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Philly Top Cop Vows To Rotate Narco Cops

March 13, 2013  | 

Photo via Irish Philadelphia Photo Essays/Flickr.
Photo via Irish Philadelphia Photo Essays/Flickr.

Amid an FBI probe into the Philadelphia Police Department's narcotics unit, Commissioner Charles Ramsey said he would push to rotate officers out of the unit.

Ramsey told the Philadelphia Inquirer he wants to rotate no more than a quarter of narcotics officers each year. A 2002 report recommended rotating narcotics officers who have become "too insular, self-protected, and burned-out."

The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 president said the union opposes a blanket time limit for serving in narcotics.

"There's no reason to rotate everyone out," said John McNesby said. "That's absurd. Officers become better at what they do as the years go on. They become specialized in something. And you want to get rid of that?"

Tags: Drug Enforcement, Philadelphia PD, Narcotics, Special Assignments


Comments (4)

Displaying 1 - 4 of 4

Bman @ 3/14/2013 4:41 PM

I have always thought rotating people out of strictly specialized positions was a good idea. Especially ones where people are highly prone to minor types of corruption and worse. Narcotics and Gang units are number one on my list. I don't think it should last for a long time but something that should help keep them aware of what working the street in uniform is like. I know a guy that came out of narcotics and had no idea how to write a simple accident report. If he was to be promoted from narcotics, what weight would he have telling officers their accident reports needed help or how bad would he look letting all these messed up reports go to the state? CID in general is another one. They may complain less about "patrol getting too little information" if they are reminded what its like to be in the moment at an active scene with witnesses wanting no part of it and calls stacking up. Plus, they could pass on their knowledge to patrol officers that help out the whole team. Narcotics officers have made really great patrol cops in my experience and I think that helps them when they go back to Narcotics. I think full time SWAT teams also need some regular uniform time as well. Not much but some.

Arby @ 3/15/2013 4:53 AM

Overall, rotation is nearly always a good idea. The trick is to set reasonable times based on the environment your agency works in. Most rotations work out if they're between 2 and 5 years. You want to stay long enough to become effective and use that effectiveness. When you rotate elsewhere, you take that effectiveness with you and build more wherever you go. If everyone in a special assignment stays there until they die, retire, go out on injury or get fired, what incentive is there for everyone else? In scenarios like that, only the most senior would be in any of the specialized units. How do you get the well-rounded experience that #1: helps you get promoted and #2: helps you have a clue what to do once you do get promoted? You also need to be flexible by allowing one or two year extensions when it seems to be in the best interest of the agency as well as moving some who aren't performing on out the door early. Phasing like the Philly chief wants to do is better so you don't gut the unit's experience level. Lastly, leave the option open to return during a later rotation. The experience you gain in patrol helps in the specialty units and vice versa. Make it work for you - and for your agency.

Lt Dan @ 3/15/2013 7:42 AM

I like the idea of loaning seasoned narcotics officers to other agencies for a period of time. A talent swap. Maybe one larger city to another larger city, in the same state, for 6 months. Same for SO's and small towns. Task forces are good but need a strong leader and frequent staff rotations. Drugs and college football are both big business with tremendous profits. In each case, there will be corruption. The years have show too many of my friends go native or get jammed up financially. On this one, the union is simply wrong.

Lt Dan @ 3/15/2013 7:42 AM

I like the idea of loaning seasoned narcotics officers to other agencies for a period of time. A talent swap. Maybe one larger city to another larger city, in the same state, for 6 months. Same for SO's and small towns. Task forces are good but need a strong leader and frequent staff rotations. Drugs and college football are both big business with tremendous profits. In each case, there will be corruption. The years have show too many of my friends go native or get jammed up financially. On this one, the union is simply wrong.

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