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PA Officers Need Your Help

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  • PA Officers Need Your Help

    Police Officers in the State of Pennsylvania, Need Your Help

    In November of 2002, police officers in Pennsylvania attempted to have the Pennsylvania Legislature pass a Senate Bill that would eliminate residency requirements for all police officers in Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, many of the Pennsylvania Legislators caved to political pressure and scare tactics, even after a letter writing campaign and many trips to the states capitol by police officers and their supporters. The Senate Bill, number 1539, "The Law Enforcement Officer Residency Act," was tabled on the Senate floor after a motion was made by Senator Edwin Erickson, a former teacher. Senate Bill 1539 was then tabled and died in the last Legislative hours of the year. Police officers across the state were shocked and saddened by the outcome of their Senate Bill. They were especially angry, due to the fact that in June of 2001, many of the same Legislators that voted to table SB 1539, voted in favor of a Senate Bill that eliminated residency requirements for teachers in Pennsylvania.

    The Pennsylvania Legislature in June of 2001, had no problem giving the teachers the right to choose where they wanted to live, and the teachers, unlike the police officers in PA, barely had to lift a finger, in order to get their residency requirements lifted. The only argument that teachers used in 2001 was the fact that recruitment in certain areas was terrible and school districts had to bring in many teachers to fill vacant positions. On this position, the Pennsylvania Legislature, overwhelmingly voted for the teachers and eliminated residency requirements for them.

    This has outraged police officers and their families, for they lobbied the Pennsylvania Legislature and they explained that police officers have far more reasons, such as the safety of their family members against retribution from criminals that they had arrested. Thousands of police officers from across the state of PA sent letters to each Legislator, explaining why they needed residency requirements lifted and these same police officers also told the Pennsylvania Legislature of crimes that occurred against their family members and themselves, simply because they were police officers. Once again, the Pennsylvania Legislature, some of them even after having been police officers before their political careers, failed to recognize the problems that police officers face due to residency requirements. It was a sad day for police officers across the state and many felt that the Pennsylvania Legislature, simply did not care about their cause, mainly because police officers, unlike teachers in PA, don't contribute vast amounts of money to political parties and campaigns.

    Now in 2003, police officers in Pennsylvania have launched a new campaign to eliminate residency requirements. On February 12, 2003, Senator Jane Orie, along with several other Senators, introduced a new Senate Bill. This bill, Senate Bill 290, "The Law Enforcement Officer Residency Act," is currently in the Senate Law and Justice Committee. With the introduction of SB 290, Pennsylvania police officers and their supporters are gearing up for a new fight for the elimination of residency requirements. They have once again, begun a letter writing campaign and have even developed a website for all police officers and their supporters, to fight to have SB 290 passed and signed into law. On April 29, 2003, police officers from across the state, will gather in Harrisburg and present their case to the Pennsylvania Legislature. On that day, they will lobby each Legislator and hope to gain the support, that Pennsylvania teachers had for their elimination of residency requirements.

    Now, police officers in Pennsylvania, are asking for the support of every police officer and supporter. They especially need information from other states that had their residency requirements lifted. They are calling all cops, their families and their supporters, to come to Harrisburg on April 29, 2003, and show the Pennsylvania Legislature that this is extremely important to the police officers in Pennsylvania and the Legislature should stand with their police officers on this issue. They are also asking that you contact the Pennsylvania Legislature and the Governor, and let them know why this is important and that you stand behind the men and women in law enforcement. If they can eliminate residency requirements for teachers, they can surely eliminate them for the police officers in the state of Pennsylvania. They ask for your support on this important issue and please assist them, any way that you can.

    The website: pittsburghpolicefop.com/freedom.htm

    Any suggestions or comments, please send an email to: supportPA [email protected]

  • #2
    Seems to me that this is a collective bargaining issue more than a legislative one.

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    • #3
      No, it is not. One department in Pennsylvania, the city of Pittsburgh, actually has legislation stating that they cannot win this issue in arbitration. In 1973, the Pennsylvania Legislature passed a bill that prevents Pittsburgh police officers from bargaining residency requirements. You make it sound like this is an easy deal. Ask Philadelphia officers. It is not, and this is why police officers in PA are trying to have SB 290 passed. This law, if passed, would apply to every police officer in PA. It is an issue that we need support of everyone, including state troopers. Although it wouldn't affect state troopers, the support would be helpful to the rest of the police officers in the state.

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