HARRISBURG (WOLF) — After weeks of protesting and rioting across the nation, the battle for police reform now the focus of hearings at the state capitol.
Today marked the first day of hearings between the Senate Judiciary and the Law and Justice Committees.
“There is no denying that racial and other disparities plagued Pennsylvania and many other states across our country," said Senator Lisa Baker (R) 20th District.
The Senate discussing two house bills, including one that would require officers to train on interacting with people of diverse racial and economic backgrounds.
“It is far easier to argue over fault and impact, then to have a conversation about effective solutions," said Senator Baker.
A number of witnesses, including Attorney General Josh Shapiro testifying this morning.
“Look, I think it is clear to anyone paying attention that we still live with the consequences of slavery and real racism," said Attorney General Shapiro (D).
Senate Judiciary Committee chairwoman Lisa Baker said she is planning to tour State Police facilities with bipartisan members.
“I believe it is safe to say that our law enforcement and our justice system have lost the trust of the people they serve," said Senator Larry Farnese 1st District (D)
The other House Bill discussed calls for a more thorough background check for applicants.
However, according to the State Police its background check is already a rigorous process.
"There’s a polygraph examination which is a lie detector test, we don’t want anyone who’s not telling the truth," said Trooper Anthony Petroski, community services officer.
Troopers are already subject to written and verbal exams, before turning over information to a criminal investigator.
"The investigator then looks into the applicant to make sure what they’re telling is the truth, make sure that they’re not hiding anything," said Trooper Petroski.
According to the Senate, Black Lives Matter, chose not to participate in today's hearing, however state lawmakers remain hopeful they will testify in the days ahead.
Hearings will continue tomorrow. Some senate bills are also being discussed, including one that would assign a special prosecutor to review deadly shootings.