Dawkins: Police reform bills pass House vote

HARRISBURG, June 24 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., announced that H.B. 1910 and H.B. 1841 passed the House today.

House Bill 1910, sponsored by state Rep. Dan Williams, D-Chester, would require police officers to receive training to recognize the signs of child abuse and childhood trauma. It includes an amendment containing Dawkins’ own legislation that would require officers to undergo PTSD training after incidents involving deadly force. It would also allow commanding officers to request tests as needed, and it calls for increased training for officers to better understand PTSD.

“These reforms are long overdue,” Dawkins said. “The community should be served by officers who are mentally fit for the job and who have not shown a history of abusing power. This is a great first step to keep people safe, and to make sure law enforcement officers have the support they need. The collaborative efforts of many members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, Philadelphia Delegation and the House Democratic Caucus made this possible. We will need to continue this collaboration to achieve all we need to.”

House Bill 1841, sponsored by state Rep. Harry Readshaw, D-Allegheny, would require employers to disclose employment information to a law enforcement agency that is conducting a background investigation of an applicant, and to permit a court to compel the release of such employment information if the employer fails to comply. The bill would also free the applicant’s previous employers from civil liability for sharing employment information in good faith with a police department looking to hire a new officer.

It also includes an amendment introduced by state Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., to require law enforcement agencies to keep detailed personnel records that include all substantiated criminal, civil and ethics complaints, as well as the reason and circumstances surrounding the separation of each officer.