Note: As of June 9, the Mayors proposed budget does not include an increase to the Police Department budget. Read more about this and other changes to create change in Philadelphia. 

In recent days as demonstrations continue, many Philadelphians have expressed their disapproval of the proposed $14 million FY21 budget increase to the Philadelphia Police Department. Those residents are asking the City to redistribute the funds to community initiatives and social service programs.

We understand these concerns. We all have reasons to be deeply disturbed by systemic racism that has plagued our society for far too long, including disparities in policing, and we appreciate residents’ civic engagement and action to hold the City accountable. 

It is important to note that Philadelphia City Council ultimately approves the budget. We encourage residents to make their voices heard at upcoming budget hearings that are being held virtually due to the pandemic.

The proposed FY21 Philadelphia Police Department budget supports the City’s gun violence reduction goals and advances reform within the Police Department.

Specifically, the proposed increases to the Philadelphia Police Department’s FY21 budget include funding for:

  • Anti-racist trainings: The funds will expand implicit bias training. Implicit bias training is a racial equity tool that identifies ways in which unconscious patterns affect attitudes and actions and debiases to slow down or stop rapid, almost automatic response, including in very stressful situations. 
  • Body cameras: The funds will accelerate the use of body cameras. Body cameras create additional accountability of police officers and their interactions with the public they serve. 
  • Intelligence Bureau: 20 new Intelligence Bureau positions will be added to support data-driven policing, which is crucial to stemming the tide of gun violence in the city.
  • Public safety enforcement officers program: To fulfill a resolution and bill sponsored by Council President Clarke, the FY21 budget proposes funds to hire 28 new positions. These officers and their supervisors will support the Police Department in regulating traffic; they will not carry firearms or have the power of arrest. 
  • Labor contracts with the FOP and DC-47: Union contracts are renegotiated on a regular basis. The FY21 proposed budget includes the negotiated salary increases, which enabled the City to enact a one-year contract extension. That extension provided nominal raises to officers who are on the front lines of COVID-19 while serving the public.

When Mayor Kenney introduced the revised fiscal year 2021 budget, the administration’s focus was on addressing both the COVID-19 health pandemic and the resulting economic downturn with bold decisions. The revised budget cut $650 million from the administration’s original proposal so the City can operate within its means—while at the same time addressing other challenges like rising gun violence and homicides, poverty, and the opioid epidemic.

The Kenney administration is committed to defeating the rising tide of violence harming many of our great communities. This funding proposal is a direct response to the concerns we hear from individual residents and communities all across Philadelphia.

We look forward to public discussion and collaboration with City Council during the upcoming budget hearings on these important issues.