Hermitage police chief weighs in on police reform bills signed into law this week

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'I think maybe this might make it a little more uniform, maybe that was the intent,' Chief Eric Jewell said

HERMITAGE, Pa. (WKBN) – Hermitage’s police chief said two bills signed into law this week by Gov. Tom Wolf should help bring uniformity across Pennsylvania’s police departments. 

HB 1841 requires police officer’s employment history to be disclosed and a searchable database for potential hires. 

When it comes to looking for new hires, Hermitage Police Chief Eric Jewell said his department is already doing much of what the new laws require. He’s a fan of a statewide database, though.

“Any database that helps us gather information relative to background investigations, we’re for,” Chief Jewell said. 

The other law, HB 1910, adds new training on use of force and will make an officer undergo a mental health exam after any use-of-force incident.

“We require our officers in any lethal force incident to have a mental health check-up by a professional,” Chief Jewell said. “We’ve had that policy for a long time. Obviously, a lethal force incident, deadly force incident, is a very traumatic incident for all involved, and we want our officers not only physically, mentally and emotionally fit to come back to duty afterwards”

The chief said while his department is already following some of the new mandates, there is a lack of uniformity across the state because there are so many small departments. 

“I think maybe this might make it a little more uniform, maybe that was the intent,” he said. 

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