Harrisburg, PA – In the wake of tragic officer-involved shootings across the commonwealth and the nation, House and Senate legislators will introduce a package of bills when lawmakers return to session later this month regarding police management and community relations.
Senator Jay Costa of Allegheny County says the legislation will provide improved training for police to know when to use force, particularly deadly force, and promote better relations with the communities they police. It will also make enhanced mental health services available to police and community members.
The bills would:
- Create specialized units to respond to crisis situations, including officer-involved shootings, to provide immediate access to mental health counseling for police and community members
- Develop a statewide database to permit transparency in the hiring of police officers; the database will include any disciplinary actions, misconduct or discriminatory policing complaints lodged against law enforcement personnel
- Require municipal police forces to develop a uniform policy on the use of force and deadly force by police officers and require annual updates and training for police officers
- Improve Municipal Police Officer Training on cultural awareness for police recruits and during police training
- Establish a professional oversight board for law enforcement officers, responsible for providing certification to law enforcement officers, focusing on knowledge of the law and criminal procedures, with a special emphasis on de-escalation techniques and community safety.
- Require the Attorney General to appoint a special prosecutor whenever there is a deadly force incident and a police officer is involved.
Click here to review the package of bills: