Nutter: Police pick may be from within

Posted: June 28, 2007

Accepting the endorsement of the Philadelphia police union, Democratic mayoral candidate Michael Nutter said yesterday he would look within the city first for the next police commissioner, but did not rule out choosing an outsider.

He also rejected talk that he planned to create a public safety director, saying he wanted to "put an end to it today."

"I don't know where this speculation came from," he said at a short but steamy news conference in front of the Fraternal Order of Police building on Spring Garden Street.

Stressing that he still had to win the general election against Republican Al Taubenberger, Nutter said that the search for the next police commissioner "will absolutely start local."

"I don't have anyone in mind," he said, "but of course there are many excellent people right here in Philadelphia, and many are serving on our own police force."

He did not limit such a search to the city.

"As I've said earlier, I'm looking for the best possible person to do the job right here in Philadelphia with our situation, which is out of control," Nutter said.

He said he had not spoken to anyone about the job and asserted he did not plan to launch a full-scale search until after the election.

"I'm trying to get a job myself," he said.

As Nutter spoke, the city's homicide count for 2007 neared 200, nearly 12 percent higher than last year's.

In endorsing Nutter, FOP president Bob Eddis said, "His public safety initiatives in Philadelphia will improve the quality of life for every citizen."

Nutter's anticrime plan calls for targeting specific high-crime neighborhoods and saturating them with officers for "directed patrols, and constitutional stop-and-frisk procedures to confiscate illegal guns."

Eddis said the endorsement was not influenced by the union's forthcoming contract negotiations with the city or the likelihood of Nutter's election.

Contact staff writer Joseph Gambardello at 215-854-2153 or jgambardello@phillynews.com.

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