Bethlehem releases police use-of-force policy, Allentown delays

Written by on June 19, 2020

Bethlehem releases police use-of-force policy, Allentown delays

By Tyler Pratt

June 19, 2020

Calls for reforms to policing continue across the U.S. In the Lehigh Valley citizens are demanding that departments release their use-of-force policies. As WLVR’s Tyler Pratt reports, Bethlehem released its policy this week. But Allentown officials are taking more time.

In Allentown Wednesday night, the council heard from many people asking the police department to share the policy. Council President Daryl Hendricks said he believed the department is at the forefront of policing reforms.

“I understand that possibly within the next week or so the use-of-force policy may be reviewed and released by the city – that will be up to be the mayor and of course only after review by our solicitor’s office,” said Henricks.

Allentown’s mayor says he’ll make a presentation this summer, but groups like Black Lives Matter want it now.

One focus – the so-called “8 can’t wait” reforms – which bans chokeholds and changing reporting systems for use of force incidents. The police chief has said Allentown’s policy includes those provisions. 

Bethlehem was the first in the valley to post a police use-of-force policy. The 12-page unredacted document on the city’s website shows how it defines force from police and resistance by civilians and protocols like pressure point control tactics where officers may kneel on your back, but not your neck, as in George Floyd’s case. 


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