Department of Justice Releases Interim Final Report on Philadelphia Police Department

For Immediate Release: 
Friday, January 13, 2017
Mary Brandenberger
(202) 514-5328

PHILADELPHIA - The Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) today released its interim final report of the Philadelphia Police Department (PPD) collaborative reform initiative.

In March 2015, the COPS Office released its initial assessment report of the Philadelphia Police Department, which provided 48 findings and 91 recommendations focused on deadly force training, policies, practices and community involvement. A six-month progress report was provided in December 2015. At that time, the department had completed 21 recommendations, had made satisfactory progress on 61 recommendations, and there was no activity on the remaining nine recommendations. Since that December report, the Philadelphia Police Department has continued its tremendous progress in implementing the recommendations.

To date, the department has completed or is making satisfactory progress in 91 percent of the prescribed recommendations. Specifically, PPD has completed 61 recommendations, and has made demonstrable progress on an additional 22 recommendations.

Of the remaining eight recommendations, two are subject to union negotiation, which will not take place until July 2017. Five of the eight remaining recommendations are currently under review and require further research, discussion and time to implement. The recommendation for the department to enter into a memorandum of understanding with an external, independent investigative agency to investigate officer involved shootings has not been completed; however, the PPD took alternative actions to meet this recommendation, which is further detailed in the final report.

“The key to success in the collaborative reform process is strong, local leadership and the commitment to make the community a vital part of the process,” said COPS Office Director Ronald Davis. “That’s what we’ve seen in Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Police Department’s success in this initiative has been nothing less than outstanding. I applaud the PPD for these efforts, and I especially applaud Police Commissioner Richard Ross for his strong and steadfast leadership.”

Key areas of progress made during this period include the updating of the use of force policy, recruit and in-service training, the establishment of a new unit for the criminal investigation of deadly force incidents, an improved relationship with the Police Advisory Commission to enhance external oversight, and the implementation of body worn cameras.

More work is needed to increase the PPD’s community policing activities and the department should continue to refine officer involved shooting and use of force case review processes.

The COPS Office will release a final report in the coming months detailing specific progress made in implementing all recommendations.

The report, Collaborative Reform Initiative: Interim Final Report on the Philadelphia Police Department, can be found on the COPS Office website at:

The assessment was administered as part of the COPS Office’s Collaborative Reform Initiative for Technical Assistance, designed to provide technical assistance to agencies facing significant law enforcement-related issues. Using subject matter experts, interviews and direct observations, as well as conducting extensive research and analysis, the COPS Office assists law enforcement agencies with enhancing and improving their policies and procedures, their operating systems and their professional culture. The COPS Office can issue a series of recommendations and be instrumental in assisting agencies with the implementation of those recommendations.

The COPS Office is a federal agency responsible for advancing community policing nationwide.  Since 1995, the COPS Office has invested more than $14 billion to advance community policing, including grants awarded to more than 13,000 state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies to fund the hiring and redeployment of approximately 129,000 officers and provide a variety of knowledge resource products including publications, training and technical assistance. For additional information about the COPS Office, please visit