The City's Current Contract with the FOP Must Go! We Need #CommunityControlNow

Mayor Jim Kenney

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For decades, the Philadelphia Police Department (PPD) has served as an occupying force meant to surveil, harass, displace, and incarcerate the Black and Latinx communities of Philadelphia. Instead of making our communities safer, the impact of PPD has left our communities grieving. Much of the resources available to the PPD have been obtained because of the amount of power the Fraternal Order of Police has. The FOP gets most of its power by exploiting state-level legislation, but it's also powerful because of the political cowardice of our locally elected officials. For too long, the PPD has been able to negotiate for more resources and more limited disciplinary procedures, emboldening police officers to perpetuate violence in our communities and even within their ranks. The current FOP contract outlines forms of police violence that City leadership is willing to accept in the name of “public safety”. We say NO MORE. The existing contract was set to expire on June 30th; the Mayor decided to grant an extension through the end of the year instead of negotiating new contract terms, we can only speculate as to why.

Our ultimate goal is the abolition of police, prisons, and state surveillance; these demands are meant to reduce harm perpetrated by police and the FOP against Philadelphia’s Black and Brown communities. As we fight to defund and dismantle the PPD, we must create stronger processes for holding police accountable.

We need increased transparency. In order to hold the police accountable, the people of Philadelphia must be able to obtain information about the relationship between the City and the PPD and about officer behavior, discipline, and compensation. The current contract impedes the ability of Philadelphians and civilian oversight bodies to obtain this information.

We need to see swift and strict discipline. The system of discipline outlined in the Discipline Code calls for little to no consequences for severe offenses and allows each officer’s disciplinary record to be erased after a short period of time. It fails to provide any meaningful accountability. It explicitly says that cops will not be fired for taking bribes and committing felonies. Officers are punished more severely for abusing a fellow officer than they are for a civilian. For example, jeopardizing prisoner safety comes with a light penalty while speaking profanely to a senior officer carries the penalty of dismissal.

We need to divest. The budget of the PPD is almost 15% of the budget for the City of Philadelphia. Police should not continue to receive disproportionate benefits compared to other city employees.

We need to End the Use of Arbitration to Evade Discipline. Act 111 created an arbitration process that allows police officers to evade discipline on the local level. As we fight to repeal Act 111 at the state level, we demand that all complaints against officers be handled by the Police Advisory Commission, and any future oversight boards. Decisions made by the PAC, or future oversight boards, will be binding.

To read our full list of demands, check out our Blog post. A team of researchers combed through the contract to identify specific items that limit our ability to access information, hold police accountable, and defund the PPD.

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Philadelphia, PA

To: Mayor Jim Kenney
From: Tim Brown

For decades, the Philadelphia Police Department has served as an occupying force meant to surveil, harass, displace, and incarcerate the Black and Latinx communities of Philadelphia. Instead of making our communities safer, the impact of PPD has left our communities grieving. Now is the time to hold the police accountable and negotiate a contract that limits excessive funding and establish a stronger Disciplinary Code.

Black and Brown residents - and all Philadelphians - are counting on you to renegotiate the FOP contract in a way that reflects our collective concerns.

The negotiation process must be transparent, so that the public can be confident that you are serious about police accountability. The contract must provide for strict and swift discipline of police officers for wrongdoing. The contract must reduce the inflated budget the police department has enjoyed for far too long. The contract must end the use of arbitration for grievances related to discipline.

We are counting on you to make these changes, so that we can create safer communities.

Thank you,