Legislation Quick Search
01/28/2022 12:12 PM
Pennsylvania State Senate
Home / Senate Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

Senate Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

Subscribe to PaLegis Notifications

Subscribe to receive notifications of new Co-Sponsorship Memos circulated

By Member | By Date | Keyword Search

Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: January 8, 2021 03:11 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.

Last session, this bill unanimously passed the Senate Judiciary Committee as SB 1085 of 2019-20. After receiving feedback from advocates and officers around the state, I have decide to include language to further provide for the protection of police animals in the event an individual is evading arrest. The new language would create a separate offense for injuring a police animal while a person is 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.

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.

Please join me in co-sponsoring this legislation. Previous co-sponsors included: Sens. Aument, Yudichak, Brewster, Baker, Arnold, Browne and Regan.