Monday, September 22, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Controller Finds Foul Conditions At Many Police Facilities

Check out his press release here:

Controller Finds Foul Conditions At Many Police Facilities

Check out his press release here:

Butkovitz Finds Dangerous Conditions in Police Facilities Persist since 2006 Audit
Findings include numerous fire and electrical safety hazards, broken plumbing & on-going water damage

PHILADELPHIA – City Controller Alan Butkovitz today released the findings of his follow-up investigation into conditions at 23 Philadelphia police facilities, which found police personnel are still working in substandard and dangerous conditions; four years after Butkovitz released his previous report and recommendations.

All 23 Philadelphia Police Districts were re-inspected by technicians from the Controller’s Office. All police facilities were in varying stages of disrepair - a number of which were in need of immediate attention due to the direct dangers posed to police personnel and the public.

“It is unacceptable that the men and women who put their lives on the line every day to protect the citizens of this City are forced to work in these substandard, if not unsafe, working conditions,” said Butkovitz.

At more than half of the facilities, numerous fire safety hazards were found, including blocked exit doors and missing panic bars. The 12th Police District had a fire exit blocked by a metal grate.

“If a fire were to occur, employees could not escape through this fire exit,” said Butkovitz. “This is the same condition that we found four years ago and the City needs to move quickly to correct any and all fire safety code violations.”

The Controller found many other unchanged conditions, or conditions that have gotten worse due to continued neglect, including some of the following:

  • 22nd/23rd District - cockroach infestation in a number of rooms throughout the facility.
  • 6th District – missing and water-damaged ceiling tiles directly over a portrait of murdered Police Officer Daniel Faulkner.
  • 39th District – electrical outlet, which was held together with duct tape, pulled away and hanging from the wall.
  • 2nd/15th District – cell conditions included human feces covering the walls and floor as well as the toilet.

“By failing to perform regular maintenance and necessary repairs, these conditions will only get worse,” said Butkovitz. “The eventual cost for repair will be dramatically higher than if the problem was addressed at the start.”

In discussions between the Controller’s Office and the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority (PICA), it was determined that PICA has $13.5 million in capital funds reserved for city projects.

“Of the $13.5 million available from PICA, there is an estimated $4 million that the City can and should request immediately to address the most critical problems,” said Butkovitz. “It's time for the City to act and request these funds from PICA to make the most critical repairs as soon as possible because there’s no excuse for any further delay.”

According to Butkovitz, an effective preventive maintenance program must be developed and implemented by the Police Department and the Department of Public Property in order to minimize the deterioration in many of these police facilities.

“Many construction experts believe that repair costs can increase as much as 15 times if necessary maintenance is deferred over a long period of time,” said Butkovitz.

“The list of much-needed repairs and regular maintenance continues to grow, while the costs for these repairs will only increase if the repairs are not made and preventive maintenance is delayed.”

To view a copy of the Follow-Up Inspections of Police Facilities report as well as other audits and reports released by the Controller’s Office, please visit www.philadelphiacontroller.org
 

About this blog
Chris Brennan, a native Philadelphian and graduate of Temple University, joined the Daily News in 1999. He has written about SEPTA, the Philadelphia School District, the legalization of casino gambling, state government, the mayor, the governor, City Council and political campaigns. E-mail tips to brennac@phillynews.com
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Jenny DeHuff is a 2005 graduate of the University of Rhode Island, where she cut her teeth in journalism. A South Philly transplant from New England, she joined the Daily News City Hall Bureau in 2013. For the past several years, she has worked as an investigative reporter exposing corruption in suburban politics, covering sometimes ghastly criminal court cases and following the people’s money and how its spent. In addition to being a dogged news hound, she enjoys reading and writing about travel, animals, Irish whiskey and aviation. E-mail tips to dehuffj@phillynews.com
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