Close Subscribe

Get the Weekly Recap!!

Get recaps, exclusive offers, stories and discounts. We’ll never share your email address and you can opt out at any time, we promise.
Kenney’s $14 million Police dept. increase shut down after weeks of protests
Opinion

Kenney’s $14 million Police dept. increase shut down after weeks of protests

The city hasn’t announced where the $14 million will go. But how could those dollars make a safer, more sustainable city?

“Philadelphia can’t breathe…” reads the opening line of the city council’s letter to Mayor Kenney this past Monday, informing him that they would not be following through with the proposed increase in spending for Philly’s police department after another day of hearings.

The following day – after over 1000 public testimonies – Kenney released a statement that the city is axing his proposed 14 million dollar increase. The increase would have brought the police department’s overall budget up to about $760 million. Almost a billion-dollar budget. Since Kenney’s first year in office, the PD’s spending has increased by about $120 million while the city hasn’t necessarily gotten safer.


While crime is a serious issue plaguing our city, further fattening an already bloated PD budget does not directly work to mitigate or prevent that. Community members get this, city council members get this, so why is it so hard to get the funding to the right places?

How does a city have an additional $14 million dollars to pour into the police when we just pulled Philly kids out of asbestos-filled classrooms? Or found it feasible to slash positions like the zero waste and litter cabinet, when the city’s 311 nonemergency line receives over 200,000 requests a year regarding illegal dumping and rubbish collection? Trash flows indiscriminately in our Schuylkill River, drinking water for many residents.

It’s alarming how disposable the very services and programs that enrich our communities and make them structurally safer and sustainable are always first up on the spending chopping block. Is it more useful to try to extinguish a fire or not set the candles next to the curtains in the first place? Take our parks and rec budget, which is currently subjected to an 18% cut, while green spaces and parks have been shown study after study, city after city, to reduce violent crimes.

Essentially, we need to ask the officials appointed to serve us if it makes more sense to invest most of a poverty-stricken city’s funding into heavy policing and punishment OR prevention and sustainability.

The mayor’s office has not released details regarding how that proposed $14 million will be reallocated. According to the press office, it will be determined in the next two weeks as the administration works with the City Council towards a final budget. They plan to assess the demands made by protesters, elected officials, community organizations, and others.

 So, what did the Mayor’s statement say?

In his statement, Kenney notes that while the Police Department has made progress, it is clear there is much more work to commit to, which has been made indisputably clear by the unrelenting protests in Philly and across the country, catalyzed by the killing of George Floyd, demanding action and change. Kenney states, “I stand with those who have taken to the streets of Philadelphia to express their outrage and demand changes to policing…. This past weekend, thousands of individuals gathered to once again make their voices heard through protest. We want members of our Black community to know we hear you and we feel the pain you are sharing with us.”

The sentiment is appreciated but confusing, considering that Kenney approved the use of tear gas on peaceful protestors.

The most substantial part of the statement is the list of reforms and policies to be incorporated into the department. Short and long term goals include:

  • Alterations to current ‘use of deadly force’ state laws, police contracts (which would re-require new cops to be Philly residents…. wait they weren’t all before?),
  • Plans to create a permanent civilian ‘Police Oversight Commission’ which is supposed to replace the advisory commission currently overseeing the dept.
  • More transparency in regard to internal affairs and complaints, and the creation of new positions solely focused on eliminating brutality, misconduct, and equity which is supposed to be able to spot red flags by a potentially dangerous officer and increasing the department’s diversity overall.

You can look over the full statement here. One caveat is that state legislation dictates much of local law enforcement.

Time always tells, but can we afford to wait?

Featured photo by Ryan Kosmides on Unsplash

Become a Supporter!

If you love what we do you can support our mission with a one-time or monthly contribution.
array(2) {
  [0]=>
  object(WP_Term)#5507 (10) {
    ["term_id"]=>
    int(2994)
    ["name"]=>
    string(20) "City of Philadelphia"
    ["slug"]=>
    string(20) "city-of-philadelphia"
    ["term_group"]=>
    int(0)
    ["term_taxonomy_id"]=>
    int(3008)
    ["taxonomy"]=>
    string(8) "post_tag"
    ["description"]=>
    string(0) ""
    ["parent"]=>
    int(0)
    ["count"]=>
    int(10)
    ["filter"]=>
    string(3) "raw"
  }
  [1]=>
  object(WP_Term)#5509 (10) {
    ["term_id"]=>
    int(3862)
    ["name"]=>
    string(19) "Philadelphia budget"
    ["slug"]=>
    string(19) "philadelphia-budget"
    ["term_group"]=>
    int(0)
    ["term_taxonomy_id"]=>
    int(3870)
    ["taxonomy"]=>
    string(8) "post_tag"
    ["description"]=>
    string(0) ""
    ["parent"]=>
    int(0)
    ["count"]=>
    int(1)
    ["filter"]=>
    string(3) "raw"
  }
}
Jada Ackley
Jada is a senior Environmental Studies major at Temple University with a minor in City and Regional Planning. Currently Jada is an Editorial Intern at Green Philly. Her Interests includes enjoying nature and advocating for sustainability! View all posts by Jada Ackley

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Green Philly

Featured
In These
Great Spots: