The Philadelphia Police Department will soon have an extra layer of oversight after Mayor Jim Kenney signed an executive order Friday reinstating the Police Advisory Commission (PAC). It will comprise 13 members and focus on policy review, community outreach and investigations.
"Today, we are reaffirming the city’s commitment to strengthening police-community relations through openness, responsibility and accountability," the mayor said in a prepared statement.
"I have faith that the commission will serve as a valuable tool in furthering the good work already being done ... to protect and serve all Philadelphians, regardless of race, sexual orientation, religion, gender, age or zip code."
A major focus of the PAC will be issuing periodic reviews to ensure the police department is properly implementing recommendations set by the White House in 2015 following several high-profile, police-involved shootings, some of which caused national outrage and exacerbated tensions between law enforcement officials and the communities they served.
To help reduce these kinds incidents, the commission will have the power to subpoena and conduct investigations. It will issue an annual public report setting out recommendations from the preceding year and highlighting departmental accomplishments.
The Democratic mayor will appoint the 13 members this spring based on recommendations from city council, law enforcement agencies and the Office of Black Male Engagement, the Office of LGBT Affairs and the Commission on Human Relations, among other local agencies.
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"This is an efficient way to keep the needle moving of the right direction with the implementation of community policing," said Councilman Curtis Jones. "I look forward to working with the commission’s members."