A Statement from our Board of Directors – July 2020
Public safety is critical to ALL Philadelphia citizens, businesses and visitors. The Philadelphia Police Foundation was founded in 1998 to provide important support and resources to the Philadelphia Police Department (PPD). We are proud of the work and the mission of the Philadelphia Police Foundation, which is to assist in ensuring that the Police Department is given the opportunity to be highly trained and equipped in order to provide ‘best in class’ public safety services. As a 501c3 non-profit organization whose board is made up entirely of volunteers who give their time, much needed funds, and talent, we help fill the funding gaps for the Department. Our fundraising comes from corporations, private foundations and individuals who share our mission. Many of our donors allocate and restrict their gifts to specific projects and initiatives. As a result of our fundraising efforts, every dollar designated for the PPD is a dollar that the City does not have to expend on the police department which can then be reallocated to other crucial needs within the community.
As an example, because of our commitment to extensive funding of training needs of the Philadelphia Police, we were asked by then-commissioner Charles Ramsey to fund an advanced anti-bias training program (not otherwise covered in the City of Philadelphia’s budget). We funded this training as well as other training and development courses, such as: mandatory trips for all police recruits to the African American History Museum in Washington, DC, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC, and the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. Each of these site training visits is ongoing and accompanied by specific curriculums and instruction from experts at each location. The Foundation also recently funded additional Anti-Bias training led by the National Training Institute on Race and Equity (NTIRE) to further inform and educate police officers about racial, religious, ethnic and socio-economic biases, and how to avoid them in their police work.
Our support extends to a number of additional areas as well, including scholarships supporting children of ages K-12 of slain or injured officers. We also fund police/youth programs in conjunction with the Community Relations Department at the PPD and critical safety and other equipment needs that will save the lives of police officers and the citizens they are called to protect. In 2018, the Foundation was asked by then-Police Commissioner Richard Ross to replace the antiquated long rifles that are needed when the SWAT Unit responds to Active Shooter scenarios, barricaded persons with hostages, and other critical incidents. For example, the SWAT Unit used these rifles when they responded to a barricade situation in North Philadelphia in August of 2019, which lasted 7 hours. Children and neighbors were rescued and no civilians were injured, however 6 officers were shot (thankfully all recovered). The rifles were funded entirely by private, individual donors. This past spring, the Foundation stepped in at a significant cost, to provide 50,000 KN95 masks for officers, when the city struggled to secure them for first responders during the initial stages of the COVID 19 pandemic.
While we are very proud of our work and support of the PPD, recently our board members, staff and donors were targeted, threatened and harassed online by groups and individuals during the ongoing unrest in the City. Thus, as a precaution for their safety, we made an internal decision last month to streamline the information on our website.
We look forward to continuing to work with Commissioner Danielle Outlaw and her leadership team to help the Philadelphia Police Department, through technology software and other means, to attain the principles of the 21st Century Policing created by a task force launched by then-President Barack Obama in 2014. Among other projects, the Philadelphia Police Foundation will help ensure transparency through the purchase of an early warning system to identify police officers who are not following policies and procedures around bias, use of force, and many other factors that violate their oath of office.
The Philadelphia Police Foundation and its Board Members condemn any and all actions taken by any police officer who uses any unnecessary force, expresses any form of racism, discrimination, or otherwise does anything that is against the Oath taken when sworn in to protect and serve. Ultimately, the Foundation strongly believes that the Philadelphia Police Department is one of the most important investments in every community. We will never be a world-class city without being the safest possible city. The cornerstone of this are our men and women in blue - who are proud Philadelphians - who leave their homes each day not knowing if they will return, and do it because they want to protect the city they love and the law-abiding citizens who call Philadelphia home. And the Philadelphia Police Foundation proudly stands with them.
Dear Friends and Supporters,
We write to you today with heavy hearts, and to give voice to our continued feelings of sadness, disbelief and disgust regarding the horrible death of Mr. George Floyd at the hands of four (4) Minneapolis Police Officers. We say four (4) officers, because three officers stood by and watched their colleague take Mr. Floyd’s life over a very painful eight and a half minutes, while Mr. Floyd begged for his life. The delay in charging ex-police officer Derek Chauvin with third degree murder and manslaughter, escalated the violence we are witnessing across the country. We believe the state must also address the actions of the other three officers and charge appropriately. We want justice for George Floyd.
We are also outraged and devastated that great police officers, who put their lives on the line to protect people, are being killed and maimed too in the senseless looting and rioting in our city and the nation. The horrendous actions of a small percentage in police departments, disgrace ALL police officers and police departments across our country. The Philadelphia Police Department (PPD) was hit with rocks / bottles / chemicals / urine / bricks these past several days as our city gets torn apart. One officer was intentionally run over by an SUV. It sickens us. We support Philadelphia Police - over 6,000 men and women from every racial background -- purposely standing in harms way day after day. Despised by so many, not due to anything they did personally, but due to the actions of a few rogue law enforcement officers across the country. Philadelphia Police Officers have saved lives, rescued lives, protected lives, and will continue to do so, despite being spit on and hated.
We believe changes are needed. Police Executives MUST ensure that the hiring, retention, discipline, and ultimately dismissal processes are fair and swift. And it is paramount that all police departments receive on-going Diversity and Bias Training. This training must be internalized and practiced everyday by every police officer. Starting with former Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey and continuing under Commissioner Danielle Outlaw, the Philadelphia Police Foundation (PPF) financially supports the Departments mission to train all Philadelphia Police Officers, from recruits up to the Commissioner, on recognition of Bias and Diversity Training, as well as Leadership and Succession Training.
Policing must “get it right” in recognizing police personnel who are not fit to serve our communities. These individuals do not deserve to wear the badge. Thank you for all you do to support the mission of the Philadelphia Police Foundation as a Force Behind the Shield in helping the Philadelphia Police Department deliver “HONOR, SERVICE AND INTEGRITY” to the citizens of this city.
We pray for the safety of the Philadelphia Police Department and we pray for justice and peace here and nationwide.
The Philadelphia Police Foundation