Philadelphia, PA – City Councilmember Curtis Jones, Jr. (4th District) introduced legislation today in City Council repealing Chapter 21-1200 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled “Police Advisory Board,” and replacing it with a new Chapter 21-1200 that reconstitutes and renames the board as the “Citizens Police Oversight Commission.”
The new independent Citizens Police Oversight Commission will be bold and reflective of the geographic and population diversity of the city and designed in a way that answers the demands of the community.
The powers and the duties of the new Commission will be expanded, which up until now, the Police Advisory Board has operated solely to advise on the Philadelphia Police Department’s Policies and Procedures.
The Commission will have the authority to issue subpoenas to compel witness testimony or documents for investigations, retain their own Chief Counsel separate from the City of Philadelphia’s Law Department, and make disciplinary and policy recommendations to the Police Administration.
They will receive and investigate all citizens’ complaints against police and will have the ability to receive and investigate in limited circumstances complaints that police department employees make against a fellow officer.
In addition to citizens’ complaints, the Commission will be investigating all incidences when an officer discharges a firearm and all incidences where someone dies or is seriously injured during a police interaction. They will have direct access to crime scene interviews and investigatory files, which is subject to applicable state law.
The Commission will operate in a transparent manner by posting detailed information regarding complaints, investigations, and reports for the public to access on their website as well as having the authority to enforce strong penalties for any employee, department, or agency of the city who refuses to cooperate or relays false information to the Commission.
A selection panel will be formed to solicit applications from members of the public who are interested in serving on the new commission.
Majority Whip, Councilmember Curtis Jones, Jr., “thanks the more than 500 thousand voters who voted affirmatively to establish the commission and all the stakeholders, who gave input on this Ordinance to establish an independent Citizens Police Oversight Commission, especially Samantha Williams, Esq. of my staff, who worked diligently on this legislation.”
Councilmember Jones, states “the purpose of the Citizens Police Oversight Commission Legislation is three-fold – to restore public confidence, to provide a fair and equitable process of citizens’ complaints, and to create better police community interactions.”
“This legislation is a result of months of hard work to answer the call of our residents across Philadelphia to create a commission that will increase police oversight and transparency. The legislation is a good starting point, and I look forward to working with Councilmember Jones in the time ahead to create a vigorous, fair commission with real teeth to conduct appropriate oversight of the department” said Council President Darrell L. Clarke (5th District).
Read the legislation: CPOCJonesV2 Final Format