Philadelphia, May 22, 2019 – Council President Darrell L. Clarke (5th District) on Wednesday issued the following statement on voter approval of Ballot Question 4 authorizing Public Safety Enforcement Officers:
“After years of building consensus with stakeholders, City Council moved toward the creation of a new class of civilian safety officers out of a sense of urgency about increasing violent crime and traffic incidents in Philadelphia. We simply cannot accept three hundred-plus homicides annually as our new normal. I’m thankful that voters agree, and that Ballot Question 4 was approved decisively.
“Now comes the harder work, which will largely fall to the Administration, of developing this new class of officers. Mayor Kenney’s administration has indicated it will take a collaborative approach involving all major stakeholders — such as the Philadelphia Police Department, Department of Licenses and Inspections, the Philadelphia Parking Authority, SEPTA, and transportation safety advocates. Regardless of the November general election outcome for Council and Mayor, the will of voters expressed yesterday must be honored.
“New housing starts and cranes in the sky tell only part of Philadelphia’s story: Too many people here are unsafe during their bike to work, their walk to school, or on their own block. Our brave and dedicated police officers deserve all necessary resources to focus on violent crime without being stretched because of worsening traffic congestion. Our hope that Public Safety Enforcement Officers will empower police to reduce serious crime while enhancing the quality of life in neighborhoods is shared by a broad coalition of supporters that includes the PPD, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, the Center City District, and the Pennsylvania AARP.
“One preventable death is too many, and we are approaching truly alarming rates of both homicides and pedestrian fatalities. I look forward to working with our government and community partners toward a safer Philly for everyone.”
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Darrell L. Clarke represents the 5th Council District and serves as President of Philadelphia City Council, the 17-member legislative body of Philadelphia City government. A lifelong resident of North Philadelphia and an equitable housing and public education advocate, Council President Clarke works to ensure that every neighborhood in Philadelphia is a community of choice.
Photo: New York Police Department