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Former Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey co-teaches a seminar at Penn Law

December 12, 2019

Charles Ramsey named Distinguished Policy Fellow, will teach Policing in the 21st Century

In Spring 2020, former Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey brings his 25 years of policing experience to the Law School as a Distinguished Policy Fellow through the Leo Model Foundation Government and Public Affairs Initiative. In this capacity, Commissioner Ramsey co-teaches a seminar on 21st Century Policing with John Hollway, Penn Law’s Associate Dean and Executive Director of the Quattrone Center.

In each class, Commissioner Ramsey and Professor Hollway discuss and debate contemporary issues in policing. The course explores issues such as the use of force, the “school to prison pipeline,” learning from errors in policing, the role of technology in policing, how sentencing affects policing, community responsibility, and the Obama administration’s 21st Century Policing Initiative (for which Commissioner Ramsey was the Co-Chair).

“This is a very unique and engaging class – it’s not every day that students get to talk in-depth with a criminal justice professional who has the real-world experience and reform credentials of Charles Ramsey,” said Hollway. 

Hollway added that, “By having students research and moderate the discussions, we can ensure that we’re addressing the broad societal impact of policing in today’s America in ways that resonate with them.”

Ramsey was Police Commissioner of the Philadelphia Police Department from 2008 to 2016.  He has been at the forefront of developing innovative policing strategies and leading organizational change and is an internationally recognized practitioner and educator in his field and is the Immediate Past President of both the Police Executive Research Forum and the Major Cities Chiefs Association.

In December 2014, following several high-profile incidents involving police use of force, President Obama chose Commissioner Ramsey to serve as co-chair of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing. In recognition for his contributions to the field of policing and public safety, Ramsey has been awarded Honorary Doctorate Degrees from four universities and served as a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Drexel University’s Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation.

In January 2017, Commissioner Ramsey became a law enforcement analyst for Turner Broadcasting news outlet, CNN. He was also appointed by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf to serve as Chairman of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency and Chairman of the PA School Safety Committee. He currently serves as the Principal Deputy Monitor overseeing Federal Consent Decrees in Baltimore and Cleveland and is a Founding Partner in the consulting firm 21st Century Policing Solutions, LLC.

“Commissioner Ramsey brings unparalleled expertise and experience to our community. We are looking forward to all that he will contribute next semester, and we are thrilled that our students will have this unique opportunity to learn from him,” said Neta Borshansky, Director of Public Sector Careers and Government Programs. 

“The course Ramsey and Hollway are teaching is unique from a pedagogical perspective, giving our law students an opportunity to think critically about the role of policing in our society. It also will prepare our students to be more thoughtful and creative lawyers when then enter practice, particularly if the roles they take on involve interactions with law enforcement,” said Borshansky. 

The Leo Model Foundation Government and Public Affairs Initiative Visitors Program invites attorneys, senior-level policymakers, and current or former government officials to share their real-world experience with students and faculty. These Policy Fellows spend their time at Penn Law teaching seminars, delivering guest lectures, engaging in career conversations with students, and integrated into the law school community during their visit.

“I’m thrilled that we can make this visit by Commissioner Ramsey possible,” noted Cary Coglianese, the Edward B. Shils Professor of Law and faculty chair of government and public affairs. 

“When combined with our world-class faculty in criminal law and the many opportunities available through our distinctive Quattrone Center for the Fair Administration of Justice, the opportunity to take a class taught by someone of Commissioner Ramsey’s stature and leadership experience only underscores how Penn Law provides students with the best environment to prepare for careers in which they can tackle the pressing issues facing the U.S. criminal justice system,” Coglianese said.