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May 21, 2019

Philly voters OK hiring of 'public safety enforcement officers' to help police

Elections Ballot Questions
Carroll - Broad Street rush hour traffic and pedestrians Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

North Broad Street in Center City during evening rush hour.

Philadelphia police will soon get help with enforcement of traffic regulations and quality of life laws in city neighborhoods.

Voters on Tuesday approved an amendment to the city's Home Rule Charter to hire a still-to-be determined number of "public safety enforcement officers." The new officers would not be authorized to carry guns or make arrests.

The measure passed with about 67 percent of the vote, with 70 percent of the vote counted, according to unofficial tallies.

The city managing director or City Council would decide how many of the officers are hired, with the managing director deciding in which departments they would work.

Three other ballot questions also received overwhelming support from voters to:

• Amend the City Charter to change gender-specific references ("councilman,” and “Councilmanic,” for example) to gender neutral references (such as “councilmember” and “Council”) for people elected to City Council.

• Formally and permanently change the City Charter to create an Office of Immigrant Affairs to develop city policies on issues affecting immigrant communities; help city agencies make it easier for non-English speakers to use city services and work to ensure that immigrants are treated fairly by all city agencies and employees. (The office was first established by former Mayor Michael Nutter by executive order and remains open under the Kenney Administration.) 

• Amend the City Charter to ask the state legislature to either raise the minimum wage for the entire state, or allow Philadelphia to raise the minimum wage in the city. The goal would be to raise the wage from $7.25 an hour to $15 an hour, over the next six years.

All registered voters in the city – whatever their party registration – were able to vote on the questions.