Frank Rizzo and the Abington Township Police Department review: A look back to 1984

Back in the mid-1980s, there was controversy within Abington Township regarding the effectiveness of its Chief of Police William F. Corcoran. In 1984, the Abington Township Board of Supervisors appointed Frank Rizzo, the former Philadelphia Chief of Police and Mayor, to conduct a review of the police department.

Rizzo’s review was critical of the leadership of Chief Corcoran. He recommended Corcoran’s demotion and the hiring of a new chief.

There is a video of a public meeting where Rizzo provides details on his report to the commissioners and the public. Watch below:

So what happened? Corcoran was demoted and a new chief was hired in 1985. Abington Township’s website describes the arrival of the new chief as follows:

The Police Department’s modern era began with the arrival of Chief Bill Kelly in 1985. Under the leadership of Chief Kelly the Abington Police added an undercover drug investigation unit; modernized its SWAT team; increased it K-9 capability; initiated community policing and crime prevention as organizational priorities; started a bike patrol, added school resource officers; began a D.A.R.E. program; conducted minority hiring initiatives; and computerized the Department’s day-to-day operations.

Corcoran also sued Rizzo. We couldn’t find much detail on the lawsuit except for this one document. The court sided with Rizzo’s defense.

If you were at the public meeting where Rizzo spoke, let us know about the experience in the comments.