Pennsylvania State Troopers Association (PSTA) President David Kennedy today issued the following statement on the passage of law enforcement legislation in the state House and Senate:
“As Troopers, we believe our Call of Honor is nothing less than a sacred oath. Every Trooper must memorize it. In particular, it includes this line: ‘It is my duty to obey the law and to enforce it without any consideration of class, color, creed or condition.’ The line is important because it means no one is above the law. Including us. Especially us. We’re incredibly proud of the work our department has done in the areas of social justice and maintaining proper standards of discipline and behavior. The Pennsylvania State Police is a model for holding its Troopers to the highest standards.
“PSTA fully supports a statewide registry to allow police departments to check the background of all potential officer candidates. In fact, we have long supported a statewide registry so our department can ensure it only hires people who are worthy of being a Pennsylvania State Trooper. New electronic platforms have increased the level of training we receive on a daily basis. Some would even say we’re in a constant state of training and updating of critical information. We receive in-person and online training on a variety of important issues, including: de-escalation techniques; implicit bias; equal opportunity and inclusion; sexual harassment; and any changes to crimes, vehicle code and rules of criminal procedure. It’s important to note that all of this training comes at a considerable cost to taxpayers.
“The Municipal Police Officers Education and Training Commission (MPOETC) currently reviews and develops curriculum and oversees the training of municipal police officers under the direction of the Pennsylvania State Police. In fact, when President Barack Obama created the Task Force on 21st Century Policing, MPOETC adopted its guidelines.
“Our department already has an exhaustive review of all instances of misconduct and seeks outside input into its most serious cases, including police shootings. Internally, review consists of multiple levels beyond internal affairs to ensure both strict scrutiny and impartiality. In use-of-force cases, we add outside agencies, including the district attorneys or Pennsylvania’s attorney general, as part of that review for accountability.
“We do this because we took an oath to serve our fellow Pennsylvanians. That said, we want to do more to be helpful in these most serious of issues and continue to be open to meeting with lawmakers.”