|Posted:||February 10, 2021 02:35 PM|
|From:||Representative Brian Sims|
|To:||All House members|
|Subject:||Demilitarization of Police Uniforms|
|In July of 2020, federal law enforcement agents were deployed to patrol the streets of Portland, Oregon, in response to widespread protests and peaceful demonstrations for racial justice. Images and video from Portland showed these agents, in military-style uniforms, engaging in violent, menacing behavior around demonstrators. Confusion on the streets, instigated by this behavior, left many demonstrators concerned that the military had been turned against the citizenry. In addition, we then saw across the country local law enforcement utilizing similar military-style fatigues to respond to protests. As a result, demonstrators were unable to accurately identify what type of law enforcement is on the streets, leading to unnecessary panic and fear.
In Pennsylvania, there is no law that specifically allows for the use of militarized uniforms by municipal and state law enforcement. Considering the events that took place in Portland last year, it is imperative that our citizens are able to distinguish between a member of the military and a law enforcement officer. I am introducing legislation that would prohibit the use of camouflage and military-style fatigues by local, municipal, and state law enforcement.
Please join me in co-sponsoring this important legislation that aims to build transparency and trust with law enforcement in our communities.
Introduced as HB782