New Philly police contract brings more of the same and little reform

The new police contract is done. It was written by a panel of arbitrators, not by the city, which is strange, since the people who pay contracts are usually the ones who write them. But that’s not the way it works with police. In truth, nothing works normally with police.


The city wanted all cops to live in the city like other municipal workers. The arbitrators said no. The city wanted to eliminate the broad range of punishment for some offenses. The arbitrators said no. What they did allow was a big raise and a one-time bonus for officers, which is cool for the ones who actually protect and serve. Not so good for those who don’t.


The contract does make a few changes in disciplinary procedures, including stronger penalties for several offenses, an increase in the amount of time a penalty stays on an officer’s record, and a few new offenses, including a ban on hanging out with hate groups.


There’s a new arbitration board, too, which will include a civilian along with some cops to pass judgment on those accused of violations. We’ll see how that actually works. But I know how things work now, and not much of it is going to change.


When cops hurt people and get sued, the money will still come from taxpayers. When cops are fired for their misdeeds, they’ll still be able to get their jobs back during secret arbitration sessions that are hidden from the public until they’re over.


Bottom line? Policing is a system. And though there are good people who work in it, that system is not designed for our good. It’s there to keep our people in their place. Until we rise as one to say that system works for us, don’t depend on a contract to change it.
Photo: Philadelphia Highway Patrol By. VisualSense

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