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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: December 11, 2014 12:50 PM
From: Senator Vincent J. Hughes
To: All Senate members
Subject: Joint State Government Commission Task Force on Law Enforcement Response to Large Scale Demonstrations, Protest and Other Forms of Civil Disobedience
 

In the near future I will be introducing a Senate Resolution creating a Joint State Government Commission Task Force to study state and local law enforcement policies and procedures relating to large scale demonstrations, protests, and other forms of civil disobedience.

The Task Force will consist of twenty-four (24) members and will be charged with identifying best practices used by federal law enforcement and law enforcement in other states to ensure that policies and procedures in use in this Commonwealth appropriately balance the rights of individuals to lawfully engage in these activities with law enforcement’s duty to ensure that these activities are conducted in a legal and safe manner.

I am proposing a Task Force of the following twenty-four (24) individuals:
● The Chairman of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Council (Chairman of the Task Force)

● The Commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police

● The Attorney General of this Commonwealth.

● The Adjutant General of this Commonwealth.

● The Police Commissioner of a city of the first class, or his or her designee.

● The Chief of Police of a city of the second class, or his or her designee.

● One (1) member of the Senate appointed by the President pro tempore of the Senate

● One (1) member of the Senate appointed by the minority leader of the Senate.

● Nine (9) members appointed by the Governor as follows:
One (1) member representing the Pennsylvania League of Cities
One (1) member representing The Pennsylvania State Association of County Commissioners.
Three (3) incumbent chiefs of police of police departments within this Commonwealth.
One (1) chief of police of a university or campus police department.
One (1) current or former federal law enforcement officer with experience in handling protests and other forms of civil disobedience.
One (1) current or former member of the United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division with experience in investigating, litigating or prosecuting claims of civil rights violations.
One (1) attorney or legal educator specializing in the field of civil rights or constitutional law.

● Two (2) individuals representing the Pennsylvania Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (“NAACP”) to be selected by the Joint State Government Commission upon the recommendation of the governing body of the Pennsylvania Chapter of the NAACP.

● Two (2) individuals representing the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (“ACLU”) to be selected by the Joint State Government Commission upon the recommendation of the governing body of the Pennsylvania Chapter of the ACLU.

● One (1) member representing the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association to be selected by the Joint State Government Commission upon the recommendation of the governing body of the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association .

● One (1) member representing the Pennsylvania State Troopers Association to be selected by the Joint State Government Commission upon the recommendation of the governing body of the Pennsylvania State Troopers Association .

● One (1) member representing the Pennsylvania Fraternal Order of Police to be selected by the Joint State Government Commission upon the recommendation of the governing body of the Pennsylvania Fraternal Order of Police

The Task Force will be charged with completing a report to be submitted to the Senate summarizing the current status and adequacy of law enforcement policies and procedures, including training and response programs, in place at both the state and local level. The report may also include recommendations on potential changes to Commonwealth statutes, policies, procedures, etc. to ensure the rights and safety of all parties (i.e., those engaging in the activity, law enforcement, and the community as a whole) engaging in a demonstration, protest or other act of civil disobedience are respected and protected.

I hope you will join me in cosponsoring this Resolution. If you have any questions, please contact my Chief Counsel, Mark Mekilo, at 7-7112 or mmekilo@pasenate.com at your convenience.



Introduced as SR172