Allentown city leaders commit to creating more dialogue around policing

Written by on August 13, 2020

Allentown city leaders commit to creating more dialogue around policing

By Tyler Pratt

August 13, 2020

Protests have been organized multiple times in the last few months in response to the Allentown City Council discussing police reform. Photo: Ben Stemrich

Allentown City Council leaders made a commitment Wednesday night to create a dialogue on policing in the community. The city will examine police operations, create a citizen review board, and then discuss the future of law enforcement in the community. 

It comes after months of protests demanding changes to policing. WLVR’s Tyler Pratt reports.

There were no major policy changes at last night’s meeting, but it opens the door for the council to officially discuss policing – and options like requiring law enforcement performance reports and examining what other cities are doing.

CeCe Gerlach sponsored the resolution.

“For us to be members of a legislative body where most people are people of color in the city and not have this convo regardless of how we feel about it we would not be doing our citizen justice.”

All of the councilmembers signed on to the plan, but some like Ed Zucal had reservations about being too critical of Allentown’s law enforcement. 

“Police officers need as much as we need some change – so unless you want a city that is going to be in complete chaos i think you better start supporting police,” said Zucal.

This fall the council is expected to review the findings and decide on any changes it wants to make. Hot button issues like requiring the release of body camera footage and banning no-knock warrants may be left, state lawmakers. 

Read WLVR’s coverage of recent protesters clashing in Allentown, other recent protests, as well as coverage on Allentown City Council’s response on police reform.

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