FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State Rep. Dom Costa
Costa's 'Officer Down' bill wins unanimous passage in the House
Second bill enhancing police training poised for final House vote
HARRISBURG, Oct. 4 – The state House of Representatives today unanimously passed state Rep. Dom Costa's H.B. 2629, which would create an Officer Down Alert System to help catch those suspected of killing or seriously injuring law enforcement officers.
The bill now moves to the state Senate for consideration.
"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. "By allowing all 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 work the same way the Amber Alert system works to catch suspected child abductors in that it would use media broadcasts and messaging signs along highways to provide information about the vehicle of a suspected law enforcement assailant.
Under the bill, the Pennsylvania State Police would establish and maintain the Pennsylvania Officer Down System. An alert would be issued if the following criteria are met:
· 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 House also took action on Costa's H.B. 2741 that would allow municipal police officers to obtain up to one half of their yearly hours of in-service training through online courses. The bill has been referred to the House Appropriations Committee, the last stop before being brought to the House floor for a final vote.
Under current law, municipal police officers must attend 12 hours of in-service training yearly. Costa said taking a portion of these courses online would allow officers to spend more time on the streets protecting the public instead of in a classroom.