PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia City Council passed a police reform bill Thursday morning. The bill requires public input and a hearing before the City of Philadelphia approves a new police contract.
The city council passed the bill with a 15-2 vote.
Councilmember Katherine Gilmore Richardson introduced the bill and tells Eyewitness News she hopes it will create a more diverse and equitable police force.
“The bill that I introduced on June 11 will require for the first time ever, in the City of Philadelphia, public input as a part of the police contract negotiation process,” Gilmore Richardson said.
This means that there would be a public hearing as part of the process so people would be able to give their input and the police union contracts wouldn’t be negotiated behind closed doors.
“Typically, the process has been shrouded in secrecy and we have not been able to have citizen input in the process,” Gilmore Richardson said. “I think it’s important to note that the typical process for negotiation of the labor contract with the Fraternal Order of Police consists of the city sending its proposal to the FOP followed by the FOP sending its counter-proposal and if an agreement cannot be reached, the negotiation will go into mandatory arbitration, as required by the State Act 111. This bill would simply require that the public hearing take place 30 days prior to the administration submitting its initial proposal to the FOP.”
Gilmore Richardson says she hopes this bill will bring “transparency and accountability to the process and allow our citizens to have a voice in how we spend over $700 million of our city’s budget.”
CBS3 has reached out to the Fraternal Order of Police for comment regarding the bill, but have yet to hear back.
Gilmore Richardson says she has been in contact with the FOP and they are in opposition of the legislation.
“They are in opposition of this legislation, but it is important to note that we must respond to the calls for reform and change in this moment,” Gilmore Richardson said. “The time for change is now and we must bring transparency and accountability to this process.”
WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE FOR THE FULL INTERVIEW.