Pa. Gov. Tom Wolf signed an executive order that will create a citizen advisory commission to oversee the state police.
The new State Law Enforcement Advisory Commission will have several responsibilities, according to Wolf:
- Reviewing investigations, including investigations of police-involved shooting and allegations of discrimination during law enforcement encounters
- Looking into the scope of those investigations -- seeing whether they were done promptly, fairly, impartially and in a complete manner
- Preparing a report with the results and recommendations for the agencies involved
“We don’t want anybody getting shot in the back, we don’t want anybody getting choked and killed. We don’t want anybody being gunned down unnecessarily. This is very dangerous, (and) it’s becoming a constant situation. We see it more and more,” said Pennsylvania NAACP President Kenneth Huston.
Huston got an invitation to join the commission, saying its goal is transparency and accountability.
Huston told Channel 11 that this isn’t meant to be an attack on law enforcement.
“I don’t think we’re anti-police at all. I think what we’re doing is having accountability. Just like in any profession, you need accountability,” Huston said.
However, the local fraternal order of police said officers have been overly examined.
“The police profession is the most over-regulated and most investigated out of any other profession. Doctors aren’t investigated this much, politicians aren’t investigated this much,” said vice president Patrick Knepp.
The citizen police review board said the issue is lack of standardization across police departments.
“A dentist pulling a tooth in Pittsburgh should be pretty much the same as a dentist pulling a tooth in Williamsport, in Scranton, in wherever. That’s how law enforcement should be going,” said CPRB executive director Elizabeth Pittinger.
Meanwhile, the fraternal order of police in Pittsburgh said it is too soon to take a stance on whether this commission will be effective, but they already have several steps in place to make sure there is accountability.
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