HARRISBURG – Rep. Rosemary Brown (R-Monroe/Pike) joined House members in passing HB1841 and HB1910, legislation focused on reshaping law enforcement practices and strengthening police-community relations across the Commonwealth. This legislative package received bipartisan support and now goes to the Senate for consideration.
“Especially in the weeks since the death of George Floyd, our society has witnessed large-scale civil unrest as citizens look to their government to help prevent similar miscarriages of justice from occurring in Pennsylvania,” said Brown. “While it is wrong to condemn all law enforcement for the actions of a few, I, and the police officers and departments I have spoken with, believe we can do even more to improve training practices to help de-escalate situations and avoid deadly outcomes and improve community relations. Our police departments are the first line of defense in our communities and the relationship between police officers and citizens should be one of strong trust and respect that must go both ways for effectiveness. I look forward to continuing to collaborate with my colleagues and local police departments as we seek further solutions to secure residents’ safety and well-being.”
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 valuable information, hiring police departments could be missing critical knowledge concerning behavior and disciplinary actions that may better protect their communities and that may better protect their communities and 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 implicit bias, 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 Rosemary M. Brown
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Abby Krueger