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Welcome to Philadelphia and IACP 2013

Written by Yesenia Salcedo

The 120th International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Conference will be held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, Pa., Oct. 19-23, 2013. The IACP is the world’s oldest and largest nonprofit membership organization of police executives, with more than 20,000 members in more than 100 countries. IACP’s leadership consists of the operating chief executives of international, federal, state and local agencies of all sizes.

Since its formation in 1893, IACP has met annually to share insight, learn about promising practices and discuss up-and-coming technology. With renowned keynote speakers and the largest exhibit hall of products and services in the law enforcement community, leaders from around the globe come together at the IACP Annual Conference to foster a continuing exchange of information and experience. 

At the IACP Conference you can stay informed on critical issues and new strategies that allow you to stay on top of your profession. IACP 2013 can provide the best educational resources in the world at your disposal, all in one single location. 

The IACP Conference and Expo provides useful and relevant education and training sessions focusing on a wide range of important issues, new tactics, and up-and-coming technology. There will be more than 200 program sessions presented by law enforcement experts and leading police executives, all designed to increase your job performance and your agency’s effectiveness.

The exhibit hall will offer live demonstrations of the latest technology and test the newest products available at the largest exposition ever for law enforcement. 

More than 750 companies will showcase products and services across six category-specific pavilions including communication/IT, vehicle accessories, weapons and tactical/protective equipment, administration and training, forensic/investigation, and personal equipment that could significantly impact the industry and allow your agency to operate more efficiently and effectively for years to come.

 

The Philadelphia Police Department
The Philadelphia Police Department (PPD) is the nation’s fourth largest police department, with more than 6,600 sworn members and 800 civilian personnel. The PPD is the primary law enforcement agency responsible for serving Philadelphia County, extending over 140 square miles with approximately 1.5 million residents. Geographically, the department is divided into 22 police districts each headed by a captain, which comprise six police divisions each headed by a Divisional Inspector.

The police districts are divided into two major sections of the city, Regional Operations Command North (ROC North) and Regional Operations Command South (ROC South), each headed by one Chief Inspector under Patrol Operations. Personnel are assigned to work in 55 different locations throughout Philadelphia, with police headquarters located in the 6th Police District, in Center City, at 750 Race Street. 

 

Philly’s Sights & Sounds
Big cities typically come with big buildings, and Philly doesn’t disappoint. While most of Philadelphia’s high-rise buildings are in Center City, the 437-foot Cira Centre sits just west of downtown, across the Schuylkill River. The city once abided by the unwritten “Gentleman’s Agreement,” meaning no building soared taller than William Penn’s hat atop City Hall. Today, skyscrapers like this one contribute to Philadelphia’s distinctive skyline.

A great place to view that skyline is Philly’s South Street Bridge. Built in 1876, it stretches over the Schuylkill River and connects West Philadelphia to Center City. In 2010, a new bridge opened with wide pedestrian sidewalks, bike lanes, and an impressive lighting scheme that appropriately complements the Philadelphia skyline.

Located in West Philadelphia’s Powelton Village neighborhood, Drexel Park boasts arguably the best skyline view of Center City Philadelphia. Residents and students flock to the 2.5-acre oasis for its walking paths, benches and open green space, where picnics, Frisbee games, reading and sunbathing are the main activities. Penn Park, which sits along the banks of the Schuylkill River, provides fields and tracks for sporting enthusiasts, as well as a perfect location for a picnic with a skyline view.

On hot summer days, Philadelphia’s Swann Memorial Fountain, also known as “The Fountain of Three Rivers,” serves as a favorite oasis for city residents and visitors alike. The fountain’s three main figures, sculpted by Alexander Stirling Calder, represent the city’s major waterways: the Delaware, Schuylkill and Wissahickon Rivers.

A diagonal interruption through Philadelphia’s horizontal/vertical grid layout, East Passyunk Avenue runs through the heart of South Philadelphia. The area along and around the thoroughfare boasts a wealth of independent boutiques, coffee shops and cafes, plus some of the city’s most authentic red-gravy restaurants. Situated about midway along the street’s length is Passyunk Square, where the “Singing Fountain,” benches, a chess table and the surrounding Italian eateries create a European vibe.

If drinking is more your game, Philly can accommodate you. Along Baltimore Avenue you’ll find one of West Philadelphia’s main thoroughfares, indie shops, ethnic restaurants and cool bars contribute to the neighborhood’s distinctive personality. Housed in an old firehouse, Dock Street Brewing Company draws crowds with its traditional and experimental brews and locally sourced food.

If coffee is more your cup of tea, Shot Tower offers serious coffee and tea lovers a comprehensive menu of brewed beverages. Appropriately named for the Italian phrase meaning “beautiful site,” the Bella Vista neighborhood of South Philadelphia is known for its quaint row homes and charming cafes and coffee shops, including Shot Tower. In between attending the numerous seminars, workshops and special events hosted by IACP 2013, take some time to enjoy everything Philly has to offer—from the cheesesteaks to the great views.

 

Philly Cheesesteaks
In Philadelphia, cheesesteaks are a civic icon, a tourist draw and a cultural obsession. Often imitated around the world, the cheesesteak is rarely duplicated successfully outside of Philadelphia. So what is an authentic cheesesteak and where did it come from? Here’s the lowdown on this region’s favorite sandwich.

A cheesesteak is a long, crusty roll filled with thinly sliced sautéed ribeye beef and melted cheese. Generally, the cheese of choice is Cheez Whiz, but American and provolone are common substitutions. The art of cheesesteak preparation lies in the balance of flavors, textures and what is often referred to as the “drip” factor. Other toppings may include fried onions, sautéed mushrooms, ketchup and hot or sweet peppers.

Some sandwich shops also offer a cheesesteak hoagie, a hybrid version that combines the cheesesteak with cold hoagie dressings like lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise. Cheesesteaks are fast, portable and readily available at steak shops, delis, food trucks, pizzerias and even some high-end restaurants throughout the region.

 

Pat Olivieri’s Invention

Everyone agrees that the cheesesteak, the celebrated Philadelphia sandwich invented by Pat Olivieri in 1930, should be made with chopped beef and melted cheese. The degree to which said beef is chopped and the type of cheese to be melted, however, is where there remains plenty of debate among cheesesteak aficionados.

The cheesesteak made its official debut in 1930. Pat Olivieri was a South Philadelphia hot dog vendor who one day decided to put some beef from the butcher on his grill. A taxicab driver noticed the alluring aroma and asked for his own steak sandwich. The next day, as the story goes, rumor of the delicious lunch had spread, and cabbies around the city came to Olivieri demanding steak sandwiches. Soon after, Olivieri opened up a shop on 9th Street and Passyunk Ave., Pat’s King of Steaks, to sell his new creation.

Eventually, according to legend, he added cheese to the recipe. Today, Pat’s grills are sizzling 24 hours a day, as are Geno’s, the rival shop across the street. For 40 years, the two shops have waged a friendly competition to win the title of best cheesesteak in town, with Geno’s founder, Joe Vento, claiming it was he, not Olivieri, who first added cheese to the cheesesteak.

 

How to Order a Philly Cheesesteak

When ordering a cheesesteak, the idea is to let the cashier know: a) that you would like a cheesesteak, b) what type of cheese you want, and c) whether or not you want fried onions. And you have to be as concise as possible while doing so. Locals have become so adept at this practice that they basically have it down to three words.

Saying “one wiz with” to the person behind the counter means that you would like one cheesesteak [denoted by the “one”] with Cheez Wiz as your choice of cheese [denoted by the “wiz”] and with fried onions [denoted by the “with”]. Similarly, saying “one provolone without” would secure you a single cheesesteak made with provolone cheese and without fried onions.

Where to Go

Those who prefer thinly sliced and finely chopped beef on a light roll often cite Roxborough’s Dalessandro’s as cheesesteak perfection. Others who prefer more coarsely chopped beef topped with gooey Cheez Wiz swear by Pat’s on Passyunk Avenue. And still others refuse to even consider that a finer sandwich could exist than the thick, extra-cheesy steak sandwich from John’s Roast Pork in South Philadelphia. Wherever you decide to go while you’re in town, you’ll definitely be experiencing an authentic Philly Cheesesteak.

Where to get your very own authentic Philly cheesesteak sandwich

  • Pat’s King of Steaks, 1237 E. Passyunk Avenue, (215) 468-1547. Pat Olivieri, invented the steak sandwich in 1930. Since then, Pat’s stand at the southern end of South Philly’s Italian Market has grown to one of the most famous cheesesteak shops in the world.
  • Jim’s Steaks, 400 South Street, (215) 928-1911. South Street’s diversity makes for an excellent customer base for Jim’s Steaks, South Street’s premier cheesesteak shop.
  • Geno’s Steaks, 1219 S. 9th Street, (215) 389-0659. Geno’s has been slinging its famous cheesesteaks from the same location here for more than 40 years now.
  • Abner’s Cheesesteaks, 3813 Chestnut Street, (215) 662-0100. A campus stalwart for more than 20 years, Abner’s actually ships its real-deal steaks to former University City students and residents throughout the country.
  • Ishkabibbles, 327 South Street, (216) 923-4337. Quick service is the hallmark of this long-running South Street walkup window, considered the innovator of the chicken cheesesteak. Don’t forget the jalapeno-covered Spanish fries on the side.
  • Cosmi’s Deli, 1501 S. Eighth Street, (215) 468-6093. Award-winning and independently owned for decades, Cosmi’s serves some of the best hoagies in Philly.

 

Yesenia Salcedo is a Contributing Editor for LAW and ORDER magazine. She can be reached at ydsalcedo@gmail.com.


Published in Law and Order, Oct 2013

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