Philadelphia Police Department

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Philadelphia Police Department
Abbreviation PPD
Patch of the Philadelphia Police Department
Badge of the Philadelphia Police Department
Flag of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.svg
Flag of the City of Philadelphia
Motto Honor, Integrity, Service
Agency overview
Formed 1751
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdiction* City of Philadelphia in the state of Pennsylvania, United States
General nature
Operational structure
Headquarters "The Roundhouse" nickname
750 Race Street Philadelphia, PA 19106
Police Officers 6,400 (2014)
2013–2014 hiring 150 new officers (due to high retirements in FYs 2013–2015 in the police department). By FY2015 to have a sworn force of 6,525[1]
Agency executive Richard Ross, Commissioner
Official Site
* Divisional agency: Division of the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.

The Philadelphia Police Department (PPD) is the police agency responsible for law enforcement and investigations within the City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The PPD is the country's oldest municipal police agency, fourth largest police force[2] and sixth largest non-federal law enforcement agency. Since records were first kept in 1828, at least 270 PPD officers have died in the line of duty.

Present day

Philadelphia Police Department Headquarters known as "The Roundhouse"

The PPD employs over 6600 officers plus over 800 civilian personnel,[3] and patrols an area of 369.4 km² (142.6 mi²) with a population of almost 1.5 million. The department is subdivided into 22 patrol districts, and like many other large municipal police forces, it incorporates many special units such as a K-9 squad, SWAT, community relations unit, and harbor patrol. The highest-ranking officer is Commissioner Richard Ross.


The head of the PPD is the commissioner, who is appointed by the mayor. The current commissioner is Richard Ross (2016 – Present). Under the commissioner are two three-star deputy commissioners. The First Deputy Commissioner heads Field Operations. The Deputy Commissioner and Chief Administrative Officer heads Organizational Services, Strategy, and Innovation.

The Office of Field Operations is headed by the three-star First Deputy Commissioner of Field Operations, currently Richard Ross Jr.(2012 – Present). The force comprises two commands, Patrol Operations and, Specialized Operations and Homeland Security; each command is headed by a two-star Deputy Commissioner. The Specialized Operations and Homeland Security command is headed by a two-star Deputy Commissioner, currently Thomas Wright, and divided into two bureaus, Specialized Investigations and Homeland Security Bureau; each is headed by a chief inspector and further subdivided into several units.

The Office of Organizational Services, Strategy, and Innovation is headed by the three-star Deputy Commissioner and Chief Administrative Officer, currently Nola Joyce (2012 – Present).

Patrol Operations is headed by a two-star Deputy Commissioner of Patrol Operations, currently Kevin Bethel, who oversees both the patrol and detective units. Patrol Operations is divided into two regional commands, Regional Operations Command (North) and Regional Operations Command (South). Each regional command is headed by a chief inspector, and is subdivided into three divisions (ROC-North: East, Northwest, Northeast; ROC-South: Central, Southwest, South). Each division is headed by an inspector.[4] A division comprises three or four districts; there are 22 patrol districts in all, and each district is headed by a captain. A district is subdivided into three to four areas, each headed by a lieutenant.[5]

In January 2013, Commissioner Ramsey announced changes to the command structure of the department lowering the number of deputy commissioners from 9 to 6. Ramsey only replaced one of the deputies who was promoted from staff inspector of the Internal Affairs Bureau to deputy commissioner of the Office of Professional Responsibility.[citation needed]

A Philadelphia Police Department police car

Mounted Unit

The beginnings of the mounted unit can be traced to the Fairmount Park Mounted Guard created in 1867. In 1889 the Philadelphia Police Mounted Patrol Unit was established. The Philadelphia Police unit survived until 1952, however, the Fairmount Park unit would be used for parades and crowd control measures. The Fairmount Park Mounted Guard became the Fairmount Park Police in 1966, but maintained the same responsibilities. In 1972, Mayor Frank Rizzo found it unnecessary for taxpayers to fund two separate police departments, and merged the Fairmount Park Police into the Philadelphia Police, creating the Park Division. The mounted unit was once again used to patrol the streets of Philadelphia. The mounted unit survived to celebrate 100 years in 1989, but was disbanded in 2004 due to budgetary cuts by Mayor John F. Street's administration. On July 18, 2008, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey confirmed that plans are in the works to recreate the mounted unit.[6] The Philadelphia Inquirer again reported on June 2, 2009, that Ramsey hoped to revive the unit once the city was in a better financial standing.[7] The continued recreation of the Mounted Unit took an additional step forward on October 31, 2011, when the City of Philadelphia announced plans to build a new facility for the unit in Fairmount Park.[8]

Ranks within the department

Title Insignia Uniform Shirt Color Type of Rank
Police Commissioner
4 Gold Stars.svg
Appointed by the city's managing director with the approval of the mayor
First Deputy Police Commissioner
3 Gold Stars.svg
Appointed by the city's managing director with the approval of the mayor
Deputy Police Commissioner 2-Star
2 Gold Stars.svg
Appointed by the city's managing director with the approval of the mayor
Deputy Police Commissioner 1-Star
1 Gold Star.svg
Appointed by the city's managing director with the approval of the mayor
Chief Inspector
Colonel Gold.png
Civil service rank
US-O5 insignia.svg
Civil service rank
Staff Inspector
US-O4 insignia.svg
Civil service rank
Captain insignia gold.svg
Civil service rank
US-O1 insignia.svg
Civil service rank
NYPD Sergeant Stripes.svg
Civil service rank


Corporal 2.png
Civil service rank
Police Officer
Civil service rank
Police Officer Recruit

Description of ranks in the PPD

To be promoted in the Philadelphia Police Department, a police officer must finish his first year in the department. Then, when the next corporal or detective test is announced, they are eligible to take the test. Philadelphia PD Test for corporal and detectives is a written multiple choice test, lasting two to three hours. Also part of an officer's score is based on seniority.[9]

The ranks of corporal and detective have the same pay grade, but have different functions. Corporals are "operations room supervisors" and are responsible for overseeing a patrol district's operations room, or a special unit's operations; i.e., ensure that reports are submitted accurately and in a timely manner, etc. Only rarely do corporals work the street. A corporal must have a minimum of a year's experience as a police officer.

Sergeants command a squad of officers, making assignments to beats, assigning traffic details, helping to supervise the radio room, commanding harbor patrol boats and performing other similar tasks. When assigned to the detective force, a sergeant interviews suspects and witnesses, assigns detectives to cases and investigates clues, among other duties. Sergeants must have a minimum of two years experience as a police officer, or a year's experience as a corporal or detective.

The rank of lieutenant is the first executive supervisory rank. Lieutenants command an assigned area in a police district or a specialized unit, such as a traffic unit. If assigned as a detective, a lieutenant supervises an investigation. Lieutenants must have a minimum of one year's experience as a sergeant.

Captains either command police districts or direct the activities of a specialized unit. When assigned as a detective, a captain organizes and directs surveillance activities and police raids, prepares cases, interviews and interrogates suspects and testifies in court. Captains must have a minimum of one year's experience as a lieutenant.

Staff inspectors are usually departmental administrative officers, serving on the police Command Staff under a commissioner or deputy commissioner. They are generally assigned to inspect police divisions, districts and units, evaluate police practices, equipment and personnel, and make recommendations for improvement where necessary; however, they may also command units and divisions. Staff Inspectors must have a minimum of one year's service as a captain.

Inspectors are senior executive officers who typically command divisions and supervise officers under their command during any major police action, disaster or emergency. Inspectors must have a minimum of one year's service as a staff inspector or captain.

Chief inspectors are senior departmental administrative officers who either command bureaus within the department or who inspect police divisions, districts and units, evaluate police practices, equipment and personnel, and make recommendations for improvement where necessary. Chief inspectors must have a minimum of one year's service as a staff inspector or inspector.

Deputy commissioners and above are appointed by the city managing director with mayoral approval, not by the city civil service. Deputy commissioners are usually in charge of a regional command.

The two first deputy commissioners head the Office of Field Operations and the Office of Organizational Accountability.

The commissioner is appointed by the city managing director with mayoral approval, and is in charge of the entire department.[10]

Detectives in the PPD

Detectives are part of the Detective Bureau, and may be assigned to Divisional Detective Units, and specialized units like Homicide, Organized Crime/Intelligence, and Background Investigation. The commanding officer of a detective division reports to the Inspector of Detective Bureau Headquarters. The ranking supervisor at Detective Bureau Headquarters is the Chief Inspector of the Detective Bureau. Detectives are not considered supervisory personnel, they are a civil service rank of their own and take orders from a sergeant. There are also police officers who serve in an investigative capacity, such as in the Juvenile Aid and Special Victims Units. They are paid in the same pay scale as a police officer assigned to patrol.

Unlike most law enforcement agencies, the Philadelphia Police Department Detective Bureau does not maintain the ranks such as detective sergeant or detective lieutenant, etc. Also, unlike other departments such as NYPD and LAPD, Philadelphia Police detectives do not have a uniform that can be worn during details or funerals. The prescribed attire of a Philadelphia Police detective is proper business attire. In the Philadelphia Police Department, the rank of detective can only be made by a civil service exam and there are no grade differentiations. This is contrast to NYPD that has the ability to make field promotions to detective for an outstanding performance or circumstance.

Highest-ranking officer by year

Philadelphia police traffic officers with their patrol car

Police Marshals

  • John J. Keyser, 1850–1853
  • John K. Murphy, 1853–1855

Chiefs of Police

  • Samuel G. Ruggles, 1855–1867
  • St. Clair A. Mulholland, 1867–1872
  • Kennard Jones, 1872–1879
  • Samuel L. Given, 1879–1884
  • James Stewart, 1884–1887
  • James Lamon, 1887–1892

Superintendents of Police

  • Robert Linden, 1892–1899
  • Harry M. Quick, 1899–1904
  • John B. Taylor, 1904–1912
  • James Robinson, 1912–1920
  • William B. Mills, 1920–1931
  • Joseph E. Lestrange, 1931–1936
  • James H. Malone, 1936–1937
  • Edward Hubbs, 1937–1940
  • Howard P. Sutton, 1950–1952

Police Commissioners


The following is a list of districts that the Philadelphia Police serve:[12]

East Division

25th District

  • Station: 3901 Whitaker Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19124
  • Commander: Captain Michael Cram

24th District

  • Station: 3901 Whitaker Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19124
  • Commander: Captain Daniel O'Connor

26th District

  • Station: E. Girard Ave and Montgomery Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19125
  • Commander: Captain George Kappe

Northwest Division

5th District

  • Station: Ridge Ave and Cinnaminson St., Philadelphia, PA 19128
  • Commander: Captain John Cerrone

39th District

  • Station: 2201 W. Hunting Park Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19140
  • Commander: Captain Michael Craighead

35th District

  • Station: N Broad St and Champlost St., Philadelphia, PA 19141
  • Commander: Captain Derrick Wood

14th District

  • Station: Haines St and Germantown Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19144
  • Commander: Captain John Fleming

Northeast Division

2nd District

  • Station: Harbison Ave. and Levick St., Philadelphia, PA 19149
  • Commander: Captain Thomas McLean

7th District

  • Station: Bustleton Ave. and Bowler St., Philadelphia, PA 19115
  • Commander: Captain Michael Gormley

8th District

  • Station: Academy Rd. and Red Lion Rd., Philadelphia, PA 19154
  • Commander: Captain Adam Friedman

15th District

  • Station: Harbison Ave and Levick St., Philadelphia, PA 19149
  • Commander: Captain John McCloskey

Central Division

6th District

  • Station: 235 N 11th St., Philadelphia, PA 19107
  • Commander: Captain Brian Korn

9th District

  • Station: 401 N. 21st St., Philadelphia, PA 19130
  • Commander: Captain Ray Convery

22nd District

  • Station: 17th St and Montgomery Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19121
  • Commander: Captain Robert Glenn

Southwest Division

19th District

  • Station: 61st St and Thompson St., Philadelphia, PA 19151
  • Commander: Captain Joseph Bologna

18th District

  • Station: 55th St and Pine St., Philadelphia, PA 19143
  • Commander: Captain Robin Wimberly

16th District

  • Station: 39th St and Lancaster Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19104
  • Commander: Captain Altovise Love-Craighead

12th District

  • Station: 65th St. and Woodland Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19142
  • Commander: Captain DeShawn Beaufort

South Division

1st District

  • Station: 24th St. and Wolf St., Philadelphia, PA 19145
  • Commander: Captain Louis Campione

3rd District

  • Station: 11th St and Wharton St., Philadelphia, PA 19147
  • Commander: Captain Frank Milillo

17th District

  • Station: 20th St and Federal St., Philadelphia, PA 19146
  • Commander: Captain Deborah Francis


The PPD's officers are and have been of many ethnicities. A large number of Irish Americans have been PPD cops since the 1850s.

  • Male: 70%
  • Female: 30%
  • White: 55.6%
  • African-American/Black: 36.4%
  • Hispanic: 6.5%
  • Other: 1.5%


  • Special Operations
  • Patrol
  • Narcotics
  • Detective
  • Training
  • Administration
  • Staff Services
  • Internal Affairs

Awards and honors


See: United States law enforcement decorations#Philadelphia Police Department
  • Commendation for Valor
  • Commendation for Bravery
  • Commendation for Heroism
  • Commendation for Merit
  • Commendatory Citation
  • RNC Service Ribbon
  • Military Service Ribbon

George Fencl Award

The George Fencl Award, named in honor of Philadelphia Police Officer George Fencl, is given by the Daily News to a Philadelphia Police Officer who exemplifies compassion, fairness, and civic commitment. The award was first given in 1986.[13]

Year Rank Name District/Division
1986 Captain David Morrell 26th District, Commanding Officer
1987 Officer Wiley L. Redding 35th District, Community Relations
1988 Officer Joe Donato 19th District
1989 Captain Al Lewis 22nd District, Commanding Officer
1990 Lieutenant Jose Manuel Melendez East Division, Community Interaction Task Force
1991 Captain George Fenzil Traffic Unit, Commanding Officer
1992 Lieutenant Stephen Johnson Police Conflict-Prevention and Resolution Unit, Commanding Officer
1993 Officer Edwin "Bo" Diaz 26th District, Community Relations
1994 Captain Arthur Durrant 26th District, Commanding Officer
1995 Officer James Perkins 2nd District
1996 Officer Joseph Dembeck 14th District
1997 Officer Brenda Robinson-Stowe 16th District, Mounted Officer
1998 Captain] William Colarulo 25th District, Commanding Officer
1999 Officer Bernard Turner 22nd District
2000 Chief Inspector Dexter Green Special Operations Unit, Commanding Officer
2001 Deputy Commissioner Sylvester Johnson Patrol, Narcotics, Detectives, and Special Operations, Commanding Officer
2002 Captain William Fisher Civil Affairs Unit, Commanding Officer
2003 Officer Ruth McNatte 16th District, Community Relations
2004 Chief Inspector James Tiano Community Affairs Bureau, Commanding Officer
2005 Officer Darlene Chapman-Cummings Anti-Drug Program: DARE
2006 Officer AnnaMae Law 26th District
2007 Sergeant Kimberly Byrd Chief of Staff
2008 Captain Kevin Bethel 17th District, Commanding Officer
2009 Officer Adrian Hospedale 12th District
2010 Officer Richard "Butch" Riddick 12th District

Notable events in history

  • 1881, the Philadelphia Police Department hired its first African-American police officer.
  • 1887, the police department was put under control of the city's Department of Public Safety. Two years later, the PPD inaugurated its mounted patrol, which was disbanded in 2004 but restored in 2011.[14]
  • 1906, the motorcycle was introduced to the Philadelphia police.
  • 1939, radio-installed patrol cars were put into use.
  • 1964, a race riot breaks out in North Philadelphia calling every police officer in the city to duty.[15]
  • 1970, a well publicized raid of the Black Panther Party occurs.[16][17]
  • 1974, the Pennsylvania Crime Commission's "Report On Police Corruption And The Quality Of Law Enforcement In Philadelphia" concluded "The commission found that police corruption in Philadelphia is ongoing, widespread, systematic, and occurring at all levels of the police department. Corrupt practices were uncovered during the investigation in every police district and involved police officers ranging in rank from policeman to inspector. Specific acts of corruption involving improper cash payments to the police by gamblers, racketeers, bar owners, businessmen, nightclub owners, after-hours club owners, prostitutes, and others are detailed in the report. More than 400 individual police officers are identified by first name, last initial, and badge or payroll number as receiving improper payments in terms of cash, merchandise, sexual services, or meals." [18]
  • 1979, the department reached its peak size at approximately 8,500 officers.
  • 1985, the police bombing of the MOVE house occurred, causing fires that killed 11 residents of the house (five of them children) and destroyed about 60 other houses.
  • 2012: the PPD's education and/or experience requirements were increased to include at least one of four new options, including 60 college credits.[19]

Notable crimes investigated by the PPD

  • 1981, PPD officer Daniel Faulkner was fatally shot by Mumia Abu-Jamal (né Wesley Cook) while performing a routine traffic stop of the latter's brother, William Cook. A jury convicted Abu-Jamal, a former Black Panther Party member, of first degree murder. He was sentenced to death in 1982, but in 2011 prosecutors said they would drop their pursuit of his execution and agreed to accept de facto life imprisonment without parole. The incident, subsequent trial and Abu-Jamal's conviction remain controversial in the US and around the world.
  • 1999, serial killer Gary Heidnik was executed by lethal injection. Heidnik kidnapped, tortured and raped six women and kept them prisoner in his Philadelphia basement. A jury convicted Heidnik of the first degree murders of two of the women and sentenced him to death.[20]
  • 2001, American Ira Samuel Einhorn, a.k.a. "The Unicorn Killer" (born May 15, 1940), was extradited from France back to Philadelphia to stand trial for the 1977 murder of Holly Maddux. Einhorn was an outspoken activist in the 1960s and '70s. In 1981, Einhorn fled to Europe to avoid the trial. In 1993, Einhorn had a trial in absentia and was convicted of first degree murder. In 2002, he was retried and again convicted. Einhorn was sentenced to life in prison without parole.[21][22]
  • 2012, serial killer Antonio Rodriguez,[23] a.k.a. "The Kensington Strangler", received three life sentences for murdering three drug-addicted prostitutes in 2010.[24] The PPD convinced Rodriguez to confess after arresting him.[25]
  • 2013, serial killer Kermit Gosnell, MD,[26] the operator of an abortion clinic, was convicted by a jury of the first degree murders of three newborns and the involuntary manslaughter of a patient who had died while undergoing an abortion.[27]
  • 2013, a federal jury convicted drug lord Kaboni Savage and his sister, Kidada, of orchestrating the 2004 firebomb murders of a witness's six family members and of conspiring to participate in a violent drug enterprise. The jury convicted Kaboni of 12 murders in total and he was later sentenced to death.[28][29]

PPD officers killed in the line of duty

Movies, television and books

See also


  1. "Teen mob attacks: Seeking loot and attention". Retrieved August 7, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "ABOUT US". PPD. Retrieved 2015-03-17.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Home - About Us". Philadelphia Police Department. Retrieved 2015-03-15.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Senior Staff | 17th Police District". Retrieved 2013-11-07.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Philadelphia Police Department Command Chart" (PDF). 2013-11-06. Retrieved 2014-11-13.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Hanson, Tony (July 18, 2008). "Phila. to Rebuild Its Mounted Police Unit". KYW Newsradio. Retrieved July 18, 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>[dead link]
  7. Gambardello, Joseph (June 2, 2008). "Philly police Segway patrols ready to roll". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved June 3, 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>[dead link]
  8. Clark, Vernon (October 31, 2011). "City to build $1.4 million home for police mounted unit". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved October 31, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Careers - Overview | Philadelphia Police Department". Retrieved 2013-11-07.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Civil service rank descriptions
  11. Warner, Bob (2012-06-19). "Former police commissioner Tucker dies". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 2012-07-03.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Philadelphia Police Department Website, Retrieved on 2015.11.05
  13. Glover, Sarah J. (June 3, 2010). "Fencl Award winners over the years". Philadelphia, PA, USA: Philadelphia Daily News. Retrieved June 3, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "Restored Phila. mounted police unit gets back in the saddle". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 2015-01-28.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. Doing No Good Time Magazine
  16. Bolling, D."He's Seen It All", August 22, 2002
  17. "85th Birthday Celebration for Elwood P. Smith". Retrieved 2013-11-07.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. ""Report On Police Corruption And The Quality Of Law Enforcement In Philadelphia"". National Institute of Justice.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. "Qualifications and Requirements". PPD. Retrieved 2015-03-17.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. "Horrors' Killer Gets His Wish Victims' Kin Watch As Gary Heidnik Gets Lethal Injection". Philadelphia Daily News. Retrieved 2015-01-29.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. "Ronnie Polaneczky: The Ira Einhorn Interview". Philadelphia Daily News. Retrieved 2015-03-17.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. "KNIGHT: Earth Day co-founder written out of history". Washington Times. Retrieved 2015-03-17.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. "Experts: Kensington Strangler Is Classified as 'Sexual Serial Killer'". ABC. Retrieved 2015-03-19.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  24. "3 life sentences for man in Kensington stranglings". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 2014-11-24.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  25. "'Kensington Strangler' suspect Antonio Rodriguez: I had sex with victims after they were dead". nydailynews. NY Daily News. Retrieved 2014-01-28.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  26. "Meet the Serial Killer Who Murdered Living Babies". Daily Signal. Retrieved 2015-03-19.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  27. "Dr. Kermit Gosnell found guilty in 'house of horror' abortion-clinic baby deaths". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2014-05-13.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  28. "Drug Kingpin Kaboni Savage and Sister Kidada Convicted of Arson Murders". FBI. Retrieved 2014-12-02.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  29. "Death penalty for Kaboni Savage". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 2014-12-02.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links