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November 17, 2015

Pa. House votes to prevent release of officers' names in shootings

Bill would reverse Philly policy

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives voted in favor Tuesday of a bill that would protect the names of police officers who fire their weapons.

The legislation would reverse outgoing Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey's decision this past summer to release the names of all officers who discharge their firearms within 72 hours of the incident in an effort to increase trust between the department and the community.

If the law is enacted, it would bar the release of officer's names being investigated who use their gun or employ force unless they are charged with a crime.

The bill passed the assembly 162 to 38.

In Philadelphia, the bill gets large support from the Fraternal Order of Police, an organization that believes the 72-hour policy threatens the safety of officers.

FOP president John McNesby backed the bill when it was introduced in September, calling the release of officers' names before charges were filed against them "absurd."

Local State Rep. Brian Sims, one of the dissenting votes, has his doubts, however. Per CBS Philly:

“I urge my colleagues please do not confuse your righteous support for the FOP with support for a feckless piece of legislation.”

Those against the bill argue it will further damage the relationship between residents and police. It now goes to the Senate for consideration.