House passes Conklin’s bill to arm OSIG law enforcement officers

The bill passed by a vote of 201-2

HARRISBURG, Nov. 15 – To bolster the efficacy of Pennsylvania’s law enforcement, the House of Representatives passed legislation introduced by Rep. Scott Conklin, D-Centre, to empower the Office of State Inspector General’s law enforcement officers with the authority to carry firearms.

The bill amends the Administrative Code of 1929. It passed by a vote of 201-2.

The House State Government Committee, which Conklin chairs, unanimously reported the bill out of committee, signaling a unified commitment to reinforce the commonwealth’s oversight and the security of the law enforcement officers who oversee them.

“Today marks a pivotal moment in our continuous efforts to safeguard Pennsylvanians and the integrity of Pennsylvania’s programs and operations,” Conklin said. “With the expansion of the OSIG’s powers in 2017, this legislation is a stride towards ensuring that our law enforcement officers may execute their duties with the utmost safety.”

Law enforcement officers at OSIG risk their lives in performing their duties, Conklin noted. By equipping these law enforcement officers with firearms, Pennsylvania will ensure they may safely operate in scenarios that often present imminent dangers, he said.

OSIG works closely with law enforcement agencies to deter, detect, prevent and eradicate fraud, waste, misconduct and abuse in state programs and government operations. OSIG law enforcement officers are the only law enforcement officers in Pennsylvania that are not currently permitted to carry firearms.

More than 120 law enforcement officers at the OSIG would benefit from Conklin’s legislation, as well as a budget for firearms, training and peripherals.

“As the bill progresses to the Senate, it bears the hope of a safer, secure Pennsylvania, backed by a robust, empowered OSIG,” Conklin said.