Amid surging violence and a shortage in officers, Philadelphia Police announced a partnership with Pennsylvania State Police aimed at increasing the presence of law enforcement in areas of the city hit hardest by crime.
The public safety program, named “Operation Trigger Lock,” puts state troopers with Philadelphia police highway patrol officers in select locations throughout the city.
“During this joint initiative, it will not be uncommon to see both PPD and PSP vehicles with one PPD officer and one PSP trooper per vehicle,” a Philadelphia Police spokesperson wrote.
Both departments will share intelligence and resources while patrolling the “most-challenged communities” in Philadelphia, with a focus on violent crime.
"It’s something they did in the 90s and they are doing it again," Philadelphia police Chief Inspector Frank Vanore said Thursday. "It’s a force multiplier. It’s another unit that we have out there patrolling our very busy streets."
Vanore said state troopers patrolling city streets as part of the program will be making arrests and "do a lot of what we do."
"We’re looking for help any way we can get it," he added.
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Searching for solutions to Philadelphia's gun violence crisis
The initiative comes amid a surge in gun violence in Philadelphia. A gun violence tracker from the city controller’s office tallied 832 nonfatal and 205 fatal shooting victims as of Wednesday, June 15. Shootings have accounted for the most killings in Philadelphia this year. As of Wednesday night, there were 229 homicides in the city in 2022, down only 8 percent from the same time last year which was ultimately the deadliest year in Philadelphia on record.
“Like many police departments across the country, the PPD is facing a staffing shortage at a time when our communities are experiencing levels of gun violence in ways that we have never before seen,” Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said. “By working alongside PPD Highway Patrol officers, our PSP Trooper colleagues will serve as an invaluable partner and force multiplier as we work to mitigate the scourge of gun violence across our precious Philadelphia communities.”
The Philadelphia Police Department is not disclosing which neighborhoods or police districts will be patrolled.
There are additional resources for people or communities that have endured gun violence in Philadelphia. Further information can be found here.