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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: October 16, 2018 12:43 PM
From: Representative Christopher M. Rabb
To: All House members
Subject: Interdepartmental Police Hiring Reform
In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation that aims to crack down on police misconduct by making it harder for bad actors to job-hop around Pennsylvania.

My legislation, modeled after a similar law in Michigan, would require law enforcement agencies to keep detailed personnel records that include all criminal, civil and ethics substantiated complaints as well as the reason and circumstances surrounding the separation of each officer. Separation records would be filed with the Office of Attorney General and maintained in an electronic database that law enforcement agencies would be required to search before hiring an officer. This would ensure that previous misconduct in another police department does not go unnoticed.
Should a law enforcement agency choose to hire an officer who separated from his or her last job due to a pattern of substantive allegations, complaints or charges related to excessive force, harassment, theft, discrimination, sexual abuse or sexual misconduct, the agency would be required to issue a public notice 14 days before taking formal action to hire the officer. Subsequently, within 14 days of hiring the officer, the agency must file a report with the Office of Attorney General indicating the rationale for the hiring.

Reviewing separation records can prove vital for law enforcement agencies. One example, the Philadelphia Police Department were aware of multiple departmental violations surrounding the officer who was charged with First Degree Murder around the killing of unarmed newlywed, David Jones. Another example involves the police officer who fatally shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland, four years ago. This officer was recently hired by a police department in eastern Ohio. On June 19, 2018, an unarmed Antwon Rose II was fatally shot in the back by an East Pittsburgh police officer who had been sworn in hours earlier. The officer had been dismissed for cause from Pittsburgh University Police Department a few months prior to his hiring with the East Pittsburgh Police Department.

Transparency and accountability are not the enemy of law enforcement. Simply put, good cops hate bad cops. It is our duty to prevent them being allowed to quietly resign and gain employment with a new, unsuspecting department.
Moreover, this bill can reduce the exorbitant legal fees and incalculable loss of public trust.

In cases of bad actors in the law enforcement field, we must empower police chiefs and municipalities with all relevant information and tools to promote community safety and preserve the integrity of their police force.

Please join me in sponsoring this important legislation.

Introduced as HB2736