Sun, Jul 07, 2013 - Page 9 News List

How one city’s rape crisis stands to help others

In the 1980s and 1990s, Philadelphia police were found to have regularly ignored rape cases. The resulting crisis brought shame to the city — but now the department’s transformation is a model for others

By Joanna Walters  /  The Guardian, NEW YORK

The federal government has little power to force the 18,000-plus police departments around the US to adopt better practices.

“I think our department is light years ahead of the majority now. We’re trying to keep the ball rolling forward and share information with other cities,” commissioner Ramsey said.

He would not discuss other cities specifically, including Washington, where he was chief from 1998 to 2006.

However, he acknowledged that, like Philadelphia, cities where problems are exposed can go through a period of resistance before admitting mistakes and devising often painful police reforms.

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