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Pennsylvania House of Representatives
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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: September 9, 2019 02:12 PM
From: Representative Dan L. Miller
To: All House members
Subject: Police Use of Force report Form and Data Collection
Sometimes, no matter their best efforts, even the most seasoned and well-trained officers must use force or threaten to use force on a suspect in order to keep people safe. In many departments, these instances require documentation on a “Use of Force” Report form (or something similarly titled). These forms can be critical for the officer, suspect, and the department. A well-designed form can provide insight into the engagement, officer tactics, suspect reactions, witnesses, demographics, and threat continuum that can be used to show that proper procedures were followed- or that they weren’t.

However, not every department is requiring a Use of Force Report, not every report is detailed appropriately, and not every report has the same policies as to when such a form must be filled out and reviewed. As such, I plan to introduce a bill that changes this.

My legislation would require a standard and appropriately detailed form to be created and used throughout Pennsylvania. It will also create a bright line for when such forms must be completed and reviewed by a supervisor. The form would be designed to protect information lawfully exempted by the Right to Know Law , and would have to be transmitted to the State Police who will be tasked with developing and maintaining a use of force database (similar to what they do currently involving police chases). They would also produce an annual report to the Legislature analyzing the submitted data and making any recommendations deemed relevant.

Additionally, I believe this will be helpful to departments, the legislature, and the public in identifying the good work that so many of our police officers, while also creating a uniformed standard that could highlight where corrective action must be taken or further investigation must occur.

I hope you will join me in cosponsoring this important piece of legislation.

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Introduced as HB1904