State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

Police transparency bill prompts some opposition, but no word from Wolf

Written by Katie Meyer, Capitol Bureau Chief | Oct 19, 2016 12:36 AM

A bill moving through the legislature is garnering criticism from advocates who say it's anti-transparency. (Photo by AP)

(Harrisburg) -- With only a few days left in session and a lot of proposals to address, the state Capitol is currently a hectic place.

But in the flurry of activity, several advocacy groups have latched onto one particular measure: House Bill 1538.

It would create a 30-day period where the names of police officers who use force that results in death or serious injury can't be released.

The proposal is sponsored by Representative Martina White, a Philadelphia County Republican who said it's about protecting officers from unfair public judgements.

But some advocates are calling it an affront to transparency.

Paula Knudsen, director of government affairs at the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association, said sharing information can actually help diffuse public anger.

"By saying you're going to completely black out the ability of police chiefs to talk to their communities, it's really, in a way, widening that gap between the community and law enforcement," she said.

The measure has a shot at landing on Governor Tom Wolf's desk before the end of session. He hasn't yet indicated whether he'd sign or veto it.

Two other law enforcement-related bills are also moving through the legislature: one would change public accessibility to police body cameras, and the other relates to police use of radar.

Published in State House Sound Bites

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