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Philadelphia’s New Mayor to Name Veteran Officer as Next Police Commissioner

Kevin Bethel, a former deputy commissioner and the current chief of school safety for the School District of Philadelphia, will be announced Wednesday as the next head of the 5,500-member force.

Mayor-elect Cherelle Parker will name Kevin J. Bethel as her pick for Philadelphia’s next police commissioner, according to two sources with knowledge of the talks.

Bethel, a former deputy commissioner and the current chief of school safety for the School District of Philadelphia, will be announced Wednesday as the next head of the 5,500-member force. His appointment comes as the Philadelphia Police Department tries to navigate the city out of a three-year wave of violent crime while it has been gripped by low morale and a shortage of nearly 1,000 officers, the Inquirer reports.

The hire is the first staffing decision made by Parker, who won the mayoral election earlier this month and takes office in January. She campaigned on a pledge to end “lawlessness” in the city by hiring hundreds of police officers, increasing the number of police who patrol on foot and bike, and embracing tough-on-crime tactics such as stop-and-frisk.

Bethel, 60, has for months been seen as a top candidate. He spent three decades rising through the ranks of the Philadelphia Police Department, culminating in 2008, when then-Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey named him a deputy commissioner charged with leading patrol operations across the entire city.

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