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From Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s Office:
Today, Pennsylvania District Attorneys from Centre, Dauphin, Lancaster, Franklin, and York counties formally joined the coalition formed by Attorney General Shapiro to end the practice of law enforcement agencies unknowingly hiring officers with documented patterns of excessive use of force or other misconduct.
“This is a necessary first step for criminal justice reform,” said Centre County District Attorney Bernie Cantorna. “A registry would enable our law enforcement leaders to make informed hiring decisions. It would help put an end to an officer with disciplinary issues transferring from one police agency to another.”
“In order to make sure they are making proper hiring decisions, police leaders need information,” said Dauphin County District Attorney Francis Chardo. “This common sense measure will ensure that police officers who engage in serious misconduct do not simply move to another department.”
“I join the many law enforcement agencies who support this legislation recognizing that transparency and law enforcement are not mutually exclusive,” said Lancaster County District Attorney Heather Adams. “I commend Attorney General Shapiro for leading this effort and bringing together many voices to call for this necessary change in hiring practices.”
“This moment cannot be wasted,” said Franklin County District Attorney Matt Fogal. “I stand with law enforcement and we are dedicated to actively and thoughtfully engaging in the necessary conversations to unite, restore and heal our communities and Nation. One Team, One Fight.”
“This legislation will provide another much needed tool for law enforcement leaders to use when making hiring decisions,” said York County District Attorney David Sunday.
“I applaud these District Attorneys for joining our call to pass critical police hiring reforms that our communities have advocated for,” said Attorney General Shapiro. “Having the support of District Attorneys from across the Commonwealth gets us one step closer to this database becoming a reality, and I encourage the General Assembly to continue to move quickly.”
The group consists of: Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw, Pittsburgh Police Chief Scott Schubert, FOP Lodge 5 President John McNesby, President of the Pennsylvania State Lodge FOP Les Neri, Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association, the Pennsylvania State Troopers Association, the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association, U.S. Senator Bob Casey, and now these five District Attorneys from across the Commonwealth.
The group states, “Officers who engage in misconduct or use excessive force erode trust in law enforcement and make it harder for our communities to be and feel safe. When they leave an agency, or retire in lieu of termination, that record needs to go with them. We stand united in calling for reform of the hiring process so that law enforcement agencies have the information to make informed decisions about the personnel they hire.”
This group is supporting legislation to accomplish this reform, versions of which have already been introduced in both the House and Senate by Rep. Chris Rabb and Sen. Jay Costa; the legislation has passed the House Judiciary Committee.
Interdepartmental police hiring reform has been called for by experts and grassroots community groups as well as the State Legislature Police Reform Working Group, and has recently been introduced at the federal level.