Washington, D.C., May 17, 2015 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) honored Charles H. Ramsey, former police chief in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., with the ADL William and Naomi Gorowitz Institute Service Award in recognition of his distinguished career of public service and for preserving and defending our nation’s democratic values.
The award was presented by Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO. Alan Gerry, an honorary ADL National Commissioner, created the institute to honor the memory of his late parents.
“Commissioner Ramsey is widely respected both for his expertise in combating terrorism and as a visionary police leader in the arena of civil rights and police-community relations,” Mr. Greenblatt said. “He is widely recognized both inside and outside of law enforcement as one of the profession’s most important and influential leaders in American law enforcement and has always believed that a law enforcement leader must also be an educator, mentor and role model.”
The presentation took place on May 17 during ADL’s National Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C., a gathering of hundreds of the League’s leaders and activists from across the country. The award recognizes outstanding achievements in the fight against terrorism, extremism and injustice.
In accepting the award, Mr. Ramsey reflected on the meaning of receiving an honor from ADL, and spoke about his long history of deep collaborative efforts with the League on various law enforcement initiatives.
His partnership with ADL began when he posed the idea to create a training program for his police recruits that would use the history of the Holocaust as a springboard to increase law enforcement’s understanding of its relationship to the people it serves. The program, later named “Law Enforcement and Society (LEAS),” was launched in 1998 and immediately expanded from training recruits to training all sworn officers in the department. The next year, then-FBI Director Louis Freeh mandated that each new FBI agent go through the program, which is conducted in partnership with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
“It really did stimulate thought. It stimulated emotion. It got people to really understand what it means to be a police officer and how unique our role is in society and how important our role is,” Mr. Ramsey said of the program.
“You are making a difference, a huge difference, and you certainly have made a difference in my life,” Mr. Ramsey said of ADL.
In a career spanning more than four decades, Mr. Ramsey has led three of the nation’s largest police departments—as Deputy Superintendent in Chicago, as Chief of the Police in Washington, D.C., and as Commissioner of Police in Philadelphia, where he simultaneously served as president of two of the nation’s most prominent law enforcement organizations, the Major City Chiefs Association and the Police Executive Research Forum. He was also named co-chair of President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing.
The ADL William and Naomi Gorowitz Institute on Terrorism and Extremism advances the fight against terrorism through education and advocacy by providing timely information, cutting-edge training and educational opportunities to the law enforcement community. The Institute assists law enforcement by providing resources for tracking extremists and terrorists across the United States.
Past recipients of the award have included: Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department Chief of Police Cathy L. Lanier, former Director of Central Intelligence and former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta; former U.S. Homeland Security Directors Michael Chertoff and Janet Napolitano; former CIA Director George Tenet, former FBI Director Louis Freeh, and former New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.