Pennsylvania bill would protect identity of officers in police-involved shootings

Pennsylvania bill would protect identity of officers in police-involved shootings

A piece of legislation that would protect Pennsylvania police officers’ identities when they use force or fire their weapons is under consideration in the state Senate.

House Bill 1538 sailed through the GOP-controlled House with many Democrats on board in 2015 shortly after the Philadelphia Police Department adopted a policy of releasing officers’ names when they discharge their firearms in officer-involved shootings within 72 hours of the incident.

Under the proposed law, an officer’s name would only be released if he or she was subsequently charged with a crime in relation to the use of force or if doing so posed no threat to the officer.

The bill was introduced by Rep. Martina White, a Republican who was elected to represent Northeast Philadelphia’s 170th District in a a spring 2015 special election.

“As we’ve seen across the country, shootings involving police officers have become so politically charged that the officers’ lives and their families can be endangered even if the use of force was justified,” White said in a statement last fall when the bill passed the House.

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