Vice President for Public Safety Maureen Rush can now add another credential to her extensive law enforcement background — and this one is a first for a female.
On Sept. 21, Rush was unanimously elected president of the Philadelphia Police Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded in 1998 that funds the Philadelphia Police Department in areas otherwise not covered by the budget. She is the first woman to hold the position.
Rush initially downplayed the significance of breaking the gender barrier. “Gender is not the issue,” she said. “What’s important is people doing the best job they can.”
She then added that “there are still barriers for women,” in law enforcement as well as other industries. She also said “gender was huge” back when she started working for the PPD in 1976, when she was one of the first 100 women to be hired on “street patrol” in a U.S. Department of Justice pilot program.
Rush said that regardless of the gender issues, she is very honored to have been nominated and elected. She added that “we [at the foundation] all have the same intentions … to make sure the Philadelphia Police Department has the right tools to make Philadelphia a safer city.”
According to foundation Secretary and 7-Eleven Market Manager Janice Tangradi, Rush has already followed through on those goals.
“I think she is overqualified for the job. She has an incredible passion, and she has already been able to deliver on the mission of the foundation,” Tangradi said.
Rush has been a member of the foundation’s management team for the past six years. Vice President of the foundation Jeffrey Kolansky, also a managing partner of the law firm Archer & Greiner, said Rush brings “energy and knowledge of the police world” to the foundation.
Prior to working with the Division of Public Safety, Rush served as the chief of Penn Police from 1996 to 2000. She also served 18 years with the PPD, where she began her law enforcement career.
Rush’s prior experience is an enormous addition for the foundation, according to Peter Madden, CEO of AgileCat branding agency in Philadelphia and another vice president of the foundation.
“I think Maureen is a really unique and special individual. Given her time with the Philadelphia Police Department, I think she has a perspective that many of us on the board do not have to have served in that capacity,” Madden said.
“I really think it’s the perfect time for her to be serving as president and leading this charge for us,” he added.
Among the various programs the foundation is funding for the PPD is the refurbishing of their mounted patrol unit, which was disbanded in 2004 for budgetary reasons. The program is named “Pony Up.”
The mounted patrol is essential for community relations, according to Rush. She quoted Lieutenant Dan McCann, commanding officer of the Mounted Patrol Unit, as saying, “when I was on patrol, nobody asked me to pet my car.”
Rush added, “there is no better” means of controlling crowds than mounted patrol.
“When I was a rookie cop working the midnight shift, there was a riot,” she said. “We were having bottles and bricks thrown at us. All of a sudden, a troop of mounted patrol horses came galloping in and created a barrier.”
The riot was then dispelled in five minutes.
“They saved me from probably going to the hospital,” she said.