MERIDEN, Conn. (WTNH)– Graduation is just over two weeks away for a new class of Connecticut state troopers before they get there. They’re tackling topics of heightened relevance.
The 129th Training Troop started March 13 days before COVID-19 shut down parts of Connecticut’s economy and weeks before national uprisings over deadly police shootings. But these 80 plus recruits are not deterred.
“They’re a motivated group of professionals that are looking forward to getting out and serving,” said Lieutenant Eric Murray of the Connecticut State Police (CSP).
Unlike years past, this CSP training academy spent the first 13 weeks online. Monday, they’re spaced out and listening to speakers like former FBI agent Quentin Williams.
“I sit in that cruiser as one by one the officers who were out there rotate through the driver’s seat,” said Williams.
Today was all about diversity…
“Diversity, community relations, implicit bias, procedural justice.”
Topics of heightened relevance.
“We’re excited to hear their message and to help bridge the gap between their message and our folks,” said Murray.
It starts with listening.
Williams who wrote a book called “How Not to Get Killed by Police” says his message is about relationship building.
“Since everybody’s paying attention now we have audiences that we didn’t have in the past,” said Williams.
And before they graduate on October 8 – a visit from Connecticut’s Chief Justice.
“We’re starting conversations and having relationships we didn’t have before. This kind of training’s extremely necessary,” said State Supreme Court Chief Justice Richard Robinson.
It costs to have some of these speakers come in and address these recruits. CSP tells us members of the community have been sponsoring the cost of some of that because they find this training invaluable.