Tuesday, March 10, 1998

New top cop starts work

John Timoney stormed into Philadelphia determined to bring the police department to modern standards. He worked fast... from the very beginning.


BYLINE: Howard Goodman and Thomas J. Gibbons Jr., INQUIRER STAFF WRITERS

In a foul-smelling courtroom in a shabby police station in the blighted heart of one of Philadelphia's most drug-infested and violent neighborhoods, John F. Timoney yesterday began bonding with the police department that is suddenly his.

On his first day on the job, the new commissioner of the Philadelphia Police Department began at 7 a.m., addressing morning roll call at the 24th and 25th Districts of Fairhill, Kensington and North Philadelphia.

"Have a safe tour," Timoney told groups of officers unused to seeing so important a personage at their daily ritual.

"This won't be my last visit," he added. "Maybe some night at 1 o'clock in the morning, I'll pop in and drive in a radio car with you."

The 49-year-old former deputy commissioner of the New York Police Department is so new in town that his Rittenhouse Square apartment doesn't have a telephone yet. He is working out of temporary quarters at the Municipal Services Building because his office at the Police Administration Building is getting a coat of paint.

His swearing-in will not take place until today at City Hall.

But he was off and running.

"Full speed ahead," Timoney said jauntily at 8 a.m.