Hundreds of law enforcement officers from across Pennsylvania are in Harrisburg for the Fraternal Order of Police Conference.
Nearly 500 current and retired police officers are taking part in the conference at Hilton Harrisburg. We spoke with Les Neri, president of the Pennsylvania State Lodge, about legislation that would improve training for officers in the use of force.
“We always support increased training and money to increase the training,” Neri said.
Sen. Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) is sponsoring the bill that would require the Municipal Police Officers’ Education and Training Commission to develop a uniform policy on the use of force and deadly force.
Neri said civilians must do their part to avoid confrontations with police.
“I think there is a need to educate the public on the issue of compliance,” he said. “The saying we have in our profession is compliance keeps us all safe. It keeps the officer safe and the good citizens safe so that their actions are not misunderstood. It even keeps the bad guy safe.”
The bill also calls for enhanced classroom and field training on cultural awareness for police recruits and during police training.
“With the Kops program, Officer Friendly, and DARE program, a lot has been cut back in recent years because of budget issues,” Neri said. “I think the more exposure that both sides have, especially younger people, the better off we will be.”
Costa said he hopes to introduce his bill when lawmakers return from their summer recess.