What’s up in Allentown these days?

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Gadfly likes to keep an eye on what’s going on in Allentown. Been rocky there. But they have agreed to move forward to continue to talk about, to research some very significant issues.

Such as, for example, a citizen advisory board, availability of body camera footage, and, most importantly, in regard to what we’ve been discussing here on Gadfly lately, reconsidering how public safety is funded.

City of Allentown Resolution

from Andrew Wagaman, “Most of Allentown City Council supports latest resolution on police reforms. Here’s what it says.” Morning Call, August 11, 2020.

By voting for the resolution, council members voice support for:

  • Potentially creating a citizens advisory board for the police force.
  • Recommending the police department revise its use of force policy so officers are required to intervene to stop excessive use of force.
  • Prioritizing departmental spending on de-escalation training and implicit bias training.
  • A “public discussion” with city and police administrators on requiring police to present biannual performance reports to City Council on a variety of data, including use of force incidents.
  • Further consideration of legislation mandating community meetings following use of force incidents.

The updated resolution directs City Clerk Mike Hanlon to basically complete a research project by October on police reform efforts in Harrisburg related to:

  • Requiring body camera footage be made available to the public.
  • Requiring the state attorney general’s office or another third party to investigate all misuse of force allegations.
  • Requiring a shared statewide database of municipal use of force policies.
  • Banning stop and frisk and no knock warrants, and requiring statewide reporting of such incidents.

Next, the resolution authorizes city solicitor Matthew Kloiber and his staff to review — upon the subsequent request of at least two council members — the legality of:

  • Requiring the police department to place officers on administrative leave when they’re being investigated for misuse of force.
  • Punishing police officers, up to and including termination, for failing to use body cameras.

The final section of the updated resolution takes a different approach to reconsidering how public safety is funded.

Rather than specifically calling for the divestment of the police department’s budget, the updated resolution strives to tackle the broader issue of “priority budgeting and allocation of resources as they relate to community needs.” Council also promises to meet with “appropriate agencies and stakeholders” throughout the process.

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