By Mike DeNardo
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Fraternal Order of Police is backing a bill that would prevent release of the names of police officers involved in shootings, while the investigation is going on.
Republican State Representative Martina White, of Northeast Philadelphia, plans to introduce a bill Friday that would keep police departments from releasing the names of officers involved in shootings. She says that will protect them from retribution.
“We must not expose our law enforcement officials to the exact situations that they try to prevent us from experiencing.”
In July, Commissioner Charles Ramsey began the policy to make public the names of officers in police-involved shootings within 72 hours, unless there is a threat against the officer or his family.
FOP President John McNesby says that jeopardizes officers’ safety.
“This new policy of releasing officers names within three days is absolutely insane and absurd.”
Commissioner Ramsey said in an interview that he believes the department has not only the right, but an obligation as a public agency to release officers’ names if there is no threat.
“I’m doing what I feel is not only the best interest of members, but also the best interest of the public. You just can’t shoot people and expect to remain anonymous.”
Ramsey’s policy is aligned with a Justice Department recommendation that followed a review of officer-involved shootings in Philadelphia.
The FOP is already challenging the matter before the state Labor Relations Board, saying the change wasn’t negotiated with the union.