There are many City agencies involved in the promotion of public safety, and each has an important mission.
- The mission of the Philadelphia Police Department (PPD) is to fight crime and the threat of crime, including terrorism, by working with its partners to enforce laws, apprehend offenders, prevent crime from occurring, and improve the quality of life for all Philadelphians.
- The Philadelphia Fire Department’s (PFD) mission is to ensure public safety through quick and professional responses to fire and medical emergencies and to minimize the loss of life and property through fire prevention.
- The mission of the Philadelphia Prisons Systems (PPS) is to ensure public safety by providing a secure, humane correctional environment that adequately detains people accused or convicted of illegal acts and which prepares incarcerated people for reentry into society.
- The mission of the Office of Re-Integration Services for Ex-offenders (RISE) is to provide effective and efficient reintegration services that result in the successful transition of individuals from Federal, State and local jails back into local Philadelphia communities, reducing the rate of recidivism.
Another important aspect of the City’s public safety system is the Office of Emergency Management, which is responsible for ensuring the readiness of the City of Philadelphia for emergencies of any kind through an integrated and collaborative program of public education and outreach, mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery. The courts, the District Attorney’s Office, the Defender Association of Philadelphia, the Sheriff and the other participants in the criminal justice system all play crucial roles in the City’s efforts to promote public safety.
Core public safety services must be protected. To that end, no police officer or fire fighter will be laid off as a part of the FY10-14 budget balancing plan. However, every attempt is being made to provide these essential services in a manner that is as cost effective as possible without diminishing, in any way, the overall ability to protect the safety of our citizens.
Reduction and more efficient use of overtime continues to be a goal for the departments within the Public Safety cluster, and some notable achievements and savings have already be realized as a result of actions taken during the November 2008 Rebalancing Plan. Overtime reductions in the Police Department have been achieved with the appointment of the Inspector of Standards and Accountability to monitor and control the Department’s use of overtime.
Overtime costs continue to be a significant cost driver in the Prison System. To reduce overtime costs in the Prison System that are associated with hospital trips for inmates, the Prison System is working with Frankford Hospital to develop a secure ward. This will eliminate some of the overtime costs associated with inmates who need to be supervised by Correctional Officers while admitted to hospitals.
Opportunities exist for revenue enhancements in both the Prison System and Fire Department. The Prison System is developing proposals to implement various fees and co-pays for services used by inmates while they are in custody. The Fire Department is reviewing its EMS fee structure to identify any potential revenue enhancements related to increased reimbursement rates.
During the FY10 budget community engagement process, and in response to public and stakeholder concerns surrounding the population of the Philadelphia Prison System, the Office of Public Safety convened the Criminal Justice Advisory Board. This Board, comprised of all of the Criminal Justice Stakeholders, is eligible for Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency grant funding and will work to reduce the prison population and ensure that all of the pertinent stakeholders communicate and operate the most efficient and effective Criminal Justice System.
Continuing to reduce the City’ s homicide and violent crime rates, and sharpened focus on the City’s most violent neighborhoods will continue to be the top priority of the public safety cluster.
Other activities include:
- Construction of the new, state of the art Youth Study Center is due to begin mid-summer of 2009, with scheduled completion in mid-2011 and occupancy and full operational capacity no later than October 1, 2011. Efforts will be directed at keeping this important project on time and within budget.
- The creation of the Delaware Valley Intelligence Center (DVIC) is a joint project of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Regional Task Force (SEPA RTF) and the City. The DVIC is a Fusion Center that will house a variety of federal, state, and local activities that will collect and analyze threat and criminal intelligence that will benefit a four state, twelve county area. A variety of funding sources from outside the city revenue stream are being pursued to help fund creation of the city’s facilities at the DVIC location.
- Additionally, the City is seeking to expand the use of video technology in the court system. Rather than have inmates appear in court, hearings will be conducted via video connections between the Prison and the Courts. Reducing the movement of inmates for court appearances should alleviate the security concerns associated with mass movement of inmates and should also reduce the costs associated with the processing and transporting of large numbers of inmates on a daily basis.
- The Office of Re-Integration Services for Ex-offenders provides reintegration services, such as basic education and job skills, for those individuals leaving City prisons so that they may reenter society as productive citizens.
- The Criminal Justice Advisory Board (CJAB) has recently been constituted, and consists of representatives from each of the Criminal Justice Stakeholder groups in the City. The City is now eligible to receive grant funding from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency. The goals of the CJAB for the coming year will be to build efficiencies into the criminal justice system and reduce the City’s prison population.