New Law to Maximize Law Enforcement Resources
A new law taking effect early this fall will help enhance the safety of police officers and the public.
Act 57 of 2018
expands the types of officers who can act outside their jurisdictional boundaries in certain urgent situations. Currently, only police officers employed by a municipality can come to the aid of other departments in specific situations. The new law would expand that authority to non-municipal officers who must receive training and be certified under Act 120
, the Municipal Police Officers Education and Training Act. This may include officers serving with airport authority, college and university or certain other police departments, as well as agents in the Office of Attorney General. This will help facilitate more cooperation among different types of police departments and agencies, ultimately improving public safety for everyone.
Raising Awareness of ChildLine Reporting System
All schools in the Commonwealth will be required to publicly display a poster containing the statewide toll-free number for reporting suspected child abuse, beginning in the 2018-19 school year. Known as ChildLine, Pennsylvania’s statewide toll-free hotline number to report suspected child abuse is 1-800-932-0313. Posting this critical information in schools will let students know they have somewhere to turn if they need to report abuse or neglect that they’ve suffered or if they suspect another child is being abused or neglected. The poster is required to be displayed in a high-traffic, public area widely used by students. The poster also would include the address of the Department of Human Services’ website, keepkidssafe.pa.gov
, that provides information and resources related to child protection.
Sex Offenders Now Prohibited from ARD
Individuals charged with sex offenses against children will be prohibited from being placed into the state’s Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program (ARD) under a new law. The ARD program is designed to give a first-time offender a second chance by avoiding the consequences of being convicted of a crime. Under the ARD program, if a defendant successfully completes a period of supervision and follows the requirements imposed by the court, the case is dismissed. Though most Pennsylvania prosecutors judiciously reserve ARD for those who are truly deserving, the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure currently have allowed prosecutors complete discretion to recommend any defendant for placement into the program regardless of the crime. Act 50 of 2018
will help ensure that predators who sexually assault children will never avoid prosecution.
Representative Mike Peifer
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Patricia Hippler