To Gov. Tom Wolf.

We urge you to sign House Bill 27 once it’s passed by the Senate and arrives on your desk.

We believe releasing the names of police officers before an investigation into an officer-involved shooting has concluded is irresponsible and places police officers and their families in jeopardy. The Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association agrees that officers involved in such incidents should be identified publicly only if they are charged with a crime. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), by law, withholds the names of agents involved in use of force incidents.

As detailed in the recent FBI Assailant Study, police officers are being “demoralized” and “de-policing” to avoid any behavior that could cost them their jobs, or worse, their lives. The FBI attributes this to the spike in attacks on police last year, fueled by an anti-police narrative spread by the media, activists and some elected leaders.

It’s time for you to lead Pennsylvania in a direction that shows you care for our law enforcement and the law abiding citizens they protect. House Bill 27 is a middle-ground solution that allows for a period of 30 days to pass before an officer’s name may be disclosed or until an investigation is complete, whichever comes first. This bill allows time for the factual evidence to come to light so we can understand the events that transpired. It gives officers the reassurance they need to do their work in a proactive manner and continue to keep our communities safe.

In our world of instant news, we have learned the hard way that false narratives against officers who use their firearm can gain momentum very quickly. That negativity has led to riots, officers’ names being tarnished, careers ruined and even their lives lost. No one, including officers, should be presumed guilty before the facts of a case are known.

The FBI does not release the names of their agents by law, and the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association believes innocent officers should never have their names released publicly. The General Assembly, Fraternal Order of Police, and citizens across the Commonwealth overwhelmingly agree with House Bill 27. We urge you to take House Bill 27 seriously and sign it into law when it reaches your desk.