President Biden is speaking to congress tonight, and one topic he’ll address is police reform.
With slow progress on the federal level, reform remains a patchwork across the United States.
Here in Erie, Police Chief Dan Spizarny of the Erie City Police believes that his department continues to do well in complying with federal and state guidelines for policing.
Here is what has changed in the past year in the Erie Police Department.
Chief Dan Spizarny said that he hopes many people can understand that the department is always evolving and changing for the better.
You can’t help but understand the need for police reform in the wake of the death of George Floyd. The killing sparked outrage both globally and locally here in Erie.
These outrages started as a protest and then became riots.
The State and Federal Government passed laws and new regulations following the May 2020 riot in Erie.
Chief Dan Spizarny said that his department is going through four new updated policies, one of them is a change in the use of force.
Spizarny said that the department will have six additional days of training to update policies and procedures.
“We’ve noticed some minor changes of wording in some of the policies that weren’t in line with the recommendations and we’ve changed those policies to reflect that,” said Chief Dan Spizarny, Erie Police Department.
Spizarny has been in law enforcement for 31 years. He said that his policing has changed continuously and will continue to do so.
Mayor Joe Schember said that the City is in the process of hiring a consultant.
“If they see anything that even leads towards racial discrimination, we’re going to get rid of it,” said Mayor Joe Schember, (D), City of Erie.
Spizarny said that the department monitors what happens in other communities.
This gives the police department to not make the same mistake of other departments.
“Doesn’t mean it won’t happen, but we’re doing our best to create policies and looking advance and heading off to any potential problems,” said Spizarny.
Spizarny said that his department continues to meet monthly with police community relations to better the relationship between the community and law enforcement.