Charles H. Ramsey

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Chuck Ramsey
Commissioner Charles Ramsey of the Philadelphia PD Speaks in Support (6918837386).jpg
Born1950 (age 71–72)
EducationLewis University (BS, MS)
RelativesAnne Ramsey (Aunt)
Police career
Country United States of America
Allegiance City of Philadelphia
District of Columbia
City of Chicago
DepartmentPhiladelphia Police Department
DC Metropolitan Police Department
Chicago Police Department
Service years1971-1998
Rank4 Gold Stars.svg - Police Commissioner, Philadelphia Police Department
January 7, 2008 - January 5, 2016 (retirement)
US-O10 insignia.svg - Chief of Police, Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia
April 21, 1998 - January 2, 2007
Chicago Police Department
US-O8 insignia.svg - Deputy Superintendent,
1994 - 1998
US-O5 insignia.svg - Deputy Chief, Patrol Division
1992 - 1994
US-O4 insignia.svg - Commander, Narcotics Division
1989 - 1992
US-O3 insignia.svg - Captain
1988 - 1989
US-O2 insignia.svg - Lieutenant
1984 - 1988
Chicago PD Sergeant Stripes.png - Sergeant
1977 - 1984
Patrol Officer
1971 - 1977

Charles H. Ramsey (born 1950) is the former Commissioner of the Philadelphia Police Department. Prior to assuming that post in January 2008, he had served as Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia (MPDC) from 1998 to early 2007. In January 2017, he became a regular CNN contributor.[1]

A native of Chicago, Illinois, he joined the Chicago Police Department as an 18-year-old cadet in 1968. After serving six years as a patrol officer, he was promoted to sergeant in 1977. He was appointed a lieutenant in 1984 and became captain in 1988. He served as Commander of the Narcotics Section from 1989 to 1992 before spending two years as a Deputy Chief of the police force's Patrol Division. In 1994, he was appointed Deputy Superintendent.

In 1998, he became the MPDC chief. During his tenure, he was involved in several high-profile cases as chief of police in Washington, D.C., such as the Chandra Levy murder investigation. He has also been in the spotlight since the September 11 attacks focused attention on security issues around Washington, D.C.

Ramsey is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from Lewis University in Romeoville, Illinois.

He has served as an adjunct professor at Lewis University and Northwestern University.

Ramsey is a former member of the National Infrastructure Advisory Council.[2]

Career as Washington, D.C. police chief[edit]

[3] Ramsey's eight-year tenure as Chief of Police saw crime rates decline about 40%, the expansion of community policing and traffic safety programs, and improved MPDC recruiting and hiring standards, training, equipment, facilities and fleet. He reorganized the department to cut bureaucracy, and created Regional Operations Commands to oversee the quality of D.C. police services.[3] He helped to create a non-emergency 3-1-1 system and made crime information readily available to the public through

He and his department assisted the Department of Homeland Security during the state funerals of Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford.

Traffic checkpoints[edit]

Under Ramsey, the D.C, police instituted traffic checkpoints at which information about motorists who were breaking no law at the time was entered into a database. The move was called an "invasion of privacy" by an official of the police union.[4]

Pershing Park arrests[edit]

On September 27, 2002, the MPD made a mass arrest of a large group of demonstrators who had assembled in DC's Pershing Park to protest the World Bank and International Monetary Fund meetings. The police enclosed over 400 people in the park and arrested them without ordering them to disperse or allowing them to leave the park. Many of the arrested were not actually demonstrators, but were journalists, legal observers, and pedestrians.

On January 13, 2006, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals ruled that the arrests violated the Fourth Amendment and that Chief Ramsey could be held personally liable for the violations. On August 2, 2007, City officials in Washington agreed to pay $1 million to more than 120 of the protesters, on top of other settlements by the D.C. government, including one for $640,000.[5] Ramsey was represented by Mark Tuohey who generated at least $1.53 million in fees for his law firm Vinson & Elkins.[6][7]

According to testimony given by Detective Paul Hustler, Ramsey himself gave the arrest order, although he has repeatedly denied this. Hustler claims he overheard Ramsey say "We're going to lock them up and teach them a lesson."[8]

Retirement from MPDC[edit]

On November 20, 2006, Ramsey announced that he would step down as police chief on January 2, 2007, the inauguration day of Washington, D.C Mayor-Elect Adrian M. Fenty. Fenty selected Cathy Lanier, a 39-year-old commander of the MPDC's Homeland Security Division, as his replacement.

Even though Ramsey's official last day was December 28, 2006, he stayed on until January 2, 2007, to deal with security during the state funeral of former president Gerald Ford.[3]

Philadelphia Police Commissioner[edit]

On November 15, 2007, Philadelphia Mayor Elect Michael Nutter nominated Ramsey as Police Commissioner.[9] Ramsey came out of retirement to accept the position, and he was sworn in at the beginning of Nutter's term as Mayor on January 7, 2008.

After Ramsey assumed his position, the city's homicide rate dropped 37 percent and violent crime 31 percent.[10] In the city's nine most dangerous districts, which account for 65% of homicides and 75% of shootings, homicides were down by over 40 percent. Ramsey's tactics have included installing a network of surveillance cameras in the city's most dangerous sections, increasing the number of cops on the beat, and moving police patrols out of their squad cars and onto foot patrols or bicycle patrols.[11] In 2014 President Obama selected Ramsey to serve as Co-Chair of the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing. Ramsey has also served as President of the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) and the Major Cities Chiefs Association (MCCA).

On October 14, 2015, Ramsey announced his retirement from the Philadelphia Police Department, effective on January 5, 2016.[10]


  1. ^ Nick Vadala (January 17, 2017). "CNN adds Charles Ramsey, Rick Santorum to list of contributors". Retrieved February 10, 2017.
  2. ^ "National Infrastructure Advisory Council Members". Homeland Security. Retrieved 1 September 2017.
  3. ^ a b c "Charles H. Ramsey | mpdc". Retrieved 2021-01-15.
  4. ^ Lengel, Allan. "Safety Stops Draw Doubts". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 28, 2010.
  5. ^ "Nutter's Musharraf?". Attytood. 2011-12-01. Retrieved 2011-12-07.
  6. ^ Jason Cherkis (January 17, 2003). "Boss Hogtie". Washington City Paper. Retrieved 2014-06-18.
  7. ^ Jeff Jeffrey (May 26, 2010). "Mark Tuohey Leaves Vinson & Elkins for Brown Rudnick, Cites Retirement Policy". The Legal Times. Retrieved 2014-06-18.
  8. ^ Cherkis, Jason (2009-11-18). "Affidavit: Ramsey Ordered Pershing Park Arrests - City Desk". Retrieved 2011-12-07.
  9. ^ Mayor-Elect Michael Nutter Announces New Police Commissioner on YouTube
  10. ^ a b Sisak, Michael R. (October 18, 2015). "Philadelphia police boss exits after crime, corruption fight". Associated Press. Retrieved October 18, 2015.
  11. ^ Mabrey, Vicki; Reynolds, Talesha (21 Aug 2008). "Murder and Mayhem' Decline on Streets of Philadelphia". ABC News. Retrieved 9 May 2009.

External links[edit]

Police appointments
Preceded by Commissioner of the Philadelphia Police Department
Succeeded by
Richard Ross Jr
Preceded by
Sonya Proctor
As Interim Police Chief
Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia
Succeeded by