Police transparency bill prompts some opposition in Pa., but no word from Wolf

    State Rep. Martina White

    State Rep. Martina White

    With only a few days left in session and a lot of proposals to address, Pennsylvania’s Capitol is a hectic place.

    But in the flurry of activity, several advocacy groups have latched onto one particular measure: House Bill 1538.

    It would create a 30-day period where the names of police officers who use force that results in death or serious injury cannot be released.

    The proposal is sponsored by Rep. Martina White, R-Philadelphia, who said it’s about protecting officers from unfair public judgments.

    But some advocates are calling it an affront to transparency.

    Paula Knudsen, director of government affairs at the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association, said sharing information can actually help diffuse public anger.

    “By saying you’re going to completely black out the ability of police chiefs to talk to their communities, it’s really, in a way, widening that gap between the community and law enforcement,” she said.

    The measure has a shot at landing on Gov. Tom Wolf’s desk before the end of session. He hasn’t yet indicated whether he’d sign or veto it.

    Two other law enforcement-related bills are also moving through the Legislature. One would change public accessibility to video from police body cameras, and the other relates to police use of radar.

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