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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: February 12, 2020 02:31 PM
From: Senator John P. Blake
To: All Senate members
Subject: Evading Arrest or Detention by Foot
In the near future, I intend to reintroduce legislation drafted in response to the tragic death of Officer John Wilding of the Scranton Police Department. In July 2015, Officer Wilding fell to his death while chasing three teenagers suspected of armed robbery.

A thorough review of our existing statutes demonstrated that we currently prohibit fleeing from an officer in a vehicle and struggling with an officer attempting to place an individual under lawful arrest; however, our statutes are silent with respect to fleeing an officer on foot and placing the officers or innocent bystanders at risk of injury.

This bill will create a new offense of “Evading Arrest or Detention by Foot.” This legislation is modeled after a similar statute in the state of Texas. When individuals flee from police officers attempting to lawfully place them under arrest, they create a risk of harm to not just to police but to innocent bystanders and themselves, this bill will attempt to address that.

Officer Wilding was a respected member of our community and a rising star in our City’s police force. His life was cut tragically short and it highlighted the need for additional protections needed by our brave policemen and women pursuing suspects on foot. We need to ensure that the dangers posed by individuals fleeing on foot are addressed by state law for the safety of our officers and innocent bystanders.

This bill was previously introduced by Sen. Rafferty as SB 838 of 2017-18. Please join me in co-sponsoring this legislation.

Introduced as SB1085