An explosion of racially and politically charged violence could rip America part this summer, says one of the nation’s most experienced and respected police chiefs.
“Well, we are sitting on a powder keg,” former Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said on NBC’s Meet the Press Sunday. “You can call it a powder keg – you could say that we’re handling nitroglycerine.”
Violence likely will mar the Democratic or Republican conventions, Ramsey predicted. The Republicans are scheduled to meet in Cleveland on July 18-21, and the Democrats are set to gather in Philadelphia on July 25-28.
“And I think you’ve got two conventions coming up that are going to be very, very challenging to handle,” Ramsey said. “And I don’t think they are going to go without some incident taking place. It’s unfortunate, but that’s what I personally think. I hope that’s not the case. But you’ve got too many people that are now with this extreme rhetoric and that is just not good for anybody.”
Ramsey is the head of President Obama’s White House Policing Task Force.
‘A Very Volatile Time’
Ramsey called it a “very volatile time that we’re in right now.”
He began his police work in 1968, and his tenure has included nine years as chief of police in Washington DC, and nine years as police commissioner in Philadelphia.
To make matters worse, Ramsey thinks America’s police are not equipped to deal with the rising tide of violence. He said the nation’s cops need to be better trained and organized.
“There are approximately 18,000 departments in the United States,” he said. “In my opinion, far too many and we need to look at a long-term goal — more regionalization, better training, more consistency in policy and procedures. … I would try to cut the number in half, maybe by, in the next 10 years or so. Because you are always going to have these kinds of issues as long as you have this many departments with different policies, procedures, training and the like.”
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