The Byko Police Plan

When word of Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw’s decision to cut and run was announced, I posted on Facebook that she may not have been an effective commissioner, but she was smart enough to read the writing on the wall.

Former Police Commissioners John Timoney (left), Charles Ramsey
Meaning the next mayor was going to fire her. 

Police Commissioner is the most important hire the mayor gets to make, and the perception — right or wrong — was that Outlaw was ineffective, that homicides hit a record on her watch, that she was not hands’ on. 

Most of the FB comments were anti-Outlaw, but one asked what any of us would have done differently.

My feeling is that developing a policing strategy is her job, not mine, and she failed to do it.  But after a few days of reflection, I decided to answer the FB friend’s question. So here is the Byko Police Plan, much of which can be a to-do list for the next commish.

Let’s start with homicide, perhaps the most frightening crime, the one that gets the most headlines and TV airtime.

The Philadelphia Police Department’s clearance rate — meaning an arrest — is miserable. It is about 25% for Black victims, and 60-80% for white victims.

The difference in the racial clearance rates is staggering, especially since the homicide rate for Blacks is about four times that for whites. In Philadelphia, the overwhelming majority of murders are Black on Black, mostly linked with gangs or drugs.

Some blame the poor police performance on racism on the part of the cops, and there may be some of that. That’s always the first and easiest response from academics and the Left.

A huge problem, which I have written about before, is the notorious “don’t snitch” culture in urban Black neighborhoods. It’s damn hard for cops to solve a murder without help from neighbors, many of whom know who the culprits are.

Do neighbors not talk because they are afraid of police? No. Gallup reports Black neighborhoods want more police, not fewer, providing, of course, they are good cops. 

Neighbors don’t talk because they are afraid of the killers.

As a Black woman, and mother, Outlaw was uniquely qualified to go into the neighborhoods and demand accountability, and offer protection to witnesses. 

Witness protection is usually the job of the D.A., but we know Larry Krasner won’t do that.  He’s all for Black Lives Matter, except for when it really counts.

Outlaw should have made a deal with the U.S. Attorney to find a way to prosecute homicide, taking it out of Krasner’s hands.

Outlaw acted as if she were handcuffed, and to a degree she may have been by Woke-addled, spineless Mayor Jim Kenney, but that’s where leadership comes into play.

If Kenney wouldn’t back her, she should have turned in her badge on the spot.

Murder is the big picture, routine lawlessness is the small picture.

By that, I mean everything from shoplifting, to drug sales, to illegal homeless encampments, to wild ATV and dirt bike rides, to the Naked Bike Ride. Looking away from the “small” crimes inevitably leads to bigger crimes. 

Indecent exposure happens to be a crime. Instead of providing a police escort for the NBR exhibitionist goons, Outlaw should have arrested them.

Homeless encampments on private property are illegal. She should have cleared them and challenged the City Council to come up with plans to help the homeless. Where to house them? How about the former Roundhouse?

Same thing for drug sales and shoplifting. 

Arrest and publicly call out Krasner for refusing to do his job.

The out-of-control ATVs, dirt bikes, and the like, authorize officers to grab a few, when it can be done safely, use choppers or drones to follow the bad boys home, then swoop in, confiscate and destroy their vehicles.

Do that a couple of times and watch the problem vanish.

We need more cops, especially Black cops, but it very hard to recruit them, even before the George Floyd riots.

While we wait for an answer, I would have practically no uniformed officers doing desk work. Sworn officers should be in the field, doing police work, while reports, filing, and such could be done by civilians, paid less than officers, with an emphasis on employing minorities and the handicapped. And make sure that cops on the sick list are actually sick.

Former Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey told me he had recruiters going to Black colleges and universities, but those graduates could earn far more in private business, and not risk their lives. “Who wants to be a cop?” he asked.

The police commissioner should be highly visible, day and night, and use the office as a bully pulpit. The commish also has to develop a good working relationship with the FOP, which can be challenging.

The commish needs to publicly praise the work of good cops and decry the deeds of bad cops. Good cops should do the same, and the commissioner has to explain why the Blue Wall of Silence hurts police.

It is not a job for the faint of heart, but it can be done. Ramsey and John Timoney proved it.

16 thoughts on “The Byko Police Plan”

  1. Asked by Roxanne of the Inquirer who should be next police commissioner.
    My answer:

    Frank Rizzo or…

    Anyone who will take the bull by the horns as Frank did so often to now stop smash and grabs, stop gang racing on the roads, stop all the dangerous driving since Isiah Thomas’ misguided and dangerous bill was passed, enforce 100% graduation from high school by the teachers in our backward teacher’s union, and take the right, strong and legal methods to end the civic mayhem allowed, permitted and tolerated by all our “so-called leaders” in Philadelphia including the School Board, City Council and the Mayor; everyone has been too afraid to just grab bull by the horns and do the job as Frank did many times for Philadelphia. You might even say that this mayhem is gleefully encouraged by our Soros DA Krasner. Send him to Havana to save Philadelphia.

    Frank grabbed the horns for the greater good.
    Who will take the Rizzo challenge to save us from this present civic mayhem?

    Gardner A. Cadwalader

  2. Rizzo was a thug who tolerated police violence and famously failed a Daily News lie detector test. I was in public school (Central) back when he was mayor and he did nothing for public schools. The School system was a patronage mill with contracts going to supporters.
    He was also a “tax and spend Democrat” who gave city homeowners the biggest one year real estate tax raise.
    He blew the bicentennial; instead of celebrating it, and producing revenue for Philly, he was afraid of a left wong invasion and he asked then Gov. Shapp for 15,000 National Guardsmen to keep law and order. The Gov. refused.

    1. What did you expect him to do for the public schools?
      He did green light the commuter tunnel, found funds for the African American museum, and integrated two-man police cars (when we had two man police cars).

        1. He had the police cars (known as “red cars”) repainted because he said red was an excitable color, and wanted something calmer. Remark able psychology for him. If there were a “Rizzo blue,” it would have been Navy, the color of police uniforms.

    2. Rizzo was a terrible mayor. The tax increase he pushed through was the biggest in the history of Philadelphia , bigger than anything that goode pushed through but he was a great police commissioner.
      Today the no 1 crime problem for Philadelphia are corner drug dealers as they are a) responsible for rhe majority of murders in the city and b ) the misery and homelessness the drugs they sell cause their customers.
      When rizzo was police commissioner there were no corner drug drug dealers because if cops had no evidence to arrest them then ppd would give them the beating of their lives and they quickly disappeared from the corner. Only progressives think thats a bad thing.
      Now obviously with cell cameras today he wouldn’t be able to get away with that but never forget that the black clergy , civil rigths attorney charlie bowser and talk show host Mary mason were about to endorse rizzo for mayor but he died before they did it as they believed that the philly crack wars were destroying n and sw philly and they were all in with rizzos election promise to crack heads of rhe thugs on the corner dealing.

  3. A nitpick:
    “Outlaw should have made a deal with the U.S. Attorney to find a way to prosecute homicide, taking it out of Krasner’s hands.”

    No can do. The Feds just don’t have jurisdiction of local crime, absent an affect on interstate commerce or another federal interest. So, an interstate murder-for-hire case, yup, but a local gangland murder, no. A murder in furtherance of a RICO enterprise that makes use of the wires or mail, sure, but an armed robbery, unless of a federally-insured bank, not so much. Getting a murder into federal court needs much more than proof that the guy did it. They have to prove jurisdiction under a federal law. Even assuming the US attorney would be amenable, most of these cases would be summarily tossed out of court.

    1. Oops, correction. The feds could prosecute a lot of these as illegal use of a gun crimes, though these are currently in ill-odor with the Supreme Court, and some might be struck down. So, my first reaction was incorrect.

  4. Talking about Rizzo who was Police Commissioner some 60 years ago and saying he was a thug is crazy, that was then, this is now. We need law put back on the Streets, Real hands on commanders, and people who want to do this job. That;s what Rizzo did then. If he had Krasner as a DA I have no doubt he would have changed things. You can’t look back 60 years and expect things to be like that! We are losing top notch Chief’s and Deputy Commisioners to retirement,and can’t replace them, except for Kenney cronies. We need educated Cop’s, Cop’s. Ones who will eliminated Kensington Ave, Bring Back Stop and frisk, how are we breaking civil rights if we stop a murder? Hiring from Portland wasn’t only a stupid move it was a deadly move, and that’s why the most sought after job in Philadelphia,is the least wanted now.

  5. Larry Krasner is a disgrace. I’m a liberal, though not of a progressive bent, but he takes it way, way over the line. Can Philadelphia find a non-partisan mayor, DA and Police Chief that will work together to reduce crime in the city? That’s a question being asked by some citizens in all parts of the country, but unfortunately, we’re too often left with picking the best of two evils.

  6. As long as we have a progressive Mayor, District Attorney, City Council etc. we will not have a fair, honest person as Police Commissioner. When candidates for Police Commissioner are interviewed if they don’t believe in the progressive , woke mentality and agree to abide by those conditions they won’t be considered for the job. Case closed.

      1. It will only change under Mayor Oz. Cherelle Parker, she is a woke person but you won’t see that til January. She’s also in bed with the Building Trades Union. She will be a disaster for the honest people of Philadelphia.

  7. That this once-great city has sunk to such decrepit state on so many levels in so few years is beyond sad. I have watched Philadelphia since I was old enough to grasp the meaning of government and politics (from about 1950 or so), and the ride has been almost directly downhill. The few pauses in the decline only made the continuation of the slide more painful to watch. And now no one wants the job of police commissioner? In a city with a horrid murder rate? And a DA who loves criminals more than the Law? I just don’t understand it.

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