On January 27, 2021, Mayor Jim Kenney signed Executive Order 2-21, which made two changes to the list of City Holidays. The City of Philadelphia will once again recognize Juneteenth (June 19) as a holiday; and, for the first time, the City holiday celebrated on the second Monday of October will be recognized as Indigenous Peoples’ Day rather than Columbus Day. These changes, instituted via Executive Order 2-21, will be in place at least through the end of the Kenney administration.
The City and PIDC announced the Philadelphia COVID-19 Restaurant and Gym Relief Program, a $12 million grant program from the City and PIDC designed to provide financial relief to small businesses that were among the most adversely affected by the latest round of pandemic-related restrictions enacted in November 2020. Priority will be given to businesses that are located in high poverty areas or on neighborhood commercial corridors, are minority-, woman-, or disabled-owned, provide jobs to Philadelphians, or suffered damage in 2020 due to civil unrest.
The Kenney Administration and Philadelphia City Council announced a new commitment of $7 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding to aid small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is in addition to the $30 million the City previously directed to the program, for a total of $37 million.
Led by the City’s Budget Office in partnership with the City Planning Commission, Philadelphia is launching Participatory Budgeting, in which Philadelphians will generate ideas for infrastructure investments and vote directly on how to spend $1 million dollars on capital projects. The City plans to call for spending ideas from the public in the early spring, with the final vote happening in June 2021, around the same time that City Council will vote on the FY22 budget.
911 call takers and dispatchers are receiving a modified Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training to identify crisis-related calls so that calls are more efficiently directed to CIT trained officers in the field. The planning for this training has been underway since late August 2020.
The City supported City Council legislation included in the election ballot on the creation of a permanent, civilian Police Oversight Commission. This commission will conduct contemporaneous, independent reviews of civilian complaints and use of force incidents. The specifics of the commission’s duties will be developed in coordination with City Council.
911 call takers now have a methodology to better identify when calls are related to behavioral health crises. These additional questions are provided to dispatchers and officers responding in real-time. With these new screening policies, dispatchers will have the ability to gather more incident-specific information and will improve the way they dispatch officers and other first responders within the city.
The Philadelphia Police Department contracted with Dr. Bryant Marks and the National Training Institute on Race and Equity (NTIRE) to provide Implicit Bias Training for all sworn and non-sworn members of the Police Department. Currently, 3,384 officers have been trained. Classes will continue into November 2020. This mitigation training will entail a one-day training session for 500 officers per month.
City Announces First Step Towards Implementation of 911 Triage and Co-Responder Program. This new program will connect residents experiencing behavioral health crisis with the appropriate services and supports through 911.
Since September 28, 2020, a DBHIDS behavioral health navigator has been stationed with staff in the police 9-1-1 radio room to learn about the types of calls received—gathering information to refine the model for behavioral health collaboration, determine the amount and type of support needed, assist in the development of a curriculum for training of call-takers, and help in the development of a script to support identification of crisis calls.
On September 23, 2020, the City released a $1 million Call For Ideas, seeking workforce innovations to help unemployed and underemployed Philadelphians prepare for and connect to sustainable, living-wage careers. Proposals must clearly identify how funding would be used to address workforce challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and/or exacerbated by long-standing racial injustices.
Philadelphia City Council approved two law enforcement reform bills sparked by the murder of George Floyd by police in Minnesota. The “Let Philly Breathe" bill prohibits police from using certain types of physical restraints in detaining a person, including chokeholds, hogtying, and placement of body weight on the head, face, neck, or back. The other bill requires that a public hearing be held where residents can comment on a proposed police contract before it is voted on by the members of the Fraternal Order of Police.
Mural Arts Philadelphia, in partnership with the City of Philadelphia, today dedicated “Crown”, a new installation by artist Russell Craig for the windows of the Municipal Services Building, across from City Hall. The mural highlights the Black Lives Matter movement and is placed near the former site of the Frank Rizzo statue, across the street from City Hall.
The City of Philadelphia is partnering with community-based organizations to open Access Centers that will support Philadelphia children and their families this fall during digital learning time. The City-run Access Centers will be free of charge and located in neighborhoods to serve Philadelphia’s most vulnerable children.
The Philadelphia Historical Commission voted in favor of removing the statue of Christopher Columbus in Marconi Plaza, an action acknowledging the statue’s symbolism and legacy of racism.
The City of Philadelphia and School District of Philadelphia announced PHLConnectED, a new collaboration to connect up to 35,000 low-income K-12 student households with internet service and devices. PHLConnectED is the first stage of the City’s larger digital equity initiative to support digital literacy and access for all Philadelphia residents.
The Philadelphia Department of Public Health has released an interim plan to address the racial inequities posed by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. The plan is divided into eight areas of concern, and each section acknowledges existing disparities in the community, highlights what the City and Health Department are currently doing to address those disparities, and plans for further addressing them.
Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw announced new intervention training for all officers. Called Active Bystandership for Law Enforcement, or ABLE, the program is scheduled to begin in September 2020.
The City waived all protest-related code violation notices (CVNs) issued May 30-June 30, 2020. This includes disorderly conduct, failure to disperse, and curfew violations. Demonstrators marched to bring awareness to important issues and one vital message: Black lives matter.
City Solicitor Marcel Pratt and Deputy Mayor of Labor Rich Lazor co-authored a letter to the state legislature with recommended amendments to Act 111. The purpose is to reform the police arbitration process.
Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw updated use-of-force policies to ban teargas for demonstrations.
The City initiated a public process for possible removal of the Christopher Columbus statue in Marconi Plaza.
The Restore and Reopen program began accepting grant applications from small, independently-owned businesses—with a focus on those in historically disadvantaged communities—that experienced damage or inventory loss from recent civil unrest.
Juneteenth became an official City holiday for the first time when Mayor Kenney signed an executive order. Making this permanent will require additional steps, including Council legislation and a re-negotiation of all City holidays with the municipal unions. The administration will work to ensure Juneteenth continues to be an official City holiday.
The City initiated an independent after-action review of police response to recent protests, including the I-676 and the 52nd Street incidents involving teargas.
Mayor Kenney and Public Health Commissioner Dr. Tom Farley announced that the City will provide funding to the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium to increase testing capacity in communities that have been the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mayor Kenney released a police reform agenda, including the elimination of the proposed increase to the Philadelphia Police Department budget.
Mayor Kenney and Commissioner Outlaw took President Obama’s pledge to review use-of-force policies in Philadelphia.
Mayor Kenney formed the Steering Committee to help guide the City as it enacts meaningful police reforms, reimagines public safety, and advances racial equity.
Under an executive order from Mayor Kenney, the City removed the Frank Rizzo statue from the front of the Municipal Services Building. It stood as an icon of bigotry, police brutality, and oppression.
Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw made a change to use-of-force protocol by requiring all uses of force to be reported via Police Radio.
Weeks of protests and demonstrations of social activism begin in Philadelphia. Thousands took to the streets to demand that City officials dismantle broken systems and work to build a truly equitable city—one where Black Lives Matter.