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Last updated March 5, 2020
No knock warrants
Connecticut has not yet enacted a law eliminating the use of no-knock warrants. However, Bill 6004, signed on 8/1/2020, outlines the creation of a police accountability task force to study police transparency, including the use of no-knock warrants.
Bill 6004 mandates that by December 2020, police departments to report their purchase and use of controlled property as received through the 1033 program. After the report, the Governor and Commissioner of Emergency Services and Public Protection may instruct a department to lawfully sell, dispose, or transfer unnecessary military equipment.
Military style training
Veteran officers can meet their certification renewal requirements by taking more mental health training courses, provided by private companies like Blue Courage, Mental Health First Aid or the Connecticut Alliance to Benefit Law Enforcement. Language in the Police Accountability Task Force recommendation explicitly recommends "A change in the culture of policing by adopting a guardian versus warrior culture of policing." Additionally, Bill 6004 mandates implicit bias training and behavioral health assessments for all officers.
Connecticut has not yet enacted a law requiring the recording and cataloging of SWAT team use.
Civil asset forfeiture
SB 7146 (2017) banned civil asset forfeiture without a criminal conviction. However, police and prosecutors still receive 69.5% of the proceeds from forfeited property and lack oversight regarding how departments spend that money.
Bill 6004 bans quotas for pedestrian and traffic stops, and notes that citation data may not be used as the exclusive metric for evaluation
Cost of misconduct
Connecticut has not yet enacted a law requiring police departments (not state general funds) to cover the cost of misconduct. However, Bill 6004, signed on 8/1/2020, establishes a task force to study police transparency, including merits and feasibility of municipality/individual insurance policies.
Connecticut de-criminalized marijuana possession in 2014, but lacks laws decriminalizing other non-serious offenses.
Pending Legislation: The Police Accountability and Transparency task force recommended that officers stop performing 'non-police matters' and discontinue duties such as responding to- Homeless Calls, Medical Calls, MVA (noinjuries) Calls, Civil Investigations, Frauds (Credit Card /Banks/Checks), Counterfeit Bills, School Resource Officers, Building Code Enforcement, Loitering, Public Drinking, Enforcing Legal Marijuana Card Verification and Receptacle Storage.
Objective justification for stops
Bill 6004 raised the standard needed for a stop from reasonable cause to reasonable suspicion.
Reporting stop details
As of 2019, Connecticut law (SB 380) requires that law enforcement units submit annual reports to the state's Criminal Justice Policy and Planning Division. The reports contains statistics on race, gender, use of force, and injuries suffered. Additionally, Bill 6004, signed on 8/1/2020, created a task force charged with increasing police transparency, partially through increased reporting measures.
Reckless civil rights violation
Bill 6004 establishes that if the court finds that an officer's violation of a suspect's civil rights was "deliberate, willful or committed with reckless indifference, the plaintiff may be awarded costs and reasonable attorney's fees.
Bill 6004, signed on 8/1/2020, established the Office of the Inspector General as an office independent from the Division of Criminal Justice. The OIG is specifically charged with investigating police misconduct. In any case of death as a result of use of police force or being in police custody, the OIG is legally bound to investigate.
Bill 6004 bans qualified immunity effective July 1, 2021.
Mental health response
Roughly 50 of the 900-plus hours Connecticut municipal police officers spend in basic training deals specifically with mental health. In addition to 14 mobile crisis response teams scattered across Connecticut, The Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services has five crisis intervention clinicians through state-operated local mental health authorities. Within 6 months of the passage of Bill 6004, each municipal department has to work with the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection to determine the feasibility and impact of sending mental health counselors to crisis situations.
Education, Housing, Community Health Resources
It is important to note that policing does not address the roots of social disadvantage and barriers to (economic) opportunity that often lead to crime. Nor should police be burdened with that responsibility.
Without access to quality resources in healthcare, education, and housing, our cities, neighborhoods, and families will continue to suffer. We should instead reassess the budgets of the state government and reinvest in the services that matter most.
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