Senate Passes Bill to Crack Down on Evading Arrests

HARRISBURG – The Senate today approved a bill that increases protections for Pennsylvania police by adding penalties for fleeing an officer on foot to evade arrest, according to Sen. Dan Laughlin (R-Erie), who supported the bill.

Senate Bill 814 adds the new evading offense as a felony offense under the crimes code. The bill also includes language to protect police animals in the event an individual is evading arrest.

Existing statute prohibits fleeing from an officer in a vehicle and struggling with an officer attempting to place an individual under lawful arrest. However, state law is silent with respect to fleeing an officer on foot, placing the officers or innocent bystanders at risk of injury.

Creating a new offense of “Evading Arrest or Detention by Foot” protects police officers who are lawfully attempting to place a suspect under arrest and community members who find themselves caught in the middle of a pursuit. The bill is modeled after a similar statute in the state of Texas.

The bill, which honors the memory of Scranton police Officer John Wilding who lost his life as a result of injuries he sustained pursuing suspects who fled the crime scene to evade arrest, will now be sent to the state House of Representatives for consideration.


Contact: Matt Azeles

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