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Pa. could be first to slow the identification of police who shoot civilians

Its backers say it will protect police in the aftermath of a controversial shooting -- a spokesman for White said the measure was aimed at establishing a "cooling-down period" after a shooting, and added White has spoken to police officers who said they had faced threats from people they have arrested. The local Fraternal Order of Police has pushed the bill themselves, and hosted the press conference where White announced the bill last year.

Pennsylvania has a Republican-controlled legislature, and H.B. 1538 may well pass if it does make it to the floor this week — there are only three days left in this legislative session.

In Oregon, after one of the militia members occupying a wildlife refuge there was shot and killed by police, lawmakers quickly pushed a bill that would have allowed police to petition courts to shield the name of an officer involved in a shooting, if there was a credible threat to the officer. That bill has been buried in committee for months.

A spokeswoman for the Philadelphia police said that if the bill passes, the department will abide by the law.

In some cases, departments decline to release the names of officers involved in shootings at all. Pittsburgh, for example, won't have to change its policies at all if H.B. 1538 passes — police there don't release names of officers who shoot unless those officers are charged with a crime.

And the Washington Post found earlier this year that police officers remained anonymous in about 1 in 5 of the police shootings in 2015.