Action on police reform the first step, but many more to come

HARRISBURG, June 30 – In response to the Pennsylvania Senate passing H.Bs. 1841 and 1910, state Reps. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., House Democratic whip, Joanna McClinton, D-Phila., House Democratic chair, Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., Philadelphia Delegation chairman, Dan Miller, D-Allegheny, Allegheny Delegation chairman, Dan Williams, D-Chester, Summer Lee, D-Allegheny, and Chris Rabb, D-Phila., released the following statement:

“In Harrisburg, the legislative process can often be slow and grinding. However, in times of crisis, slow and grinding is unacceptable. The passage of these two police reform bills in only a month’s time reflects the fact that when people take to the streets and demand action from their elected officials, we as a General Assembly are capable of working deliberatively and quickly.

“We have heard the outcry from Black and Brown communities that are far too often the victims of heavy-handed policing. While George Floyd and Breonna Taylor were the catalysts for the protests that have gone on throughout the month of June, they are hardly the only victims of police misconduct. They are simply the latest, and as a legislative body it must be our goal to do everything possible to lessen the risk of this happening again.

The statewide law enforcement misconduct database, coupled with the required trainings and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder screenings, will not only help law enforcement weed out dangerous officers and stay mentally healthy, it will help keep our communities more safe. This is the first step toward rebuilding the trust between communities and law enforcement which has been slowly yet thoroughly eroded over decades of transgressions.    

“These positive first steps in true police reform in Pennsylvania are just the beginning. We are not taking a victory lap. There is much more work to be done, including addressing the use of force and law enforcement disciplinary procedures. This is simply a small deposit in the bank of justice that has been empty for far too long. We will ensure it is not the only deposit.”