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Police complaint records missing, reports hidden

Plus, Gov. Shapiro's emergency IT hire.

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A daily newsletter by The logo of Spotlight PA, an independent, nonpartisan newsroom producing investigative journalism for Pennsylvania.
Your Postmaster: Colin Deppen

Thursday, February 1, 2024
Today: Missing records, cybersecurity, East Palestine, border control, candidate threat, murder motive, and Black History Month begins.

An NAACP study of the policies and practices of the 39 law enforcement agencies in Bucks County found gaps in how those departments track complaints against officers, traffic stops, and use-of-force incidents.

The group began the project in 2020 following the murder of George Floyd by a Minnesota police officer and found about 46% of the Bucks County departments surveyed had not fully adopted the use-of-force guidelines that the association published in 2020 following the killing.

In many areas, the group could not make conclusions because police agencies either could not or did not provide records — record-keeping gaps seen statewide among Pennsylvania's thousand-plus agencies.

Read Spotlight PA's full report: NAACP study: Police behind on adopting George Floyd-inspired use-of-force rules.


"The only thing I can see is what’s in front of me right now: to heal Mark. I will be good to nobody if I don’t put myself first right now..."

State Rep. Mark Rozzi (D., Berks) on leaving politics — and dropping out of this year's state auditor general race — to focus on his mental health
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A winter landscape near Schaefferstown, Lebanon County, via Pamela L. Have a Pennsylvania photo to share? Send it to us by email, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania.

A sunny photo of farm silos and dormant rows of crops.
Today's top news story in Pennsylvania.CRISIS HIRE: The Shapiro administration is paying a consultant specializing in information technology crises $530,000 in a 30-day contract meant to safeguard the state’s data center, this after a "human error" deleted state police records and more.

Today's second top news story in Pennsylvania.ONE-YEAR MARK: This month marks one year since the fiery and toxic train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, a stone's throw from the Pennsylvania border. President Joe Biden is set to visit. The Pittsburgh Union Progress reports on the lives the crash upended
Today's third top news story in Pennsylvania.
ON THE BORDER: GOP leaders in Pennsylvania's Senate are siding with Greg Abbott in the Texas governor's border control standoff with federal agents, while more than 40 Republicans in the state House want Gov. Shapiro to send material support to aid the cause.

Today's fourth top news story in Pennsylvania.PA-11 DROPOUT: Dem congressional candidate Dave Baker, who threatened a Lancaster reporter who refused to strike from the record a comment in which Baker admitted he "sold marijuana openly" in the past, has dropped out of the race, via LNP (paywall).

Today's fifth top news story in Pennsylvania.CONTENT WARNING: A Bucks County man voicing right-wing conspiracy theories has been arrested after allegedly killing his father, a federal worker, and sharing the aftermath on YouTube. NBC reports the video was titled "Call To Arms For American Patriots."

BLACK HISTORY: It's Black History Month, and residents of Delaware County are celebrating the restoration of a historic Black church in Concord Township more than 25 years after it was destroyed by arson.

BYGONE ERA: The Harrisburg Mall is closing, with the last tenants told to vacate by today to make way for its demolition. PennLive has photos of the mall in its heyday, complete with Richard Simmons.

MALL CRIMES: Speaking of dead malls, Allegheny County's district attorney is charging the owners of the Century III Mall outside Pittsburgh, calling the property "a monument to blight," via Tube City Almanac.

MUSK HOUSE: The Philly house where journalism critic Elon Musk lived as a UPenn student has been bought by the school's student-run newspaper and will serve as its new home, via The Inquirer (paywall).

GROUNDHOG DAY: Tomorrow is Groundhog Day. NBC10 reports on the unusual holiday's origins and reach, noting there have been weather-predicting groundhogs in at least 28 states and Canadian provinces.

Are you a Berks County resident? We're seeking community input! Join one of our upcoming Spotlight PA - Berks County listening sessions:

Feb. 21: 5:30-7:30 p.m. at West Lawn-Wyomissing Hills Library | Register Here

A listening session is an informal, small-group discussion in which we are seeking your thoughts, opinions, and concerns on local news coverage, information access, community information needs, and news consumption habits. Visit spotlightpa.org/berks for more information.
Unscramble and send your answer to scrambler@spotlightpa.org. We'll shout out winners here, and one each week will get some Spotlight PA swag. Answers submitted by 5:30 p.m. on issue date will be counted.

Yesterday's answer: Photogenic

Congrats to our daily winners: Bob C., David T., Barbara F., Becky C., Jessica K., Tom M., Jodi R., Judith D., Daniel M., Don H., Tracy S., Dan A., Jana C., Vicki U., Kim C., Sharon B., Susan N.-Z., Marla C., Daniel S., Beth T., Stacy S., David W., Kimberly D., Richard A., Nancy S., Wendy A., Janet S., Craig E., Alan B., Karen W., Ada M., Tish M., and Stanley J.
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