President Neri Responds To Governor Wolf's Veto Of HB 1538
STATE FOP ISSUES STATEMENT ON GOV. WOLF’S VETO OF BILL TO IDENTIFY POLICE OFFICERS INVOLVED IN DEADLY FORCE INCIDENTS
HARRISBURG, Pa. (Nov. 21, 2016) – Fraternal Order of Police, State Lodge President Les Neri today issued the following statement following Gov. Wolf’s decision to veto the bill that would have provided a 30-day “cooling off” period before the names of police officers involved in the use of deadly force incidents could be released.
“We are disappointed in Gov. Wolf’s veto today. The safety and security of the men and women who protect and serve our communities is and always will be our first priority. Sadly, the governor does not see it the same way. Our officers step into harm’s way time and time again, as evidenced by the killing and ambush shootings of multiple police officers that occurred across our country just this past weekend.
“In today’s internet age, when information is readily available at someone’s fingertips, people are quick to rush to judgment without full comprehension of the facts. This has, unfortunately, played out with law enforcement across the country in times when officers have been forced to make life-and- death decisions in fractions of a second. In the aftermath, the totality of the situation is often brushed aside for the convenience of getting a quick story that fits a specific narrative and possibly condemning an officer for what a thorough investigation may, and many times has, determine to be a proper use of force.
“This rush to judgment not only puts the officer at risk but also their loved ones. If this trend continues, law enforcement officers will be forced to second-guess every decision they have been trained to make in the service of protecting their communities, for fear subjecting themselves or their families to danger bred from a rush to judgment absent of the facts.
“House Bill 1538, which the governor vetoed today, was the result of much deliberation from varying viewpoints and interests, including law enforcement groups at both the municipal and state level, as well as the District Attorneys Association, the Office of Attorney General and the Chiefs of Police Association. By allowing an investigation to become complete or delaying the release of the involved officer’s name, time is provided for the authorities to properly and completely investigate an incident. When this occurs, the release of the officer’s name would be done with an accurate picture of what occurred, good or bad. If the investigation revealed that the use of force was unnecessary, then the officer’s information should be released and they should face appropriate repercussions.
“The 40,000 members of the Pennsylvania FOP State Lodge had hoped that the governor would have taken the final step in shielding law enforcement officers during times of potential danger and stress by signing House Bill 1538, which was overwhelmingly passed by both chambers of the Legislature with bi-partisan support, but that is not the case.
“The Pennsylvania FOP State Lodge stands committed to finding a solution that addresses these serious concerns and respectfully urges Gov. Wolf to do the same.”