– Following House and Senate passage of House Bill 1614
, legislation that would maintain the ability of local police to work together with other law enforcement entities for the joint purpose of public safety is poised to be signed into law, announced Rep. Rob Kauffman (R-Franklin), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and sponsor of the bill.
House Bill 1614 was authored to remedy a recent Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision in Commonwealth v. Hlubin that would render joint task force operations between local police and state and federal law enforcement entities illegal. The decision was made because many of the task forces operating within the Commonwealth are comprised of police officers from multiple jurisdictions to investigate criminal acts, which the court determined to be counter to language in the Municipal Police Jurisdiction Act.
To view Kauffman’s video comments, click here
“Since the early 1980s our local police have acted together with the Pennsylvania State Police, the Pennsylvania attorney general, district attorneys or federal law enforcement,” said Kauffman. “They formed task forces to address various kinds of criminal activity, such as DUI checkpoints, human trafficking, county heroin interdiction operations and anti-terrorism efforts. These continue to be effective and instrumental collaborations in fighting crime, and House Bill 1614 ensures these joint efforts can continue.”
Franklin County District Attorney Matt Fogal favors the legislation and said, “I truly appreciate this responsive, swift effort to ensure that our law enforcement operations are not negatively impacted. In Franklin County, literally all law enforcement agencies are united by the creed of ‘One Team, One Fight,’ and this bill allows for us to continue to work together efficiently, for the good of the public we serve.”
Kauffman noted that House Bill 1614 would not eliminate local authorities from the decision-making process over law enforcement deployment; it would simply allow a municipality the ability to enter into an intergovernmental agreement that would allow local police to act quickly when prompt joint action is necessary and desirable.
Chambersburg Police Department’s Chief of Police Ron Camacho noted, “The ability of small and mid-sized police departments to share resources is of vital importance to protecting and serving the citizens of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. In today’s day and age of expensive technology and limited manpower, police departments have to have a mechanism to share both.”
When asked about the bill, Chambersburg Mayor Walt Bietsch said “I absolutely support House Bill 1614. It is legislation that will make Pennsylvania much safer for our citizens and law enforcement.”
House Bill 1614 passed both legislative chambers by unanimous vote and is expected to be signed into law by the governor in the coming days.
Legislation authored by Rep. Rob Kauffman (R-Franklin), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, that would maintain the ability of local police to work together with other law enforcement entities for the joint purpose of public safety is on its way to the governor’s desk to be signed into law following passage in both the House and Senate.
Representative Rob Kauffman
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Tricia Lehman