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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: November 17, 2021 03:00 PM
From: Representative Kyle J. Mullins and Rep. Thom Welby
To: All House members
Subject: Evading Arrest On Foot: Parity and Public Safety
In July, 2015, Scranton Police Officer John Wilding lost his life while pursuing three armed robbery suspects. Had his death occurred in pursuit of suspects fleeing by vehicle, additional charges could have been issued under current Pennsylvania law. However, Officer Wilding fell to his death while pursuing these suspects on foot and, sadly, state law is silent with respect to fleeing an officer on foot and placing officers or innocent bystanders at risk of injury.


We both proudly represent the City of Scranton and its brave officers, as well as Officer Wilding's family members who requested this legislation. Our bill would create a new offense of “Evading Arrest or Detention by Foot.” When individuals flee from police officers attempting to lawfully place them under arrest — whether by vehicle or on foot, they create a risk of harm not only to police but to innocent bystanders and themselves. This bill will attempt to address that.

Additionally, our bill would create a separate offense for intentionally injuring a police animal while evading arrest. It is currently against state law to intentionally or knowingly injure or kill a police animal. This legislation simply creates a similar offense if the incident occurs while in the act of evading arrest. Officer Wilding had been pursuing a position in the Scranton Police Department as a K9 officer and this change will further assist in the protection of the animals that serve our communities.

By ensuring that the language of the bill considers an offender’s intent in any harm that comes to police animals, we can both protect offender’s rights to due process and protect our law enforcement and law enforcement animals from harm in the line of duty.

Please join us in cosponsoring this measure that would address a gap in current law by ensuring some parity among penalties, regardless of the method of evasion. 

Introduced as HB2292