Protest generic_NCPA

Harrisburg, Pa. – Senate Democrats on Friday introduced a resolution to form a task force on law enforcement response to large-scale civil rights demonstrations.

Senate Res. 52 establishes a 20-member task force to identify best practices for law enforcement to prevent otherwise-peaceful demonstrations from escalating to violent protests.

The legislation was introduced by Vincent Hughes (D-Montgomery) and co-sponsored by Wayne Fontana (D-Allegheny), Timothy Kearney (D-Chester), Judith Schwank (D-Berks), Carolyn T. Comitta (D-Chester) and Art Haywood (D-Montgomery). 

The resolution calls for "a thorough and comprehensive study" of law enforcement procedures for responding to large-scale demonstrations, such as crowd control tactics and less-than-lethal force. Task force members would recommend changes to state law and consist of the following:

  • Two senators
  • Pa. Emergency Management Council chairman
  • Pa. State Police commissioner
  • Pa. Attorney General
  • Pa. Adjutant General
  • Mayor of a first-class city (or their designee)
  • Mayor of a second-class city (or their designee)
  • Police commissioner of a first-class city (or their designee)
  • Police commissioner of a second-class city (or their designee)
    • 10 members appointed by the Governor
      • One member of the Pa. League of Cities
      • One member of the Pa. County Commissioners Association
      • Two mayors of a third-class city
      • One chief of police of a third-class city's police department
      • One chief of police of a university police department
      • One current or former federal law enforcement officer with experience handling protests
      • One current or former member of the U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division with experience handling claims of civil rights violations
      • Two attorneys or legal educators specializing in civil rights or Constitutional law

A 10-member advisory committee would consist of the following, all selected by the Joint State Government Commission:

  • Two representatives from the Pa. chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People 
  • Two representatives from the American Civil Liberties Union
  • Two representatives from Pa. chapters of the National Lawyers Guild
  • One representative from the Pa. District Attorneys Association
  • One representative from the Pa. State Troopers Association
  • One representative from the Pa. Chief of Police Association
  • One representative from the Pa. Sheriffs' Association

Public stakeholders would offer input to the task force through a process to be established by the Joint State Government Commission. The resolution was referred to the Law & Justice Committee for consideration.