Sims and Rabb announce bill to hold Phila. police accountable
PHILADELPHIA, June 2 – State Reps. Brian Sims and Chris Rabb, both D-Phila., today announced that they would be introducing a bill that would reform the Pennsylvania Heart and Lung Act to hold out of duty Philadelphia police officers more accountable. Heart and Lung Act benefits are meant to provide financial stability and security for police officers and other emergency personnel if an injury prevents them from working.
“The level of corruption revealed through recent investigative reporting is, frankly, disgraceful,” Sims said. “It’s time to hold these bad cops accountable for their actions. Now it’s on us as government officials to act and demand that taxpayer dollars are spent fairly. At a time when gun violence continues to climb and police budgets continue to inflate, it is unconscionable to have so many taxpayer dollars go to those who are not upholding their oath of service.”
“This is about rebuilding trust in a system that has been abused for decades,” said Rabb. “As public servants, we have a responsibility to ensure that the public’s money is being spent in a transparent, responsible, and effective manner. For these officers to abuse the system and think they can get away with it is shameful. They are taking money directly from their fellow officers and their neighbors as taxpayers.”
This bill would ensure these benefits are reserved for those who genuinely need them by ensuring physicians evaluating injured officers are chosen independently. The goal of the bill is to make it more difficult for officers to abuse or take advantage of the system. At present, the Fraternal Order of Police chooses physicians for injured police officers in Philadelphia.
These reforms come after a Philadelphia Inquirer article shed light on law enforcement abusing the system. This article demonstrated that the number of Philadelphia police officers out of duty on injury claims has doubled in the last few years. This article later detailed how some of these injured officers hold second jobs, play on travel softball teams, and engage in other physically strenuous activities, all while still being listed as too injured to return to police work.
More information is available by contacting Sims’ office at (215) 246-1501 or Rabb’s office at (215) 242-7300.