|Posted:||October 8, 2019 01:27 PM|
|From:||Senator Pam Iovino|
|To:||All Senate members|
|Subject:||Restoring Arrest Power to School Police Officers|
|In the near future, I plan on introducing legislation to make Pennsylvania schools safer by restoring the power of arrest, detention, and citation for school police officers (SPOs).
Act 67 of 2019, had the unintended consequence of stripping SPOs of their long-held authorities of arrest, detention, and citation, preventing them from completely fulfilling their school security mission. As a result, school safety responsibilities have been shifted from on-site SPOs to municipal police. The result is an unnecessary requirement on the municipal authority and a degrading of safety in our schools.
I have heard concerns from schools (both before and after Act 67 was enacted) throughout my district concerning the repeal of SPO’s arrest, detention, and citation powers. One school will lose a successful, nationally-recognized school diversionary program if these changes remain in place.
Since Act 30 of 1997, SPOs have had the power to exercise certain police powers on school grounds. This power is not absolute - the SPO needs to be granted those powers by a judge in the court of common pleas in which the school is located.
Recently, a proposal to reinstate this power was worked on by members of both caucuses and the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP). The language I intend to introduce is the language that was developed from the input from both caucuses and the FOP. This language would restore SPO powers as they existed prior to Act 67 and allow them to continue keeping schools safe.
I hope you will join me in sponsoring this legislation.