U.S. Senator Bob Casey introduced bipartisan reforms today he says will improve the way law enforcement interact with people with disabilities.
“We have to raise the consciousness, uh, across society about the problem we have that we’re trying to solve with these bills.”
The help act, short for the human services emergency logistics program act, and the safe interactions act were introduced by Senator Bob Casey earlier Today.
Senator Casey was joined by a number of guest speakers, including Kevin Ressler, the president and CEO of United Way of Lancaster, who stressed the vitality of these reforms.
“Just like you want a police officer to show up to an in progress crime, we need to get a case worker to show up to the in-process crisis, with an understanding of trauma informed care, and knowing that people are not their whole selves in the moment of interaction.”
Ressler’s point is addressed in these reforms, as the lead initiative would divert some non criminal emergency calls away from 911 operators towards 211 and 988 lines, which will be handled by human services and mental health support agencies.
Lieutenant Eric Kroll of the Pittsburgh police department says these bills are wins for everyone.
“That in turn will make the community safer, it’ll reengage, it’ll allow more trust in law enforcement, (pause) and it, it, it will provide necessary services to those who are most vulnerable.”
In addition, Lieutenant Kroll believes police officers will not object to these new rules.
“As, as a law enforcement officer, and the ones that I work with, I don’t see anyone opposing anything that’s going to help us do our jobs better. Um, this is one of these things that’s going to support law enforcement, not work against it, so I can’t see there being any opposition to that.”