Standing For Police Reform Efforts

June 5, 2017

Today I stood with many of my colleagues in support of House Bill 6663, which ultimately was not approved by the House of Representatives.

The legislation would have prohibited police from using deadly force on someone in a motor vehicle if the officer can avoid it by retreating from the vehicle’s path. Police would only be permitted to use deadly force if the person poses an imminent threat to the officer or someone else. However, officers would be banned from discharging their firearms at motor vehicles to disable them.

I have family and friends in law enforcement, and this legislation is not anti-police. It is pro-transparency.

To help restore public trust in law enforcement, police officers who serve in a municipality that is home to 75,000 or more residents, would be required to wear body cameras while on duty. This will not only help promote police accountability, but it will deter officer and civilian misconduct and resolve complaints against law enforcement.

For me it’s simple; it’s about right and wrong; it’s about justice and injustice; it’s about being transparent. We need to improve communications between law enforcement and the community it serves.

Under this bill, the state’s Division of Criminal Justice would be required to prepare a preliminary status report whenever a police officer uses deadly force in the line of duty.

The report must include the deceased’s name, gender, race, ethnicity and age. The time and location of death, the law enforcement agency involved, a toxicology report and death certificate would also be required in the report. The state’s Division of Criminal Justice would be given 40 days to complete the preliminary status report.

We had a teenager shot in Waterbury earlier this year. I’m not judging the right or wrong by police, but the lack of information to the family and the community ends up compounding the problem. There becomes a loss of trust.