Together with the Steering Committee and Police Reform Working Group, City leaders have committed to immediate action on police reform and public safety.
The current reform agenda focuses on:
- Policy reviews and updates
- Behavioral and mental health-related operational reforms to protocol and policies
- Oversight, transparency, and equity
- Budgeting and collective bargaining
- State-level reforms
*Updated as of 11-17-20
Policy reviews and updates
Completed updates to use-of-force policies, including reporting procedures and teargas ban
Mayor Kenney and Commissioner Outlaw accepted President Obama’s pledge to review police use-of-force policies in Philadelphia. As part of this process, the City agrees to:
- Seek a range of input, experiences, and stories from the community.
- Report our findings to the public and seek feedback.
- Reform our police use of force policies.
Commissioner Danielle Outlaw implemented critical changes to the Philadelphia Police Department’s use-of-force policies:
- While chokeholds have been prohibited, the policy now explicitly prohibits sitting or kneeling on a person’s neck, face, or head
- The intentional pointing of firearms is considered a use of force and must be recorded.
- Teargas is prohibited in the management of peaceful or passive resistance–type demonstrations, and the SWAT procedures for less-than-lethal munitions have been amended
- No-knock warrant entries are now prohibited
- All uses of force must be reported via police radio
Additional use-of-force policies under review
- Canine Policy is in full review
- Moratorium on tear gas pending amendments to existing SWAT operating procedures
Completed updates to search warrants policies
The Philadelphia Police Department has implemented the policy that all no-knock entry for all warrants are now prohibited. The following search warrant policy is under review:
- Exculpatory information (information that would contradict a person’s involvement in a crime) will be required to be included in all search & arrest warrant affidavits submitted to magistrates for approval
Police Board of Inquiry under review
Beginning in September 2020, the Philadelphia Police Department has agreed to work collaboratively with the Police Advisory Commission to evaluate the Police Board of Inquiry (PBI), which processes official complaints to the department:
- Reviewing the board selection process, training, objectivity, and conflict of interests of identifying recommendations to improve unbiasedness.
- Reviewing the PBI’s Charging unit’s purpose, processes, utility, and interactions with Internal Affairs.
- Reviewing how disciplinary measures are initiated from both commanders and internal affairs across the department for consistency and fairness.
- Reviewing the processes of the PBI’s Advocate’s office to determine compliance with existing departmental directives and the Mayor’s executive order.
- Reviewing training and effectiveness of the PBI advocate in negotiating and conducting quasi-administrative hearings.
- Reviewing community feedback concerning the PBI process to identify avenues to improve PBI transparency, complainant cooperation and overall satisfaction.
Technology Policy under review
In June 2020, Commissioner Outlaw committed to reviewing areas of discretion, technology, and tools that might be incorporating bias, including facial recognition technology and license plate readers:
- The NYU Policing Project has begun a review of the Philadelphia Police Department’s electronic surveillance and information gathering policies with a focus on civil rights and civil liberties.
- The Philadelphia Police Department has asked the Police Advisory Commission (PAC), the Quattrone Center for the Fair Administration of Justice, and a Civil Rights attorney to review and offer recommendations to current policy.
- PAC has completed a review of the City’s Group Violence Initiative and made several recommendations, which the Quattrone Center and a civil rights attorney have convened to review.
Mediation Process under review
Starting in December 2020, The Philadelphia Police Department and Police Advisory Commission (PAC) have agreed to implement a mediation process for low-level complaints
- Police responses to community complaints with low-level designations will be reviewed.
- Philadelphia Police Department will work with the Mayor’s Office to amend the current Executive Order to include mediation.
Behavioral and mental health-related operational reforms to protocol and policies
Embed behavioral health staff monitoring 911 calls to identify signs of a behavioral health crisis
Since September 28, 2020, a behavioral health navigator from the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services (DBHIDS) has been stationed with staff in the police 9-1-1 radio room to determine the types of calls received:
- Gathering information to refine the model for behavioral health collaboration.
- Determining the amount and type of support needed.
- Assisting in the development of a curriculum for training of call-takers.
- Helping in the development of a script to support identification of crisis calls.
The goal of this measure is to build a system that better identifies what calls may be behavioral health related and triaged differently.
Providing behavioral health screening questions for 911 call takers
As of November 3, 2020, 911 call takers now have a methodology to better identify when calls are related to behavioral health crises. Relevant 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.
Conducting modified Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) class for 911 call takers and dispatchers
Beginning the week of November 9, 2020, the CIT class provides 911 call takers and dispatchers with training to identify crisis-related calls. This measure was implemented to more efficiently direct calls to CIT trained officers in the field.
Additionally, the Philadelphia Police Department and DBHIDS will provide de-escalation training that can be used for both 911 call takers and dispatchers. The planning for this training has been underway since late August 2020.
Piloting four co-responder teams
By January 2021, the City will pilot four co-responder teams, composed of CIT trained officers and mental health professionals contracted by DBHIDS. These personnel will jointly respond to calls identified by Police Radio on a single shift. This ramp-up expands and accelerates implementation efforts that are already planned. Based on information gathered in the pilot stage, the Philadelphia Police Department and DBHIDS have developed a proposal to add more teams to build 24/7 coverage across the city.
Expanding CIT officer training
Currently, there are 3,100 CIT trained officers. 50 percent of Philadelphia Police Department officers are CIT trained and are assigned throughout the city on all tours of duty. Philadelphia has made a significant investment in CIT officer training and is a national leader for having the largest cohort of CIT officers in a major city police department. The goal is to have all patrol officers receive CIT training.
Decoupling CIT and Taser Training
Prior Philadelphia Police Department policy required officers to receive 40 hours of CIT training in addition to 8 hours of TASER training before issued a taser device. Due to the time constraints of CIT training as well as the limited number of class spots available, the Philadelphia Police Department continues to expedite the availability of taser devices into the field through a decoupling pilot program. Through this pilot, the last 4 Police Academy classes were issued tasers after receiving the 8 hours of required training. Decoupling CIT and Taser training will allow current Philadelphia Police Department officers an expedited use of tasers and allow CIT training to be scheduled without delay.
Oversight, transparency, and equity
Creation of the Police Oversight Commission
The City will support City Council legislation included in the November 3, 2020 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.
Implementation of the Active Bystander for Law Enforcement (ABLE) program
In September 2020, the Philadelphia Police Department began training for the Active Bystander for Law Enforcement (ABLE) Program. The department will train all sworn personnel how to actively and effectively intervene and de-escalate a situation to build a culture that prevents harm. The Philadelphia Police Department currently has 4 Academy instructors trained through the national ABLE ‘Train-the-trainer” session. Philadelphia Police Department will train an additional 4 instructors through the second ABLE ‘Train-the-Trainer’ session in November 2020.
Implementation of comprehensive implicit bias and mitigation training
On October 26, 2020, 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 to 500 officers per month.
Creation of positions focused on misconduct, brutality, equity, and other relevant issues
The Philadelphia Police Department will create a position for Deputy Inspector General. The deputy inspector general will focus on deterring, detecting, preventing, and eradicating waste, fraud, and abuse within law enforcement agencies. They will also review policies and practices of those agencies.
Commissioner Outlaw has committed to hiring a Diversity & Inclusion Officer for the Philadelphia Police Department. The hiring process that began in October 2020 will focus on reviewing all the Philadelphia Police Department policies and practices through an equity lens and assist with increasing diversity of new hires. The Diversity & Inclusion Officer will report directly to the Commissioner. The Philadelphia Police Department is continuing to actively recruit for this position, with the goal of having the DIO hired by December 2020.
Increasing the Philadelphia Police Department’s diversity
Since July 2020, Commissioner Outlaw has been working to enhance the Philadelphia Police Department’s racial and geographic recruitment diversity, including specific benchmarks. She will commit to reporting on progress toward those goals.
Greater transparency regarding Internal Affairs investigations and status of police misconduct
Starting in January 2021, the Philadelphia Police Department will issue a quarterly report on Internal Affairs activity. The report will include:
- The number of complaints filed
- The types of complaints
- The current status of those complaints
The City will continue working with advocates and government leaders to examine other ways to increase transparency around Internal Affairs. The police commissioner is reviewing all protocols related to the disciplinary process and the Police Board of Inquiry.
Greater transparency of complaints against police officers
In early 2021, The Philadelphia Police Department will expand reporting of civilian complaints and internal investigations. As part of this effort, the department will post quarterly complaints against police, which will include:
- Unique, anonymized officer identification numbers
- The type of complaint
- Full text of the complaint
- Complaint disposition
- Demographic information of the complainant
The Philadelphia Police Department will also establish:
- Specific criteria for designating an investigation as internal or external
- Systemic tracking and public reporting of incidents in which officers witness inappropriate or excessive force by another office
Development of an Early Intervention System
The Commissioner is reviewing several technology solutions to implement an early intervention system to manage and retain Philadelphia Police Department officers, focusing on highlighting good work being done by officers, as well as monitor officers who may be at risk employees where the department would need to engage in some form of intervention or discipline.
Civilianization review and study
The Philadelphia Police Department is reviewing uniformed positions and will determine whether they can be converted to civilian positions.
- A review of District/Unit current staffing and internal personnel optimization is taking place.
- The Philadelphia Police Department is working to implement an updated staffing model
- The Philadelphia Police Department’s task force deployments and implement the rotations in Internal Affairs and Narcotics, per FOP contract, are being re-assessed.
Budgeting and collective bargaining
Eliminate proposed increase to Philadelphia Police Department’s budget
The administration has worked with the City Council in reducing the Philadelphia Police Department’s budget to FY20 funding levels.
Changes related to collective bargaining
Starting in October 2020, as part of the next Act 111 arbitration with the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Lodge 5, the City intends to seek several changes in negotiations with the FOP. This will include:
- Re-establishing residency requirements for officers going forward.
- Removing any limitations on the commissioner’s authority to transfer officers at her discretion, including removal of any required input by the FOP.
- Overhauling the Philadelphia Police Department’s disciplinary code.
- Revising aspects of the grievance arbitration process for police discipline, including but not limited to the process for selection of arbitrators.
- Eliminating disciplinary record expungements and making all prior records available for consideration during Police Board of Inquiry investigations.
- Inclusion of community members and outside experts on the Police Board of Inquiry.
Prior to negotiations, the Philadelphia Police Department would commission an outside review of the Philadelphia Police Department Code of Conduct to inform the collective bargaining process.
Greater transparency in the collective bargaining process
The City will add a public comment period outlining its goals and permitting public comment prior to submitting proposals to the FOP, prior to finalizing a new contract. This will include a public forum where City residents can openly speak.
The City is committed to soliciting and sharing our collective bargaining requests with relevant stakeholders and the general public before the start of the negotiating or state Act 111 arbitration process.
Seeking reforms to Pennsylvania state legislation
Many aspects of law enforcement and local labor negotiations are dictated by state law. The City would support a number of reforms by the state, regardless of whether those reforms are subject to bargaining. This includes:
- Overhauling Act 111 and the grievance arbitration process, including but not limited to making sure that police officers lawfully terminated by the Commissioner remain off the force and to contain other safeguards against irrational, binding decisions by arbitrators.
- Legislation making the interest arbitration process more transparent.
- Legislation outlawing the police chokehold or using pressure to airways to detain citizens. (The use of chokeholds is already disallowed under PPD use of force policies.)
- Legislation providing additional criminal penalties for criminal use of deadly force by police officers.
- Legislation requiring mandatory drug testing after an officer-involved shooting.
- Legislation improving access to police video footage requiring all non-body camera police video to be subject to the Right to Know Law. The City would support such legislation consistent with our current policy and practice. Video that is part of an active investigation should be released at the Department’s discretion.
- Legislation creating a state oversight board to professionally certify, train, and provide continual education to police officers; give this oversight board disciplinary power and provide the public with a venue where behavioral misconduct concerns will be addressed.
- Legislation establishing/requiring an independent review process where police kill or seriously injure civilians.
- Legislation requiring law enforcement officers to be regularly evaluated for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
- Legislation creating a confidential database within the state Attorney General’s office to track officer complaints that law enforcement agencies can search to find potential red flags before hiring an officer who has previously separated from another law enforcement agency.
Seeking reforms within the Governor’s authority
The City would support:
- Creating a position for Deputy State Inspector General, who would focus on deterring, detecting, preventing, and eradicating misconduct, brutality, waste, fraud, and abuse within law enforcement agencies.
- Establishing a civil unrest damage recovery fund.
- Requiring the PA State Police to develop a publicly available database with the capability to receive, store, tabulate, and analyze the data sets required to be documented by all law enforcement agencies, including data about police misconduct.