Pennsylvania Gov. Wolf’s Action on Law Enforcement Reform Receives Praise

Pennsylvania Gov. Wolf’s Action on Law Enforcement Reform Receives Praise

(STL.News) –  Governor Tom Wolf received praise for several actions he announced last week to create meaningful reform to law enforcement and other areas to end injustice and systemic racism.  Several of the actions, which include strengthening oversight, training, and accountability, are based on the 21st Century Policing Task Force, created in 2015 under President Barack Obama.

“Our commonwealth was born out of a holy experiment to create a place where all people are equally welcome without fear of persecution,” said Gov. Wolf. “These changes are steps toward fulfilling that vision.  I will continue to work with the legislature to identify and take further action to eliminate inequality and injustice.”

Congressman Dwight Evans
“I appreciate Governor Wolf’s leadership and urgency on vital reforms to policing, something I’ve advocated for a long time.  Some reforms will require action from the state legislature, and I hope the recently announced special session will result in real reforms passing and going to the governor’s desk.  In Congress, I and several Pennsylvania colleagues will keep pushing for federal-level reforms such as the bold Justice in Policing Act that we unveiled this week.”

Rep.  Donna Bullock
“Governor Wolf understood that our proposals aren’t just about the legislative agenda of our work group.   These proposals represent the prayers of Black mothers and fathers, the hopes of our children, and the voices of Pennsylvanians demanding change.  He listened, he heard, and he took the first steps to respond.”

Rep. Jake Wheatley
“I appreciate the governor’s willingness to work with members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus on several measures related to police reforms, including evaluating the certification and decertification of police officers, providing detailed records related to an officer leaving his or her job, and the appointment of a special prosecutor in deadly force cases.  Working together, I am confident we will make significant, lasting changes to make our state fairer and more equal to all of our citizens.”

Charles Ramsey, Chair, Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency
“As the co-chair of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, I am excited that Governor Wolf is utilizing our report as a road map for reforms for Pennsylvania.  Far too often, good reports languish on shelves and are not used for action.  I look forward to working with all stakeholders in taking up the proposed recommendations the governor has put forth and making them a reality.”

Donavan S.  West, President and CEO, African American Chamber of Commerce of PA
“Governor Wolf’s proposal is a step in the right direction.  We have to assess the recruitment, training, and performance systems in place while also taking inventory of the culture, performance and leadership responsible for a district’s impact on the community.  We’re hopeful that with sincere strides towards greater community inclusion and a commitment to continuous improvement; this can be a promising model for reform for others to emulate.”

Dr.  Hasshan Batts, Executive Director, Promise Neighborhoods of Allentown
“I appreciate that the governor’s reform recommendations enhance officer accountability, departmental support and technical assistance to municipalities while being centered in the voices, experiences, safety and leadership of communities of color.”

Brandi S.  Fisher, President/CEO, Alliance for Police Accountability
“It is great that our governor sees a need to act when it comes to the way policing is conducted in Pennsylvania.  Asking the police to police themselves has proven to be an inappropriate measure to prevent abuse.  It is pivotal that the governor turns his focus toward supporting independent bodies to review police conduct. This ‘immediate effort’ is a major necessity and very much aligned with what many grassroots advocates are pushing for across the nation.

“We have attempted to provide police officers with the adequate training to deliver safe protective services for many years.  It has yet to be proven effective in preventing the murder and abuse of citizens.  The police do not need more training.  We need transformative change: Eradicate qualified immunity, remove police from schools, support HB 1664 to amend the Use of Force Law, reduce funding to many and eliminate funding to other departments, and, lastly, reallocate those funds to decimate the very root cause of most of the social ills today… poverty.”

Kevin Harden Jr. Esq., Member, Police Reform Working Group
“As a Black person, attorney, parent, and member of a community personally affected by the disparities in the criminal justice system and unchecked police violence, I thank Governor Wolf for his swift endorsement of the Police Reform Working Group’s proposals.  The endorsement of these proposals is long overdue, and we look forward to the governor’s continued action on forthcoming proposals related to the protection and support of Black lives and communities.”

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