HARRISBURG – Today, the Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee approved legislation that would create commendation medals for law enforcement, firefighters, and EMS personnel sponsored by Senator Mike Regan (R-Cumberland/York) and Senator Elder Vogel (R-Beaver).
Introduced as a package, Senate Bill 158 (law enforcement), Senate Bill 159 (firefighters), and Senate Bill 160 (EMS personnel) call for the establishment of a statewide medals of commendation program to honor those first responders who exhibit exceptional commitment to their line of work.
“What started last session as legislation to honor law enforcement has evolved into a multi-agency statewide program to honor our police officers, firefighters, and EMS personnel that not only run towards dangerous situations but go above and beyond the call of duty,” said Regan.
Each medals program would be established and overseen by the Municipal Police Officers Education & Training Commission (MPOETC), the State Fire Commissioner, and the Bureau of Emergency Medical Services of the Department of Health, respectively. Nominations would be made to those agencies for consideration, and ultimately, the selection of recipients would be determined by the Governor.
Three categories of medals could be awarded in each program: a Star of Valor, a Heart for a line of duty injury, and a Medal of Ultimate Sacrifice for a line of duty death, and the color of each medal would coordinate with the respective program – blue for law enforcement, red for firefighters, and white for EMS personnel.
“At a time when our law enforcement officers are facing public backlash, and all of our first responders answer the call, regardless of a pandemic, bad weather, or the danger they may face when they arrive on scene, this is the least we can do to recognize their selfless dedication to their communities and this Commonwealth,” expressed Regan.
The Committee amended SB 159 and SB 160 into SB 158, which now advances to the full Senate for consideration.
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