HARRISBURG – Rep. Gary W. Day (R-Lehigh/Berks) stood with fellow lawmakers as the House passed vital legislation aimed at reshaping law enforcement practices and strengthening police-community relations statewide. These bills were approved with bipartisan support and now head to the Senate for consideration.
“Cities nationwide, especially Philadelphia, have seen much unrest and devastation following the death of George Floyd after use of unnecessary force by Minneapolis Police Department officers,” said Day. “There is no place for racial injustice and negligence within our law enforcement departments, which is why I am glad to support the Protect and Serve Initiative legislation that we passed today. These bills allow for the officers to receive additional de-escalation and awareness training, as well as begin to weed out individuals who do not align with the principles and expectations of our police departments. Respect between our officers and our citizens needs to be mutual, and while we have much work to do, these bills serve as a steppingstone to better our society.”
Current Pennsylvania law requires police departments to conduct thorough background investigations on every police officer candidate before hiring them. This includes criminal history and past employment history. However, current law does not require previous employers to release an officer’s employment information and many are reluctant to do so for fear of civil liability. Without this information, hiring police departments could be missing critical knowledge concerning behavior and disciplinary actions that might otherwise preclude an officer from being hired.
House Bill 1841 would require disclosure of this information to a law enforcement agency conducting a background investigation of an applicant and permit a court to compel the release of the information if the employer fails to comply. The disclosure requests must be authorized by the candidate in writing and contain the signature of the person conducting the investigation. The bill would also require the establishment of an electronic database to collect and maintain the separation records of law enforcement officers for use by law enforcement agencies when hiring.
For more information on House Bill 1841, visit here
House Bill 1910 would require police officers to receive training on how to interact with individuals of diverse backgrounds; de-escalation, harm reduction and reconciliation techniques; and community and cultural awareness. It also covers the appropriate use of force, provides for mental health evaluations in certain situations, and requires child abuse awareness training for officers and magisterial district judges.
For more information on House Bill 1910, visit here
Representative Gary Day
187th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Abby Krueger