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01/17/2022 09:47 PM
Pennsylvania State Senate
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=S&SPick=20190&cosponId=32597
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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: October 27, 2020 04:33 PM
From: Senator Katie J. Muth
To: All Senate members
Subject: Public Accountability for Law Enforcement
 
In the near future, I will introduce two pieces of legislation. The first bill requires law enforcement to obtain personal liability insurance to cover civil lawsuits filed against them for excessive force and other abuses as a way to deter misconduct. Municipal and state government would still be required to pay for the basic insurance policy that covers tort litigation costs. The second bill would prohibit law enforcement officers from receiving pension benefits if they are fired, resign or retire as a result of cases involving serious misconduct or malfeasance.

In 2015, it was reported that Philadelphia alone paid on average $10 million a year to settle police misconduct lawsuits. However, as my office attempted to discover updated numbers, we were told by the AOPC, PCCD, Trial Lawyers, and PSP that data was not collected for law enforcement misconduct lawsuits or that the information was part of a nondisclosure agreement. 

Additionally, if convicted on a criminal charge, municipal police would lose their pension in accordance with the State Pension Forfeiture Act. However, this does not cover civil convictions or if a settlement is reached. 

Taxpayers should not be footing the bill for egregious actions taken by law enforcement officers who engage in misconduct and then evade any meaningful accountability. We need to hold individual law enforcement officers who abuse their power accountable by making them responsible for the increased costs related to payouts for wrongdoing. 

The first bill, originally introduced in New York by State Senator Alessandra Biaggi, would create accountability for police misconduct by establishing a financial disincentive. Our bill will go one step further and also mandate aggregate data be collected in regards to the amount of taxpayer money spent on law enforcement misconduct lawsuits. 

The second bill, originally introduced by New York State Senator Luis Sepulveda and Assemblywoman Diana Richardson, would create accountability by prohibiting those who act outside of their training and the law from receiving retirement benefits. This bill would also go one step further and make pensions attachable as income for the purposes of victim restitution. 

These proposals make those wrongdoers answerable in a tangible way that’s fair to the taxpayer. 

Please join me in cosponsoring these important pieces of legislation.



Document #1

Description: The first bill requires law enforcement to obtain personal liability insurance to cover civil lawsuits filed against them for excessive force and other abuses as a way to deter misconduct. It will also mandate aggregate data be collected in regards to the amount of taxpayer money spent on law enforcement misconduct lawsuits.
 

Document #2

Description: The second bill would prohibit law enforcement officers from receiving pension benefits if they are fired, resign or retire as a result of cases involving serious misconduct or malfeasance. It also makes pensions attachable as income for the purposes of victim restitution.