The Lead

Law enforcement advisory panel offers recommendations for policing reforms

By: - December 10, 2021 4:53 pm

(Photo from Matters)

A citizen law enforcement advisory panel recommended a number of reforms Friday, including calling for the Pennsylvania State Police to turn over all use of force incidents ending in death to an outside investigator.

The Pennsylvania State Law Enforcement Citizen Advisory Commission, created by Gov. Tom Wolf last year, is made up of 21 voting members, including one representative from each of Pennsylvania’s 15 state police troops, and is tasked with reviewing law enforcement practices in the commonwealth and offering recommendations on areas of improvement, including areas such as use-of-force, police-involved shootings and bias-based policing practices. 

In a summary shared by the Office of the Inspector General Friday, three subcommittees of the commission offered their recommendations: 

  1. That the Pennsylvania State Police “require all criminal investigations of all its use of force incidents resulting in death or serious bodily injury, or in-custody deaths, be referred to an external agency.”
  2. That the Pennsylvania State Police “strengthen its use of force policy to include, among other things, enhanced definitions to clarify use of an objective reasonableness standard, bolstering de-escalation and supplemental training following use of force incidents, mandatory reporting of certain use of force incidents, and specific guidelines detailing a use of force spectrum
  3. That the Pennsylvania State Police continue to procure and utilize mobile video recorder systems, interview room recorders and body worn cameras.
  4. That the Pennsylvania State Police update “certain policies (including personal use of social or other media) regarding, among other things, inclusion of all protected classes concerning prohibited discriminatory or offensive conduct, and mandate certain actions such as a duty to report acts of bias-based policing, in-service annual bias-based policing training and limit memberships and/or affiliations to certain organizations that negatively impact PSP.”
  5. And that the Pennsylvania State Police allow citizens to refile bias-based complaints for full investigation following criminal proceedings. 

“I applaud the work of Commissioners and the cooperation of all covered agencies as we work to improve policies in Pennsylvania,” Deputy State Inspector General and Commission Chairperson, Sha S. Brown said in a statement Friday. 

“With the assistance of the Pennsylvania State Police, the Commission received extensive training and was well-equipped to review PSP’s investigations and provide meaningful recommendations.” Brown concluded.

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Cassie Miller
Cassie Miller

A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry.