spent six years as the deputy director of research and development for the Chicago Police.
She helped direct Philadelphia’s support services like training, personnel, technology, administration, policy, research and planning, analysis and mapping, grants, and strategic planning. She is also guiding the establishment of the Real Time Crime Center and the Delaware Valley Intelligence Center. She holds three master’s degrees and is working on a doctor of philosophy program in Criminal Justice from Temple University.
Deputy Commissioner Denise Turpin runs the office of professional responsibility. She is a native Philadelphian and was appointed to the Philadelphia Police Academy on Nov. 16, 1981. After graduating from the academy, she was assigned to the 26th police district where she served as a patrol officer. Subsequent assignments include the juvenile aid division, special victims unit, the mayor’s security detail and multiple assignments to the internal affairs bureau. In 2007 she was promoted to captain and assigned to the 26th district followed by assignment as commanding officer at Philadelphia International Airport for two years. In 2010 she was promoted to the rank of staff inspector and assigned to the Internal Affairs Bureau.
She was promoted to the rank of deputy commissioner in 2012. She is a graduate of Olney High School. She has a B.A. in criminal justice from Chestnut Hill College and a master’s degree in criminal justice from Saint Joseph’s University.
Deputy Commissioner for Organizational Services Christine Coulter was appointed to her position in 2014.
She is an experienced police commander with over 25 years of service. Her career began as a city police officer in 1988. She has served in patrol, narcotics intelligence, investigations and special patrol. She holds a master’s degree in public safety management from Saint Joseph’s University. She also serves as a faculty member in the graduate program of public safety at Saint Joseph’s University’s Institute of Criminal Justice and Public Safety Administration.
Another possible candidate is Chief Inspector Joseph Sullivan. Sullivan runs the homeland security unit, SWAT and civil affairs. He is a 33-year veteran.