State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.
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Watching the (town) watchers

Written by Mary Wilson, Former Capitol Bureau Chief | Aug 6, 2013 9:05 PM

One state lawmaker says neighborhood watch groups could use a bit more watching themselves. Rep. Louise Bishop (D-Philadelphia) is proposing such groups receive training from the Pennsylvania State Police and get certified every five years.

"I want them to be registered. I want them to be trained. I want them to have an appropriation," said Bishop. "I want them to be recognized in the community as town watch groups so they know each other."

The plan would establish an unspecified fund for neighborhood watch groups and require the groups to pay a fee to the State Police for training and certification. It would require regular background checks of members, and groups would not be able to accept members convicted of criminal offenses, Bishop said, "to make sure that you don't have any pedophiles out there watching the community."

Bishop said the bill stems in part from an incident in which her grandson was accosted by a town watch group member.

A similar proposal was floated late last year but it didn't get out of committee.

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