Philadelphia police reformer resigns from citizen watchdog commission
Kelvyn Anderson, a longtime reformer who headed Philadelphia's Police Advisory Commission, has resigned.
Anderson, 57, who has worked on the commission since 2000 and served as its executive director since 2013, said he plans to pursue “opportunities for consulting around police and community issues.”
“I think it’s a good time, with the new executive order, to let someone else take the helm,” said Anderson, a married father of two, Temple University graduate and West Philadelphia resident who previously worked as a private investigator and journalist. “I’m pretty tired for having done this for so long.”
The commission, created in 1993, was intended to serve as a check on police misconduct and a monitor of policing trends. But Anderson and others have long complained that it was underfunded by the city and undercut by a powerful police union and the department itself. The commission even has critics, who have called it “toothless.”
After former police Commissioner Charles Ramsey in 2013 asked the federal Department of Justice to review rising police-involved shootings here, the commission took on a more public role in demanding reforms.
Persuading the public about the need for outside oversight remains one of Anderson’s proudest accomplishments.
“Raising the way people look at oversight in the city was important, in terms of showing the need for a robust, well-empowered oversight commission to deal with police in the city,” Anderson said, adding that the commission in recent years has tried to bring a data-based approach to its calls for reform.
Reforming police discipline and ensuring transparency will be ongoing challenges for the next director, who hasn’t been named yet, Anderson said. Mayoral spokesman Mike Dunn said the city aims to have a permanent director named by the summer; an interim director hasn't yet been appointed.
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