The Philadelphia Police Advisory Commission (P.A.C.) is the official civilian oversight agency of the city of Philadelphia for the Philadelphia Police Department. The general mission of the commission is to improve the relationship betwen the police department and the community. The commission, in diversity of composition and in its functioning, is intended to represent the external point of view of the Philadelphia citizenry. However, the commission does not have full time Spanish speaking staff to interview or interpret for Spanish speaking American complainants/victims of police abuse. Having a Latino representative for the third largest population in the city will enhance the P.A.C. because the community will identify and feel that they have a better opportunity to access the resources they need, as it relates to the P.A.C. Please sign the following petition and urge the Mayor and the members of Philadelphia City Council to make the P.A.C. fully accesible to the Latino citizenry of Philadelphia.
On October of 2010, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey testified before City Council to address current issues of reported misconduct against police officers. In his address to City Council, the Commissioner reported that the city police implemented several measures that would allow citizens and police officers to submit complaints, to him, about police misconduct - a well-intentioned commitment on the part of the Commissioner. However, Latin-Americans who cannot communicate fluently in English are still not encouraged to submit legitimate complaints against police abuse.
In November of 2010 it was evident when approximately 100 community members showed up to a P.A.C. meeting demanding that they receive help in dealing with their fragile relationship with the Police community. A couple of the P.A.C. commissioners had to serve double-duty, as commissioners and as interpreters, because the commission had no interpreters, not even for special events.
The official website of the P.A.C. (www.phila.gov/pac) states that, “The Police Advisory Commission is the official civilian oversight agency of the City of Philadelphia for the Philadelphia Police Department. The general mission of the Commission is to improve the relationship between the police department and the community. The Commission, in its diversity of composition and in its functioning, is intended to represent the external point of view of the Philadelphia citizenry”
Here are some Facts:
In 2011, the Philadelphia Latino population has grown by over 50,000.
According to the 2000 census, Philadelphia boasts a populace of over 1.5 million people.
The Latino community represents 12.5% of the Philadelphia population, 3rd largest.
80% of the Latino Population are Puerto Ricans [almost 188,000 in 2011] all of which are American-born.
3.5 million Island-born Americans grow up speaking predominantly Spanish.
We have no Spanish-speaking staff to interview or interpret for our Spanish-speaking American complainants/victims. Having a Latino representative will enhance the PAC because the community will identify and feel that they have a better opportunity to access the resources they need, as it relates to the PAC.
Your role as an elected official is critical in helping the P.A.C achieve its mission, trying to fully represent the citizenry of Philadelphia by supporting the initiative to hire a Spanish-speaking investigator and interpreter.