PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Since the shooting of teenager Antwon Rose II by an East Pittsburgh Police officer earlier this year, there have have been protests and the filing of criminal charges, and now there’s new legislation in Harrisburg.
State Rep. Ed Gainey said in order for everyone to see police and community relations improve, policies need to change and procedures need to be put in place. Diversity training is one example.
“There’s no reason anyone should have to run and get shot in the back and be unarmed,” said Rep. Gainey said during a news conference with other state legislators on Thursday morning. “If you’re gonna take an oath to be an officer, you should make sure you understand the culture and neighborhood in which you work.”
WATCH: State Legislators News Conference —
“Over the course of the past three months, we have conducted hearings, we have met with many individuals in the community, we have met with many organizations, we have reviewed studies,” added State Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa.
Sen. Costa is another legislator working to get bills pushed through in Harrisburg.
The legislation focuses on three categories:
- Police administration and management,
- Community relations,
- Event response.
Legislators believe improving officer education and training and increasing pay will help to improve police-community relations.
“With increased pay, we will be able to ensure keeping the best in the force. With increased pay, we will be able to ensure they’re not coming into work having spent another 15 hours over weekend in order to pay bills,” said State Rep. Dan Miller.
Having oversight and developing a policy board, changing standards when it comes to police using deadly force, and adding a police shooting response team and special prosecutor are the other ways legislators feel will help to improve relations. Legislators said they don’t want to see another shooting like the one involving Rose happen again.
Sen. Costa said this legislation will soon be introduced in the House and the Senate. Legislators said this conversation will continue when they go back to Harrisburg on Sept. 24.
Sen. Costa said they would like to see these bills signed into law by the governor at the beginning of next year.