ABOVE PHOTO: Former Interim Philadelphia DA Kelley Hodge addresses audience members and press after her swearing in at City Hall on Tuesday, July 25, 2017. (Photo/ Bill Z. Foster)
At its recent meeting, the Sharon Hill Borough Council placed a motion on its agenda to appoint Ms. Kelley Hodge of the Law Firm of Fox-Rothschild LLP as special counsel to investigate policies and procedures surrounding the Academy Park High School football game shooting. A legal trailblazer on multiple fronts, Ms. Hodge was the first African American woman to lead the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office in its 167-year history and spearheaded key initiatives addressing juvenile justice and school violence in roles with the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.
Ms. Hodge’s experience as both the District Attorney of Philadelphia and as a public defender provides her a unique perspective to this administrative investigation which enables her to see all sides and appreciate all perspectives and make an unbiased fact-based determination.
The administrative investigation is meant to provide accountability for any possible policy violations related to the incident. In addition to accountability, the investigation will examine Sharon Hill Police Department policies and procedures at the time of the tragic shooting and the use of force training requirements to assess and advise on their content and application. This will the ensure that going forward, the Borough’s Police Department adopts and implements the best community policing policies and procedures.
Bruce L. Castor, Jr., counsel for three of the victims including Fanta Bility who was fatally shot, applauded the pro-active approach taken by Sharon Hill.
“The selection of former DA Hodge to undertake this review is a positive step in the right direction, and shows Sharon Hill’s commitment to improve its policing in the wake of this terrible series of events which cost the life of a young girl,” he said. “I commend Borough Council for their swift and decisive action.”