South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

Reps. Readshaw, Kortz announce bill to improve police hiring process

 


State Reps. Harry Readshaw and Bill Kortz, both D-Allegheny, have announced they will soon introduce legislation that would improve police departments' hiring process by ensuring investigators have all the information they need to select the best candidates.

Their bill would require an applicant's previous employers to disclose employment information to the law enforcement agency seeking to hire the applicant as a police officer, or to a licensed investigator working on behalf of the law enforcement agency.

The disclosure requests would be in writing and be required to have an authorization signed by the applicant and the employer conducting the investigation. If the previous employer refuses to disclose the information, a court would be able to compel the release of the employment information.

"Law enforcement agencies take on the critically important duty of stopping crime and protecting the people of Pennsylvania," Rep. Readshaw said. "Right now, if an officer is moving from one law enforcement agency to another, his previous employer isn't required to disclose meaningful employment records to the receiving agency, which could include serious disciplinary actions.

"We need to make sure police departments have access to all the information they need to select the best and brightest men and women to uphold the peace and safety of our communities."

"Our legislation would also free an applicant's previous employer of civil liability for sharing employment information in good faith with a police department looking to hire a new officer," Rep. Kortz said. "These law enforcement agencies often feel that they can't hand over employment information related to their former officers, out of fear of civil liability.

"This bill would give law enforcement agencies peace of mind to exchange information, allowing them to hire police officers that will uphold the integrity of the profession and protect the public."

The bill's language was developed following extensive conversations with retired Pittsburgh Chief of Police and former state Rep. Dom Costa.

 

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