Pennsylvania Lawmakers Advance Police Oversight Bills, Including Required Mental Health Evaluation
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- In Harrisburg, lawmakers are considering new laws for police oversight. This comes after weeks of protests over police brutality.
Pennsylvania lawmakers have accelerated measures to strengthen oversight of the hundreds of law enforcement agencies across the state.
The House Judiciary Committee on Monday funneled through legislation to create a tracking system for police seeking new employment, and also an analysis of a police candidate's mental health fitness.
"One bill will require a PTSD, mental evaluation every other year for officers and within 30 days after the use of deadly force," State Rep. Jordan Harris said.
Harris is a Democrat from Philadelphia, and whip of the committee that unanimously green-lighted the legislation that comes as communities across the country react to excessive use of force by officers in departments in Minnesota and Georgia.
"We need to look into use of force policies across this commonwealth and we need to do so now," Harris said.
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Local Fraternal Order of Police President John McNesby sat down with Eyewitness News Monday to discuss the increasing spotlight trained on law enforcement.
"Right now, there's nothing that's going to enhance policing. They just want to take away, we're not the flavor of the day," McNesby said. "So we gotta continue to move on and just keep doing our jobs, continue protecting the community because we still have a homicide rate that's through the roof and we have shootings through the roof."
Earlier Monday, Speaker of the House Republican Rep. Mike Turzai released a statement that read in part:
"The lives of every citizen matter, including the lives of those citizens of color. These reforms are important to all citizens, but especially to our citizens of black or brown color who feel threatened by a system that can disregard their humanity," Turzai said.
If signed by Gov. Tom Wolf, it is unknown what the finalized legislation would look like.
On Wednesday, the State Senate Judiciary Committee gets a crack at some testimony. They are expecting some 30 witnesses across the spectrum of the issue.
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