Saturday, January 29, 2022

Connecticut Task Force Proposes Police Reforms | Nation World News

Hartford, Conn. ( Associated Press) — After two years on how police do their jobs in Connecticut, a state task force on Tuesday unanimously approved a final report recommending reforms in law enforcement in more than 20 areas including improving interactions with people with disabilities. And limiting traffic stops.

Proposal State lawmakers will be sent for their consideration by the Police Transparency and Accountability Task Force during this year’s legislative session, which is scheduled to begin on February 9.

“Hopefully this is an opportunity to open doors for dialogue, whether it’s legislation or … dialogue with police departments,” said task force chair Daryl McGraw, a criminal justice reform advocate who has worked on combating drug addiction. After changed his life, said. and prison sentence.

“Before this particular task force, a lot of conversations to my knowledge especially with members of the community…is that these conversations were not happening,” he said.

One of the top goals was improving how officers interact with people with disabilities, with the task force citing studies showing that 30% to 50% of people killed by police have disabilities.

The panel is recommending that police departments partner on their own crisis intervention teams, or regional teams, if they haven’t already. Teams will include mental health specialists and social workers to answer some of the calls. The panel has also urged for more training for officers to deal with people with disabilities.

The task force also wants a study of 911 calls to determine whether some of them can be redirected to 211, a call program run by United Way that refers people to health and other services. It is recommending legislation to implement the federal 988 crisis hotline system and expand behavioral crisis response and suicide prevention services across the state.

Another recommendation is prohibiting officials from stopping drivers on the basis of only minor “secondary” violations, including broken headlights, license plates in rear windows and too-dark window tinting.

Some members of the task force – which include police officers, reform advocates and representatives of people with disabilities – said they hope such restrictions curb disproportionate stops of minorities and reduce collisions where police force drivers to use uses. state data show Black and Hispanic motorists are stopped at higher rates for vehicle equipment and registration violations than white drivers.

Other proposals of the panel include creating a statewide, standardized reporting process for citizens’ complaints against the police, setting up citizen interview panels in cities and towns for recruitment and promotion of officers, and measures aimed at increasing police recruitment of minorities. .

One of the most controversial proposals rejected by the task force last month called for another panel to consider whether to change collective bargaining laws to make police internal investigations and disciplinary action more transparent to the public. should go.

The Task Force report is the result of two years of meetings and public input sessions. The proposal would add to the many police accountability laws passed by Connecticut lawmakers and the governor and other states over the years in response to police killings of black people and racial disparities in the justice system.

Lawmakers and civil liberties advocates call 2021 Connecticut legislative session Historic for criminal justice reform. Bills passed include allowing the elimination of multiple criminal sentences, limiting the use of solitary confinement and other segregation in prisons, and aiming to make the jury pool more diverse.

On January 1, a new state law took effect that puts more limits on the use of deadly force by police.

Milford Police Chief Keith Mello, a member of the task force, called compiling the report “a heavy lift, a major task”.

“There is a lot of good here and we should be proud of the work here,” he said. “And here are some things I disagree with, but still I respect the majority opinion of the task force members. And I don’t disagree with them because of the goal. I think the goals were noble in all respects.”

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