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State Law Enforcement Committee tackles police use of excessive force

The 27-member committee's goal is to review law enforcement's policies and practices across the Commonwealth.

HARRISBURG, Pa. — As the FBI struggle to collect statistics on police officers' use of force, in Pennsylvania, community leaders worked to find solutions between the law enforcement and the community.

On Friday, the Pennsylvania State Law Enforcement Citizen Advisory Commission reviewed criminal investigations dating back to 2016, analyzing the use of force and discrimination.

"The purpose of being here is to really work through some of the challenges and the perceptions law enforcement when interacting with the community," said Keir Bradford-Grey, a commissioner.

Recommendations that were approved for Pennsylvania State Police included:

  • Requiring all criminal investigations of all incidents that resulted in death, serious bodily harm or in custody deaths to be reviewed by an outside agency.
  • Review polices relating to the transportation of juvenile offenders for civil enforcement purposes.
  • Consider purchasing additional "caged cars."
  • Revise notification letters where citizens can refile bias based complaints for a full investigation.

Last year, Governor Wolf created the 27-member committee (21 voting members and 6 Pennsylvania citizens)  to review and improve law enforcement agencies across the commonwealth.

Some cite the distribution of offers as one of the reasons for mounting conflict.

"If you're outsourcing white officers into a predominantly minority neighborhood, you're going to get this type of interaction between them because for one, the community don't know them, they don't know the culture and people in the community," said Kevin Maxson, a community activist.

In the new year, the advisory says they hope to implement strategies to combat strong use of force and biased policing.

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