Mayor Kenney announces new agenda for police reforms

Mayor Kenney announced a new agenda for police reform on Tuesday in response to over 10 days of citywide protests calling for change. 

“We saw the hurt and frustration of Black Americans—and their allies—on full display. Here at home and across the country, communities gathered to proclaim a simple but powerful truth: Black Lives Matter,” Kenney said.

The Philadelphia mayor’s administration held discussions with the City’s Reconciliation Steering Committee, City Council and the Police Reform Working Group, and has committed to implementing the 13 new reforms.

Some of the reforms include establishing a permanent civilian Police Oversight Commission and an early warning system for detecting problematic officer behavior.

This announcement follows Monday’s announcement from 14 out of the 17 city council members in which they refused to “accept the proposed $14 million increase” originally proposed for the police budget by the Kenney Administration for 2021. In response, the Kenney Administration plans to eliminate the proposed increase and work with the City Council to reduce the Police Department Budget to FY20 funding levels.

“This has been a humbling experience for me and members of my administration,” Kenney said. “Many of us have realized that, as progressive and inclusive as we think we are, we still have a lot to learn. I am grateful to our colleagues throughout City government, especially the Black men and women, who called us out when we made mistakes, pushed us to do better, and urged us to act now. 

In the statement, Kenney discussed past progress on police reform including the reduction of “pedestrian stops lacking reasonable suspicion by 92 percent, and officer-involved shooting incidents by more than 50 percent” since 2016. However, he acknowledged that the police reforms enacted since 2016 “are not nearly enough.” 

“We will be focused on reconciliation, on understanding, and—most importantly—on engaging and taking appropriate action in response,” Kenney said. “We will embark on a path toward real change in Philadelphia, and hopefully across America. We will seize this moment, and we will move quickly, because too many lives are being lost.”

To read the whole statement detailing all 13 reforms, click here.

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