Police Comm. Richard Ross quits amid harassment, discrimination allegations against officers

PHILADELPHIA — The city’s police commissioner suddenly resigned from his job, Tuesday, less than a week after taking part in negotiations during the standoff in which six of his officers were shot.

Richard Ross’ decision was accepted and announced by Mayor Jim Kenney.

“I am disappointed, because he’s been a terrific asset to the police department and the city as a whole,” Kenney said in a statement.

Richard Ross resigned; Deputy Commissioner of Organizational Services Christine Coulter named Acting Commissioner.

Then he added the reason.

“New allegations of sexual harassment as well as gender and racial discrimination among the rank and file have recently been brought to my attention. While those allegations do not accuse Comm. Ross of harassment, I do ultimately believe his resignation is in the best interest of the department.”

Mayor Jim Kenney
RESIGNED: Former Philadelphia Police Comm. Richard Ross, from Philadelphia Police Dept.

According to Mayor Kenney,

“Last summer, the city implemented a new sexual harassment prevention policy and a series of internal reforms. …

“I do not believe the police department has taken the necessary actions to address the underlying cultural issues that too often negatively impact women — especially women of color. I will be enlisting the help of an independent firm to investigate the recent allegations and to make recommendations to overcome some of the discrimination and harassment within the department. …

“I believe new leadership will help us continue to reform the department and show that racial, ethnic, and gender discrimination simply will not be tolerated.”

Ross has been with the Philadelphia Police Department since 1989. Kenney appointed him commissioner in Jan., 2016.

APPOINTED: Acting Police Commissioner Christine Coulter, from Philadelphia Police Dept.

As of Ross’ resignation, Kenney named Deputy Commissioner of Organizational Services Christine Coulter as Acting Commissioner.

Her biography says,

“She is responsible for professional support services that enable officers and commanders in the field to have the training, equipment and support personnel that is needed to prevent, combat and solve crime in Philadelphia.  She also oversees development of the department’s use of technology as a tool in community engaged policing and smart policing.”

“Deputy Coulter is an experienced police commander with nearly 30 years of law enforcement service,” Kenney said. “She has diverse experience in patrol operations, narcotics intelligence, and investigations. I have full faith in her ability to lead the department during this time of transition.”

Acting Comm. Coulter already has former Comm. Ross’ Twitter handle, @PPDCommish.


Continuing Coverage: Philadelphia Police Department

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