Ramsey: I'm not considering Chicago's top cop job
Philadelphia police Commissioner Charles Ramsey says he is not changing his mind about retiring from police work later this month, despite the sudden opening of what he once described as his "dream job."
Philadelphia police Commissioner Charles Ramsey says he is not changing his mind about retiring from police work later this month, despite the sudden opening of what he once described as "a dream job."
That job would be Chicago police superintendent, which became available Tuesday when Mayor Rahm Emanuel fired his embattled top cop, Garry McCarthy. The Chicago police force, and its mayor, are embroiled in a crisis following the much belated release of a video of a police shooting.
"The mayor [Emanuel] has not reached out to me," Ramsey said Wednesday. "And I still plan on retiring at the end of the month. But if they want some assistance, in terms of consulting or advice, I'd be more than happy to certainly consider that. But that's about it."
Ramsey, who is retiring after eight years as commissioner in Philadelphia and 47 years in municipal police work, is a Chicago native. He began as a beat cop in the nation's third-largest city at the age of 18.
He served as the top cop in Washington, D.C. prior to joining Mayor Michael Nutter's administration just weeks after Nutter was first elected in 2007.
Ramsey almost became Chicago police superintendent once before. Emanuel courted Ramsey heavily in 2011. The timing was almost perfect then, too. Emanuel was recently elected and Nutter was about to begin his second term in 2012.
Nutter put on his own full-court press to keep Ramsey, who at the time and still now remains one of the most popular public officials in Philadelphia. Nutter gave Ramsey a raise, making him the city's highest paid employee - and a ball signed by the Phillies' five-man pitching rotation at the time.
"Timing is as much as anything in these decisions. The timing is not right," Ramsey said. "I almost left once before for that (Chicago) job. But I didn't. And I don't regret that decision at all."
He added that he and his family now call Philadelphia home.
"Of course, my son and his wife are here," he said. Ramsey's son is a Philadelphia police officer. "So we're not inclined to move at this point."
A poll done earlier this year by The Next Mayor project found Ramsey's likability ratings among likely voters to be the highest in the city.
His national presence has also never been higher. Earlier this year, he chaired President Obama's national Task Force on 21st Century Policing.
In announcing his retirement in October, Ramsey said, "It's time to move to another level, and I think I can do that with national issues facing law enforcement today."
So Emanuel will apparently have to look elsewhere for a steadying voice to calm the current turmoil surrounding Chicago's department. After the announcement that McCarthy was fired, reports indicated Emanuel's administration would conduct a national search for commissioner.
A message left at his press office was not returned.