By Troy Graham (Inquirer) – A day after six Philadelphia police narcotics officers were charged in a sprawling federal corruption probe, Mayor Nutter announced Thursday that an arbitrator has awarded police a new contract that gives the commissioner long-sought powers to transfer officers in and out of the department’s drug and internal affairs units.
The details of how officers could be rotated out of those units every five years remain to be hammered out between the department and the police union.
Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey said the flexibility to rotate officers was not just about battling corruption, but career development for officers who want to enter specialized units and moving experienced officers to other posts in the city.
“The majority of the officers I have working in the narcotics section . . . they are not corrupt, period,” Ramsey said. “The purpose of the rotation isn’t about that. If you’ve got a person who is corrupt, six months is too long.”
FOP President John McNesby said the rotation issue was “one of the areas we differed on” but said he thought “we got caught up in a bad time,” when police corruption was making bold headlines.
The three-year contract contains raises each year, as well as a $1,500 bonus for each officer by next year or once the department is accredited with the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association.
The contract is expected to cost the city $218 million, more than the administration had budgeted in its five-year financial plan.
But Nutter said the city would not challenge the arbitration award because of the “crucial tools” it gives Ramsey to make reforms in the department.
“You only need to look at yesterday’s news to see how important some of these changes are to the department,” Nutter said.