Philadelphia Officials Bungling to Find New Police Commissioner, Ask for Public’s Help

Former Philly Police Commissioner Richard Ross, who resigned on Aug. 21. KIMBERLY PAYNTER / WHYY

Former Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross resigned abruptly on Aug. 21 and officials are scrambling to find a replacement. The City of Philadelphia provided an update on Monday regarding the search process and timeline to appoint the next commissioner to lead the Philadelphia Police Department.

The City is embarking on a targeted search that includes internal and external candidates. Over the next several months, a diverse team of City officials will be working with the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), a police research and policy organization that also provides management services and technical assistance to law enforcement agencies. 

“PERF will support the City in outreach, identifying qualified candidates, and the interview process,” said Managing Director Brian Abernathy. “This organization has assisted other large cities with similar searches, and with their support, we expect that we will find the right person to lead our police department by the end of the calendar year.” 

The mayor is also seeking input from residents who will have an opportunity to be a part of the process. 

“As with all City personnel decisions, the interview process will be conducted internally within the government; however, we know that residents deserve a voice in this important appointment,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “So we have launched a survey to gather the public’s feedback on what issues they think are most important, on what characteristics the next Commissioner should have, and to provide any other feedback they think we should consider in our search. The results will help inform our decision.” 

Residents can complete the survey online at phila.gov/PPDCommissioner or download it and mail to City Hall (Mayor’s Office of Public Engagement, 1401 JFK Blvd, Room 115, Philadelphia, PA 19107). Hard copies are also available and can be picked up in the Mayor’s Office of Public Engagement, City Hall, Room 115.