THE long-awaited, 174- page report on the Philadelphia Police Department from the Department of Justice released yesterday – which concludes that the department has great deficiencies when it comes to policies and training, especially around the use of deadly force – is thorough, prescriptive . . . and somewhat depressing.
We don’t necessarily find the department’s problems detailed within the report depressing, nor even the fact that during a period when Philadelphia violent crime has decreased, police-involved shootings have increased. Troubling, yes, but these problems mirror problems with policing across the country that the deadly shootings in Ferguson, Mo., and elsewhere have illuminated.
What is depressing is that the Philadelphia Police Department remains so reluctant to analyze itself, or share information with the public, or claim accountability for police who, because of poor training or contradictory policies, end up killing innocent citizens.
What’s depressing is that no supervisor, no matter how well-intentioned, can hope to improve the department without a commitment to the kind of regular data-driven scrutiny that this report provides. How can you change what you don’t measure?