The state of Pennsylvania will now require officers looking for new roles in law enforcement to disclose their previous employment records, and mandate that law enforcement agencies detail why they hired officers with prior offenses, as well as create a database to document disciplinary actions taken in the face of misconduct.
According to CNN, this new law came from one of two police reform bills that Governor Tom Wolf signed on Tuesday. As the report notes, Pennsylvania’s legislature pushed the bills in response to the brutal police-involved killing of George Floyd.
The other bill that Wolf signed into law requires mental health evaluations of officers as a condition of continued employment, WGAL reports, as well as training on trauma-informed care, use of deadly force, de-escalation, community and cultural awareness, implicit bias and other techniques.
“Let me say this very clearly: Black lives matter,” Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said before the bills were signed, according to CNN. “But saying it—that’s just not enough. We must listen and we must take action. And today…will be a down payment on the types of reforms we need to deliver on here in Pennsylvania.”
Wolf noted in signing the laws that they were “still not enough,” acknowledging systemic racism as a “complex issue.”
“Systemic racism is a complex issue,” he said. “It has existed for centuries and in so many ways, it’s ingrained in our society. And I’m not going to downplay the challenges that we all face in eradicating it, but we have to find a way to eradicate it. We need to end racism.”