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Former Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey Joins Drexel as Distinguished Visiting Fellow

Former Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey will join Drexel University as the inaugural Distinguished Visiting Fellow of the Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation.

January 14, 2016

Former Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey will join Drexel University as the inaugural Distinguished Visiting Fellow of the Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation, a new cross-university strategic initiative that aligns Drexel’s academic work with the real-world need for urban revitalization. He also will be affiliated with the Department of Criminology and Justice Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences.

“Commissioner Ramsey has been a transformative force in the Philadelphia Police Department, and will help shape the Lindy Institute’s work around issues such as 21st century policing,” said Drexel President John A. Fry. “The Department of Criminology and Justice Studies will also benefit from his deep expertise and the opportunities for learning and exchange that he will bring to the Drexel community.”

Commissioner Ramsey’s retirement from the Philadelphia police force is effective this month, after eight years of service. His initial two-year appointment at Drexel will begin Jan. 25 and extend through 2018.

“I want to thank President Fry for giving me the opportunity to join this great university,” said Commissioner Ramsey. “I look forward to working with the Drexel faculty, staff and community.” 

Commissioner Ramsey will contribute to the Lindy Institute’s long-range planning process that will position it as an important forum for urban issues locally, nationally and globally, under the leadership of Harris Steinberg, one of Greater Philadelphia’s leading practitioners and teachers of urban planning. He also will be engaged in the development of a new multi-disciplinary master’s program in urban strategy.

Serving as an advisor for the Criminology and Justice Studies Department, Commissioner Ramsey will help develop a distinctive program that moves beyond the traditional boundaries of the discipline, engaging both new technology and global issues.

Commissioner Ramsey will engage with the Drexel community by providing guest lectures, contributing input on symposiums and other public events, participating in advancing the research interests of faculty colleagues and supporting students as they look for co-operative education and research opportunities to advance their academic goals. 

He will join Drexel’s civic engagement efforts, including its commitment to working with local neighborhoods through a rich set of programs, many housed at the Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships in the West Philadelphia Promise Zone. His insight and advice will be integral to developing programs that support youth in this neighborhood. 

Commissioner Ramsey began his career with the Chicago Police Department at age 18 and rose through the ranks to deputy superintendent. He served as police chief in Washington, D.C., from 1998 to 2006, where crime rates dropped 40 percent during his tenure. He joined the Philadelphia Police Department in 2008 under Mayor Michael Nutter. Ramsey led the PPD through eight years of dramatic declines in violent crime and has emerged as a major voice in a national dialogue on community policing. In 2014, he led President Obama's 21st Century Policing Task Force, which released a final report of recommendations last year to increase trust between law enforcement and communities and reduce crime.

Media Contact

Alex McKechnie