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Senate Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: July 11, 2018 04:42 PM
From: Senator Wayne D. Fontana
To: All Senate members
Subject: Allegheny County Civilian Police Review Board

In Allegheny County, there are more than 100 municipal police departments but only one municipality has an independent citizen’s police review board and that is Pittsburgh. With the mounting pressure to increase oversight of these police forces, the Allegheny County Council recently passed legislation regarding the creation of a county-wide civilian police review board. However, without state legislation, the county will only have the authority to hold its own police department accountable. Otherwise, it would be up to each municipal police department to voluntarily partake in the review board.

I will soon be introducing legislation to create a Civilian Police Review Board for Second Class Counties. It has been widely argued that citizen participation in governmental policy making produces many benefits including better trust in governmental operations. Just like the role a jury plays in a trial, an independent review board will allow the people to decide when unjustifiable actions have been made by the police rather than an internal investigation. This process will ensure greater transparency by granting an outsider and unbiased group of individuals to determine if any criminal proceedings need to take place.

I hope you will consider joining me by co-sponsoring this important bill for Allegheny County.

Introduced as SB1262