ACLU-PA Position: Supports
HB 1531 would amend Title 44, Chapter 73 (law enforcement background investigations and employment information) to strengthen the requirements of the Municipal Police Officers’ Education and Training Commission’s (MPOETC) police misconduct database.
Following the murder of George Floyd in 2020, the creation of this database under Act 57 of 2020 was one of the few police reform bills enacted in Pennsylvania. While an important first step forward, a loophole in the 2020 law made it difficult to meaningfully prevent problematic police officers from being passed from department to department, with no way for those agencies to access—or even know about—an officer's previous record(s) of misconduct before being hired. HB 1531 would close this loophole and ensure that this vital database provides Pennsylvania communities with the kind of transparency, accountability, and compliance they deserve from law enforcement.
HB 1531 would:
- Expand the type of information law enforcement agencies are required to record in hiring reports.
- Authorize the General Assembly to demand the production of hiring reports from law enforcement agencies.
- Require 14 days public notice before a law enforcement agency can hire an officer whose separation from a previous department or agency includes any of the following:
- Substantiated allegations, substantiated complaints or completed or ongoing investigations, whether internal or external, of the use of excessive force, harassment, theft, discrimination, sexual abuse, sexual misconduct, domestic violence, coercion of a false confession, filing a false report or any finding of dishonesty at any level by an authority, internal or external, including judicial, civil or administrative.
- Criminal charges related to the above conduct.
- Impose penalties on law enforcement agencies that fail to maintain separation records, specifically:
- Making agencies ineligible to apply or otherwise receive state grants or funding for equipment, hiring, overtime expenses, or other incentives; and
- Making municipal, county, or other governmental entities with budget authority over law enforcement or other agencies that hire peace officers ineligible to receive state money or tax incentives.
Check the bill's status here.