HARRISBURG – The Senate today unanimously passed legislation that will create a grant program to establish Safe Exchange Zones throughout Pennsylvania, according to Sen. Wayne Langerholc, Jr. (R-35).
“One year ago today, our Cambria County community lost a valuable member, Denise Williams, after she went to purchase an item off Facebook Marketplace and was brutally murdered,” Sen. Langerholc said. “Her tragedy inspired this program with the hopes of keeping our loved ones safe from any harm a stranger may execute, and passing this legislation is done so in her honor. This legislation codifies the hard work of District Attorney Greg Neugebauer and various law enforcement agencies in Cambria County and expands the safety net for all Commonwealth residents. My thoughts and prayers remain with her family.”
Senate Bill 881 will provide a safe area for individuals to exchange goods bought and sold through an online marketplace, as well as serving as a safe place to effectuate a child custody exchange, among other practices.
“On behalf of the Williams’ family, we would like to state how grateful and appreciative we are for the legislation that is being passed on behalf of our beloved Denise Williams,” stated the Williams family. “Hopefully this program will provide a haven for any interaction to prevent future tragedies. Passing this legislation on the anniversary of her passing is a special way to keep and honor her memory.”
The Safe Exchange Zones will be voluntary and require the agreement of the participating law enforcement agencies. The zones will be equipped with video surveillance and are either within 100 feet of a law enforcement office or located near a public area with an active public presence.
Senate Bill 881 is supported by the Pennsylvania Sheriff’s Association, as well as many police departments throughout the state.
Denise’s family, friends, and coworkers held a balloon-releasing ceremony at Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center today to honor the anniversary of her passing.
Contact: Gwenn Dando