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The original item was published from 6/18/2020 10:55:00 AM to 6/18/2020 10:59:01 AM.

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Posted on: June 18, 2020

[ARCHIVED] Board to Discuss Township's Role in Ending Systemic Racism

The West Whiteland Board of Supervisors shares the public revulsion at the tragic killings of George Floyd, Breanna Taylor, and far too many other Black people at the hands of police officers. We recognize that we are at a moment when we can lead the effort toward ending the systemic racism in this country and we are committed to doing what we can toward that end.

We believe we have a good police department here in West Whiteland and we want to work together to make sure it keeps getting better. No West Whiteland police officer has ever killed anyone, of any race, and we hope to keep it that way. Our police department strives to fulfill its mission: to work with the citizens of West Whiteland Township, to deliver essential services, to preserve peace and order, to reduce crime and its effects, to aid traffic safety and to protect the constitutional rights of all persons.

In 2018, West Whiteland’s police department became accredited by the Pennsylvania Law Enforcement Accreditation Commission . To achieve and maintain that recognition, the department must document adherence to best practices in law enforcement. Our new police chief, Lee Benson, is a leader in Pennsylvania in the effort to instill high law enforcement standards through accreditation and a strong supporter of the 21st Century Policing Report. With the support of the Board of Supervisors and Township Manager, he will ensure its provisions are adopted and become a part of the culture at the West Whiteland Police Department.

Local township governments in Pennsylvania are different from many cities, including Philadelphia, in that we do not provide any social services; instead those services are provided by county government, which is a completely separate entity, and funded by the state and federal governments. However, West Whiteland Township has a close working relationship with Chester County government. We are going to reexamine data to identify areas where police calls indicate unmet need for social services such as treatment for mental health and drug/alcohol addiction. We will share that data with the County and advocate for additional and/or more targeted funding to get people the help they need.

The Board of Supervisors will be discussing this topic more at our next public Board of Supervisors meeting on June 24th at 6:30 p.m. The public is encouraged to join that meeting virtually - Zoom meeting link BOS 6/24

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