AUGUST 19, 2023

"I live in this community, and it makes me question certain safeties and securities that I thought I had..."
Archie McGinnis


"We are afraid of the cops and the robbers."
Al Sharpton


In the historic corridors of Allentown, Pennsylvania, a narrative is unfolding that encapsulates the broader American struggle with policing, community dynamics, and systemic challenges. The "Mobile Community Responder Alternative Police Team Initiative," set for a November 2023 vote, is not merely a local policy proposal. It's a reflection of a community's soul-searching in the wake of events that have shaken its core.

Central to this narrative is the tragic shooting death of 27-year-old Dominic Hogans by police. Dominic's untimely demise is a stark reminder of the complexities and often fatal consequences of interactions between law enforcement and the communities they serve. His story, while deeply personal and painful for his loved ones, has become emblematic of the broader issues surrounding policing in America. It raises uncomfortable but essential questions: How did we get here? And more importantly, how do we move forward?

The proposed initiative in Allentown seeks to address some of these questions. By envisioning an alternative to traditional policing, it acknowledges a fundamental truth: not every crisis requires an armed response. Sometimes, what's needed is empathy, mental health expertise, or community intervention. It's a step towards ensuring that tragedies like Dominic's are not repeated, that interactions between the community and law enforcement are rooted in trust and understanding.

But the path to change is fraught with challenges. Archie McGinnis's candid expression of his fears offers a window into these complexities. On one hand, he voices concerns about his safety vis-a-vis law enforcement, echoing the anxieties of many in Black and Brown communities. On the other, he speaks of the fear of "suspicious persons," highlighting the broader concerns about safety and security that many residents grapple with. Archie's sentiments underscore the delicate balance that needs to be struck: ensuring community safety while also rebuilding trust with law enforcement.

However, as Allentown grapples with these issues, it faces resistance from within. The opposition to "Bill 47" from the Allentown City Council, the Sergeant of the APD, and the Mayor is indicative of the broader challenges of systemic reform. Their concerns, while perhaps rooted in practicalities, also hint at a deeper reluctance to challenge established norms and power structures. It's a testament to the intricate dance of governance, where the push for change is often met with caution, skepticism, or outright resistance.

As Allentown stands at this crossroads, its story resonates far beyond its city limits. It's a tale of a community's quest for justice, balance, and a better future. It's about acknowledging past mistakes, learning from them, and charting a new course. It's about the delicate balance between ensuring public safety and upholding the rights and dignity of every individual.

In conclusion, the events in Allentown offer a microcosm of the broader national dialogue on policing and community relations. The "Mobile Community Responder Alternative Police Team Initiative," Dominic Hogans's tragic death, Archie McGinnis's heartfelt sentiments, and the opposition to "Bill 47" are all threads in this intricate tapestry. As Allentown navigates its path forward, its journey offers insights, lessons, and hope for communities everywhere. It's a testament to the enduring human spirit, the quest for justice, and the belief in a brighter, more inclusive future.


  •  The Allentown city council voted down an alternative policing bill. The people of Allentown signed a petition and put it on the ballot to vote on in November 2023.

  •  Had this bill already been in effect, Dominic Hogans, an armed suspect who ran away and fired on police, may have had a better chance of surviving the encounter.

  • More detail on Progress for America here.

  • As always, register and vote for criminal justice reform where possible.