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Colonel Robert Evanchick Statement

June 5, 2020

Instances of police brutality and misconduct exist in the United States of America.

It is the responsibility of the leaders in law enforcement to hold ourselves and our officers accountable, and to work toward a justice system that serves all Americans fairly and equitably.

I have been listening to protestors in Pennsylvania and around the country over the past several days and those statements are what I have consistently heard. I believe they are true, and only by acknowledging this reality can we begin to move forward in a meaningful way.  

Several years ago, the Pennsylvania State Police created the Heritage Affairs Section. The Heritage Affairs Section is dedicated to training our troopers and local law enforcement agencies in areas of the ramifications of implicit bias, de-escalation, and the history of policing in America that explains, in part, why some communities may not see law enforcement in a positive light. The Heritage Affairs Section continues to expand with the goal of building stronger ties to historically underserved communities, but I recognize our work is far from over.

The video depicting the killing of Mr. George Floyd was painful for me to watch as an American and as a trooper. Not only because of the action of the law enforcement officer with his knee on the neck of Mr. Floyd, but while three other officers were present. 

The Pennsylvania State Police Call of Honor directs our troopers to obey the law and to enforce it, without any consideration given to class, color, creed, or condition. The Call of Honor also instructs our troopers to be of service to anyone who may be in danger or distress. Mr. Floyd, while restrained, clearly demonstrated signs of physical distress. 

Every day, I see the men and women of the Pennsylvania State Police demonstrate uncommon bravery, commitment, and compassion within the course of their duties as troopers. We are not perfect, but I hope with all of my heart that a Pennsylvania State Trooper would fulfill his or her duty to act and fulfill the Call of Honor if ever faced with a similar situation. 

To the thousands of Pennsylvanians exercising their first amendment rights to protest injustice: The Pennsylvania State Police stand with you. We take no joy in riot gear, shields, ballistic helmets, and armored vehicles. But we take seriously our duty to protect our troopers and the communities we serve—your communities, our communities—from those who are inciting violence and causing harm. I hope we can continue the conversation peacefully and I pledge for the Pennsylvania State Police, the conversation will lead to action.

Colonel Robert Evanchick
Commissioner
Pennsylvania State Police