In a letter to the Police Advisory Commission, Ramsey agreed to new policies regulating “courtesy rides,” the cancellation of medics for people in need of hospital care and the use of cellphones during official business.
The PAC recommended the changes in a report issued to Ramsey in April.
Morris was a transgender woman found with a fatal head wound shortly after she received a courtesy ride from Philadelphia police.
Her homicide remains unsolved, and a committee has formed to obtain justice in the case.
The PAC also recommended 12 hours of LGBT-sensitivity training for Philadelphia police officers.
Ramsey didn’t agree to that recommendation, but said he would support lobbying efforts to make such training mandatory statewide.
Ramsey’s response doesn’t address other issues raised by the PAC, including the need for state and federal probes of the Morris case.
His spokesperson, Lt. John Stanford, had no comment on whether Ramsey would support efforts to get the probes.
Stanford also had no comment as to when the policy changes will be implemented.
Ramsey’s response was conveyed to the PAC on Aug. 15 by his special advisor, Lt. Francis T. Healy.
Ronda B. Goldfein, chair of the PAC, said Ramsey’s response was a step in the right direction.
“I hope it prevents some mistreatment of someone in the future,” Goldfein said. “It’s not nearly enough, but at least it’s a starting place.”
She said the PAC wasn’t in a position to solve the mystery of Morris’ death.
“But we hope we can change some of the circumstances that created the mystery,” Goldfein added.
Officer Elizabeth Skala gave Morris a courtesy ride during the pre-dawn hours of Dec. 22, 2002.
Morris had been drinking at the old Key West Bar, near 13th and Walnut streets. She had trouble standing, and a 911 call was placed on her behalf.
Skala arrived at the scene, canceled medics and reportedly transported Morris to the vicinity of 16th and Walnut streets.
Shortly after the ride, Morris was found there by a passing motorist, lying unconscious with blunt-force trauma to her head.
Sgt. Michael Dougherty, Skala’s supervisor, said he gave permission for the ride during a cell-phone conversation with Skala.
But Skala testified that she only spoke with her dispatcher and Morris prior to embarking on the ride.
The PAC was unable to determine whether the purported cell-phone conversation took place. Still, it recommended checks on cell-phone use during official police business.
While the Key West assignment was pending at the 911 call center, Skala initiated a vehicle stop near 13th and Market streets.
The ensuing confusion resulted in an unfounded designation for the initial 911 call, and no police report of the ride was filed.
. As part of its Morris investigation, the PAC received a redacted copy of a time-response log relating to the vehicle stop.
On Aug. 16, PGN filed a Right-to-Know Law request with the District Attorney’s Office for an unredacted copy of the log.
The request remained pending at presstime.
The request was filed on behalf of the paper by attorney Danielle Goebel of the Salmanson Goldshaw law firm.