As hundreds of people, including public defenders, marched in Philadelphia yesterday, City Councilmembers sent a list of more than a dozen police reforms to Mayor Jim Kenney that focused on changes to the Philadelphia Police Department. Also, Bucks County health officials reported new coronavirus cases that all stemmed from recent Jersey Shore gatherings.
Philadelphia City Council yesterday called on Mayor Jim Kenney to enact 15 specific reforms in the city’s police department. The top issue, Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson said, is “making sure there’s a process in which, when bad cops who are held accountable are fired, they are actually fired.” Johnson’s office drafted the letter.
In Harrisburg, Democrats in the state House blocked a voting session to demand that Republicans take up police reform bills. For years, Democrats have attempted to move police-related legislation, but they have gotten nowhere as a GOP majority controls the agenda.
At least 12 Bucks County residents contracted the coronavirus at recent Jersey Shore gatherings. Each of those gatherings was attended by the same New Jersey resident who had the virus. Officials say the number of cases expected to rise.
The example highlights contract tracing as particularly important as Pennsylvania and other states are loosening coronavirus-related restrictions. Basically, it involves identifying everyone who has recently interacted with someone who has tested positive, warning those people to self-quarantine.
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“Mission-oriented people who are comfortable following and enforcing rules, enjoy solidarity with their peers, and who are trained and socialized by the gatekeepers. In hiring ‘themselves,’ policing as an institution has created a self-perpetuating cycle that values control, enforcement, and authority — over the protection of life — as its primary mission.” — writes Robert J. Kane, a professor and head of Drexel’s department of criminology and justice studies, about how police recruitment needs to change.