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:
“The PSTA has always sat down with lawmakers in both parties to address police reforms. From horseback to helicopter, our department has undergone remarkable changes in its more than a century of service to our fellow Pennsylvanians. We have long supported a statewide registry to allow police departments to check the background of all potential officer candidates. Troopers want to make sure our department can do everything it can to hire people who are worthy of being a Pennsylvania State Trooper. That said, most of the other reforms sent to the governor have long been in place in our department and training.”
State police receive constant 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. 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. Its guidelines were adopted from President Barack Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing.
Pennsylvania State Police already conducts an exhaustive review of all instances of potential 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, outside agencies, including district attorneys or Pennsylvania’s attorney general, provide independent reviews. Troopers involved in serious incidents must undergo multiple layers of psychiatric reviews before being allowed to resume their duties.
“We’re always going to work with lawmakers in a bi-partisan fashion to look at ways that we can improve the Pennsylvania State Police, but we truly believe that no one does it better than troopers. Pennsylvanians should be proud of the work our troopers do.”