Police Advisory Board of Philadelphia (Pa.).

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Created by Mayor Richardson Dilworth in October 1958, the controversial Police Advisory Board (PAB) was charged with investigating citizens' complaints against the police, where the charge involved brutality, false arrest, discrimination and other wrongful police conduct. The PAB, made up of civilian investigators, was the first such board in the United States. Its role was not to discipline police officers, but to recommend appropriate action to the city's administration.

The PAB was created to deal with police officers who abused their authority. As the PAB proceeded with its work, the hearings brought out the widespread objectionable police practices such as disrupting interracial social gatherings or stopping interracial couples, solely on the base of their race. These abuses, and others, were publicized by the PAB and corrected by the Police Department.

The PAB was challenged on a number of fronts. The Fraternal Order of Police, who represented police officers on trial, objected that a civilian review board was not capable of judging police behavior; that the PAB undermines the authority of the Police Commissioner; and that police review boards, in general, were part of the "communist plot to undermine law enforcement."

Mayor James H. J. Tate terminated the PAB on 22 December 1969 as, quoted by then Police Commissioner Frank Rizzo, a "Christmas present" to the police officers. Some felt that by the late 1960s, the PAB had become a political liability to the mayor. In discharging the PAB, Tate stated that "in spite of the sincere emotional support...the Board's activities and procedures have been negative."

From the description of Records, 1961-1980. (Temple University Libraries). WorldCat record id: 145566713

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Police Advisory Board of Philadelphia (Pa.). Records, 1961-1980. Temple University Libraries, Paley Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith American Civil Liberties Union. Greater Philadelphia Branch (Pa.). corporateBody
associatedWith Barol, Martin S. person
associatedWith Coxe, Spencer. person
associatedWith Dilworth, Richardson, 1898-1974. person
associatedWith Farmer, Clarence. person
associatedWith Fellowship Commission (Philadelphia, Pa.). corporateBody
associatedWith Fraternal Order of Police. Philadelphia Lodge Number 5 (Pa.). corporateBody
associatedWith Philadelphia. Commission on Human Relations. corporateBody
associatedWith Philadelphia. Police Dept. corporateBody
associatedWith Rizzo, Frank L. person
associatedWith Tate, James H. J., 1910-1983. person
associatedWith Tate, Mercer D. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Philadelphia (Pa.)

Corporate Body

Active 1961

Active 1980

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