FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State Rep. Dom Costa
Costa's 'Officer Down' bill wins unanimous passage in the House
HARRISBURG, July 20 – The state House of Representatives today unanimously passed state Rep. Dom Costa's H.B. 1596, which would create an Officer Down Alert System to help catch those suspected of killing or seriously injuring law enforcement officers.
"When someone attacks a police officer, they attack the security of an entire community. Their swift apprehension is important to bringing safety back to those people," said Costa, D-Allegheny. "In providing the opportunity to alert Pennsylvanians to be on the lookout for a suspect, police have a much better chance of catching a potentially dangerous individual quickly."
Officer Down would use media broadcasts and messaging signs along highways to provide information about the vehicle of a suspected law enforcement assailant, similar to how the Amber Alert system works to catch suspected child abductors.
The measure would designate the Pennsylvania State Police to establish and maintain the Pennsylvania Officer Down System. An alert would be issued if a law enforcement officer has been killed or seriously injured by an offender; the investigating law enforcement agency determines that the suspect poses a serious risk or threat to the public or other law enforcement personnel; a detailed description of the make and model of the suspect's vehicle, or a complete or partial registration plate number of the suspect's vehicle, is available for broadcast to the public; and the investigating law enforcement agency having jurisdiction recommends activation of the system.
"The measure was approved by the House last session, but the Senate did not take it up for a vote," said Costa. "I hope that the Senate will recognize this program as another valuable tool for law enforcement, approve the legislation and send it to the Governor so we can make it a law."
The bill now moves to the state Senate for consideration.