Editorial: Pennsylvania bill that hinders transparency is not the way to protect police

Thirteen days ago, lawmakers in the state House passed a bill to shield a police officer’s name when a firearm is discharged or he uses force while on duty — without defining what the “use of force” might include — unless the officer is charged with a crime.

Under the bill, the name of a charged officer could be released only if the release of the officer’s name could not “reasonably be expected to create a risk of harm to the person or property of the law enforcement officer” or to the person or property of a family member of the officer.

The measure, House Bill 1538, passed Nov. 17, 162-38. The 115 Republicans who voted yes included all 11 House members representing Lancaster County. They were joined by 47 Democrats. Four Republicans and 34 Democrats, (including state Rep. Mike Sturla of Lancaster, voted no.

The worry that propelled HB 1538 is understandable. Continue…