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Harrisburg, Pa. – Americans for Prosperity-Pennsylvania (AFP-PA) called on lawmakers to pass several reforms that were reported out of the House Judiciary Committee last week that would help improve transparency and accountability of Pennsylvania law enforcement and promote greater trust between good police officers and the communities they serve.
AFP-PA State Director Ashley Klingensmith issued the following statement:
“Transforming police culture must be part of any policy discussion to eliminate injustices that have become institutionalized. Police officers play an essential role in keeping communities safe. Yet tragically, their encounters with some Americans are unnecessary for achieving that goal, at times resulting in violent conflicts and deaths that are avoidable. Reforming policing practices to prioritize transparency and accountability is crucial to improve public trust in law enforcement and better equip our officers to keep our communities safe.
“Continuing to reform our probation system will also help restore trust between communities and the justice system – too many people are trapped in a cycle of onerous and unnecessary technical violations that force too much contact with the justice system and hold individuals back from reentering society. We have a long way to go, but we are encouraged by lawmakers working with the sense of urgency these issues deserve. Whether through the typical legislative process or a special session, we stand ready to unite with anyone to do right.”
As amended, House Bill 1841 would require Pennsylvania law enforcement agencies to review the disciplinary files of former law enforcement officers before making hiring decisions, a necessary step to make accountability a reality. AFP-PA is also calling for reforms such as Senate Bill 611, which provides for independent review and prosecution of incidents involving police use of deadly force to better assure the public of a neutral actor, and House Bill 1664, which would improve use of force standards. While this is not a comprehensive list of legislation AFP-PA supports, the group believes this is a good place to start.