The Lead

Philly Council approves bill allowing ticketing, towing of abandoned vehicles

By: - May 23, 2022 11:18 am

“Public Safety Enforcement Officers are one more tool in the toolkit that we need to use as we work together and act comprehensively to address and reduce gun violence in our communities,” Philadelphia City Council President Darrell Clarke said (Philadelphia City Council Flickr/The Philadelphia Tribune).

By Brian Saunders

PHILADELPHIA — Philadelphia City Council has approved a bill on behalf of Council President Darrell Clarke, D-5th District, allowing Public Safety Enforcement officers to ticket and tow abandoned cars on the city’s streets.

Philadelphia Police will no longer have to enforce these violations under this legislation. The safety enforcement officers were advocated for by City Council and are funded through the city’s budget.

“The PPA is open to working with the city on the issue of abandoned vehicles, as well as any other public safety or quality of life issue the city deems appropriate,” said Martin O’Rourke, a spokesperson for the Philadelphia Parking Authority.

Council has allocated $1.25 million under the current budget to fill 28 positions for Public Safety Enforcement officers.

“We need Public Safety Enforcement officers on the job in Philadelphia — and we need them today,” said Clarke. “With gun violence remaining at high levels, we need every available police officer on the streets, fighting crime and acting to prevent gun violence. Abandoned cars are a blight in too many neighborhoods and can lead to a climate of disorder than breeds crime. Communities deserve better, and Public Safety Enforcement officers can play a real role in getting these blights off the streets — and freeing up police to do more proactive violence reduction work.”

Currently, no safety enforcement officers have been hired. However, during budget hearings, the Managing Directors’ office has maintained that it will prioritize hiring these officers after coming to a comprise with the Fraternal Order of Police, which is claiming these jobs would take the place of their bargained-for job classifications.

“Public Safety Enforcement Officers are one more tool in the toolkit that we need to use as we work together and act comprehensively to address and reduce gun violence in our communities,” Clarke said.

City Council has funded several resources recently in response to safety in the city.

Brian Saunders is a reporter for the Philadelphia Tribune, where this story first appeared

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