Philadelphia City Council

Philly City Council Introduces Police Reform Legislation

An initial package of reforms for the city police department was introduced Thursday.

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Philadelphia City Council introduced legislation Thursday that would reform the police department, including banning certain physical tactics and add civilian oversight to misconduct claims and union contracts.

The legislation would also require police recruits to live in Philadelphia for at least one year prior to entering the training academy. A ban on chokeholds and other aggressive arrest techniques would also go into effect if legislation is approved.

A final vote on four separate ordinances could come as early as next week.

"The police policing the citizens of Philadelphia should be residents of Philadelphia,” Councilwoman Cherelle Parker said. “Their salaries are paid by city taxpayers. ... This reform will build more of a connection with those they are sworn to safeguard."

Fourteen of the 17 City Council members wrote a letter to Mayor Jim Kenney on Monday recommending 15 new policies to reform the police department on the heels of mass protests in Philadelphia and across the country over the last week. The protests came in response to the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died following an arrest in Minneapolis.

Kenney, along with Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw, in turn announced 29 reforms that his administration will push for at both the city and state levels.

The legislation introduced Thursday includes:

  • Longer residency requirements for police recruits
  • Charter amendment establishing Civilian Oversight Commission: Requires approval by Council and a referendum on the November ballot. Specific funding levels for the new commission was not detailed Thursday.
  • Creation of a a public hearing process prior to collective bargaining agreements between the City of Philadelphia and the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 union.
  • A ban on the "use of restraints or other physical contact that present a substantial risk of asphyxiation may not be used by a peace officer to detain a person. Prohibited restraints include chokeholds, hogtying, placement of body weight on the head, face, neck, chest or back.

On Thursday, District Attorney Larry Krasner said any protest-related crimes or police misconduct could be reported to his Special Investigations Unit at (215)686-9608 or

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