Senator Tom Killion (R-Chester and Delaware) and entrepreneur and community activist Jim Turner, a member of the ministry team at New Life Ministries International (NLMI) in Chester, participated in yesterday’s joint hearing of the Pennsylvania Senate’s Judiciary and Law and Justice committees on ensuring accountability and equality in law enforcement and the criminal justice system.
“In the wake of the George Floyd tragedy, conversations like the one we had yesterday are important. We must work towards a Pennsylvania where all citizens of the commonwealth can be assured that those who protect and serve them will do so justly, equitably and fairly,” said Killion.
Killion noted a number of criminal justice reform measures de-emphasizing mass incarceration have been enacted during the current legislative session, including Act 115 of 2019. Authored by Killion, Act 115 streamlined the placement of non-violent offenders in drug treatment programs and expedited the parole process for non-violent offenders.
A member of the Law and Justice committee, Killion requested the participation of Turner, President and CEO of Dunamis Marketing, a full-service marketing and consulting firm and an ordained minister.
Turner has served at NLMI for 32 years and is chairman of the board of directors of the United Way of Delaware County, Eastern University Academy Charter School, Southern Chester County Chamber of Commerce, Boys and Girls Club of Chester and a board member of the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey.
During the hearing, Killion asked Turner, “What’s one quick step we should be looking at to try to establish a better relationship between the community and the police?”
“The ability to bring the police and the community together in similar spaces,” said Turner. “To get our police officers, as was recommended earlier, to a place where they can actually get into the streets of the harder-to-reach communities and actually have some conversations with [community members] so they know them, I think that would be a great first place to start and it wouldn’t cost any money.”
Turner also referenced the success of “weed and seed” programs, initiatives in which police obtain cooperation and information from area residents about illegal activities while assisting residents in obtaining information about community revitalization and resources.
“This hearing was an important initial step,” said Killion. “These issues have been a part of our society for generations, and they won’t be corrected overnight. I remain committed to building a commonwealth that is true to its stated ideals and respects the inherent human dignity of all of its citizens.”