Costa’s ‘Officer Down’ bill poised for final passage in the House
Bill would create system to catch those suspected of killing or injuring law enforcement officers
HARRISBURG, Sept. 21 – State Rep. Dom Costa’s H.B. 2629 that would create an Officer Down Alert System to help catch those suspected of killing or seriously injuring law enforcement officers was reported out of the House Judiciary Committee today, and is now poised for final passage in the House.
Like the state’s Amber Alert system to catch suspected child abductors, Officer Down would use media broadcasts and messaging signs along highways to provide information about the vehicle of a suspected law enforcement assailant.
Costa, D-Allegheny, said the bill is about public safety.
“If someone is willing to harm an armed police officer, a protector of our society, what would they do to someone who isn’t armed? This system would put information out to the public so if someone is on the run, we have the eyes of Pennsylvania citizens on the lookout, helping police capture this dangerous person,” Costa said.
Under the bill, the Pennsylvania State Police would establish and maintain the Pennsylvania Officer Down System. An alert would be issued if the following criteria are met:
A law enforcement officer has been killed or seriously injured by an offender;
The investigating law enforcement agency determines that the suspect poses a serious risk or threat to the public or other law enforcement personnel;
A detailed description of the make and model of the suspect’s vehicle, or a complete or partial registration plate number of the suspect’s vehicle, is available for broadcast to the public; and
The investigating law enforcement agency having jurisdiction recommends activation of the system.
Similar systems are currently being used in Alabama, Florida, Oklahoma and Texas.