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Legal Information: Pennsylvania

Statutes: Pennsylvania

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December 14, 2023

6105. Responsibilities of law enforcement agencies

(a) General rule.–The police department of each municipal corporation, the Pennsylvania State Police and the sheriff of each county shall insure that all their officers, deputies and employees are familiar with the provisions of this chapter. Instruction concerning protection from abuse shall be made a part of the training curriculum for all trainee officers and deputies. All law enforcement agencies within this Commonwealth shall adopt a written domestic violence policy.

(b) Notice of services and rights.–Each law enforcement agency shall provide the abused person with oral and written notice of the availability of safe shelter and of domestic violence services in the community, including the hotline number for domestic violence services. The written notice, which shall be in English and Spanish and any additional language required by local rule of court, shall include the following statement:

“If you are the victim of domestic violence, you have the right to go to court and file a petition requesting an order for protection from domestic abuse pursuant to the Protection From Abuse Act (23 Pa.C.S. Ch. 61), which could include the following:

(1) An order restraining the abuser from further acts of abuse.

(2) An order directing the abuser to leave your household.

(3) An order preventing the abuser from entering your residence, school, business or place of employment.

(4) An order awarding you or the other parent temporary custody of or temporary visitation with your child or children.

(5) An order directing the abuser to pay support to you and the minor children if the abuser has a legal obligation to do so.”

(c) Mandatory report.–Each law enforcement agency shall make an incident report, on a form prescribed by the Pennsylvania State Police, consistent with the report required by the Federal National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS). The mandate for incident report completion shall not be operative until the Pennsylvania State Police have implemented NIBRS. The incident report may include the following:

(1) Names, addresses and telephone numbers of the victim, the accused, any witnesses and the caller.

(2) A second permanent address and telephone number for the victim, such as a close family member or a friend.

(3) A statement of the relationship between the victim and the accused.

(4) A narrative for the incident, including the date, time and whether the accused appeared intoxicated or under the influence of a controlled substance.

(5) What, if any, weapons were used or threatened to be used.

(6) A description of any injuries observed by the officer.

(7) A description of any injuries described by the victim but not observed by the officer and an indication that the injury was not observed.

(8) Documentation of any evidence that would tend to establish that a crime was committed.

(9) An indication of whether an arrest was made and the reason for electing not to arrest, whether there was a warrantless arrest, an arrest with a warrant or no arrest.

(10) Whether the accused actually was arrested or whether there is an outstanding arrest warrant.

(11) The crimes with which the accused was charged.

(12) If the accused was arrested and arraigned, whether bail was set and any conditions of bail imposed.

(13) If the officer did not arrest or seek an arrest warrant even though arrest was authorized, a detailed explanation of the reasons for the officer’s decision not to arrest.

(14) The names and ages of any children present in the household and their address and telephone number if children were relocated.

(15) Notation of previous incidents of which the officer is personally aware.

(16) Notation of previous incidents reported by the victim or witnesses.

(17) If an officer was injured in the incident, the nature and circumstances of the injury.

(d) Notice of arrest.–All law enforcement agencies shall make reasonable efforts to notify any adult or emancipated minor protected by an order issued under this chapter of the arrest of the defendant for violation of an order as soon as possible. Unless the person cannot be located, notice of the arrest shall be provided not more than 24 hours after preliminary arraignment.

(e) Statewide registry.–

(1) The Pennsylvania State Police shall establish a Statewide registry of protection orders and shall maintain a complete and systematic record and index of all valid temporary and final court orders of protection, court-approved consent agreements and a foreign protection order filed pursuant to section 6104(d) (relating to full faith and credit and foreign protection orders). The Statewide registry shall include, but need not be limited to, the following:

(i) The names of the plaintiff and any protected parties.

(ii) The name and address of the defendant.

(iii) The relationship between the plaintiff and defendant.

(iv) The date the order was entered.

(v) The date the order expires.

(vi) The relief granted under sections 6108(a)(1), (2), (4), (6) and (7) (relating to relief) and 6110(a) (relating to emergency relief by minor judiciary).

(vii) The judicial district in which the order was entered.

(viii) Where furnished, the Social Security number and date of birth of the defendant.

(ix) Whether or not any or all firearms, other weapons or ammunition were ordered relinquished.

(2) The prothonotary shall send, on a form prescribed by the Pennsylvania State Police, a copy of the protection order or approved consent agreement to the Statewide registry of protection orders so that it is received within 24 hours of the entry of the order. Likewise, amendments to or revocation of an order shall be transmitted by the prothonotary within 24 hours of the entry of the order for modification or revocation. The Pennsylvania State Police shall enter orders, amendments and revocations in the Statewide registry of protection orders within eight hours of receipt. Vacated or expired orders shall be purged from the registry.

(3) The registry of the Pennsylvania State Police shall be available at all times to inform courts, dispatchers and law enforcement officers of any valid protection order involving any defendant.

(4) When an order granting relief under section 6108(a)(7) has been entered by a court, such information shall be available to the Pennsylvania State Police for the purpose of conducting a criminal history records check in compliance with the applicable provisions of 18 Pa.C.S. Ch. 61 Subch. A (relating to Uniform Firearms Act).

(5) Information contained in the Statewide registry shall not be subject to access under the act of June 21, 1957 (P.L. 390, No. 212),1 referred to as the Right-to-Know Law.

(f) Information concerning crimes of violence.–Each police department in a city, borough or township and the Pennsylvania State Police shall transmit to the Pennsylvania State Police, in a manner prescribed by the Pennsylvania State Police, the information specified in subsection (c) related to crimes of violence between family or household members.

(g) Annual report.–The Pennsylvania State Police shall annually compile and analyze the incident report data received and publish a Statewide report which includes aggregate, county and department-based statistical profiles. The Pennsylvania State Police shall transmit a copy of the annual report to the Governor, the General Assembly and each domestic violence program in this Commonwealth.

(h) Enforcement of foreign protection orders.–

(1) All foreign protection orders shall have the presumption of validity in this Commonwealth, and police officers shall make arrests for violations thereof in the same manner as set for violations of protection orders issued within this Commonwealth. Until a foreign order is declared to be invalid by a court, it shall be enforced by all law enforcement personnel in this Commonwealth.

(2) A police officer shall rely upon any copy of a foreign protection order which has been presented to the officer by any source and may verify the existence of a protection order consistent with the provisions of section 6113(a) (relating to arrest for violation of order). The fact that a foreign protection order has not been filed with a prothonotary or entered into the Pennsylvania State Police registry shall not be grounds for law enforcement to refuse to enforce the order.

(i) Immunity.–The following entities shall be immune from civil liability for good faith conduct in any action arising in connection with a court’s finding that the foreign order is invalid or unenforceable:

(1) Law enforcement agencies and their agents and employees.

(2) County correctional and detention facilities and their agents and employees.

(3) Prothonotaries and their agents and employees.