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Board of Commissioners Issues Statement on Racial, Gender and Social Injustice
Posted on Wednesday June 24, 2020
The Cheltenham Township Board of Commissioners has issued a statement on Racial, Gender and Social Injustice.

June 24, 2020

A Statement from the Cheltenham Township Board of Commissioners on
Racial, Gender and Social Injustice

The publicized actions of the last several weeks have yet again shone a light on the systemic racial, gender and social injustice that has impacted the daily lives of people of color, indigenous populations or those with alternative orientations, in our nation since its inception. As these vital issues have risen to the top of the community's public conscience, our residents have rightly inquired about how Cheltenham Township is actively fighting against racism and promoting racial tolerance.

The Cheltenham Township Board of Commissioners acknowledges the Township's critical role in promoting both equity and equality, supporting all areas of justice and working to positively impact the lives of all of our tax payers, institutions and visitors. The Board renews our long-standing commitment to these principles.

The Board has tasked our Human Relations Committee with continuing the hard conversations necessary to improve racial, gender and social justice within our community. The areas of focus for this Committee are employee recruitment, review of Township policies which includes contracting with minority-owned businesses, community outreach and improving information availability and educational opportunities.

The Board acknowledges that it does not have all the answers to these important and difficult questions. As we proceed with this long-term work, we will look to our residents to continue to help guide us. We invite you to participate as you are able, by attending our regular meetings, participating on committees, contributing to community conversations, or by sending your comments/suggestions to the Board. It is also important to acknowledge the struggle with recruiting black law enforcement officers and we value and welcome any community assistance in these efforts.

To this end, specific actions the Board of Commissioners has undertaken with the Cheltenham Township Police Department (CTPD) include ways to ensure the level of professionalism within the Department remains at the highest levels, and that CTPD continues to build upon the broad base of community trust that it has worked to earn over the years.

During our recent Public Safety Meeting, Chief John Frye reported that as part of the standards required for this Department to receive its special status of official Police Accreditation, Cheltenham Police officers receive ongoing training in de-escalation, community-based policing, implicit bias, and the use of force, among other professionally-recognized Best Practices. Chief Frye presented the plan to obtain and equip CTPD officers with body cameras within the next year

After years of efforts to improve recruitment of officers from underrepresented communities, the Township recently put additional measures in place to achieve this goal. The Board is working with the Police Department to continue community engagement to obtain feedback for areas of improvement.

The Board of Commissioners is committed to build on Cheltenham’s rich historical legacy as a seat of the Abolitionist movement, a station on the Underground Railroad, the site of Camp William Penn, and as a diverse, integrated residential community.

The Board will continue to focus on the fights against racism and gender bias, as we and our Township Staff Leadership pledge to continue the work which hopes to strengthen Cheltenham Township's reputation for multi-cultural sensitivity, gender inclusiveness and a commitment to do our best on behalf of our residents and taxpayers.

So say us all,

Daniel B. Norris, Board President
Baron Holland, Vice President
Ann Rappoport, Commissioner

Irv Brockington, Commissioner
Brad Pransky, Commissioner
Mitchell Zygmund-Felt, Commissioner
Matthew Areman, Commissioner

Cheltenham Township   ~   8230 Old York Road   ~   Elkins Park, PA 19027
Hours: Monday-Friday, 8AM-4:30PM
Phone: 215-887-1000   ~   Fax: 215-887-1561
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