Senate Judiciary Committee releases Waterbury police chief’s opening remarks ahead of hearing on proposals to reduce gun violence

New Haven

(WTNH) — Waterbury’s Police Chief is getting ready for a big day. On Tuesday, he’s set to testify before members of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee.

Waterbury’s Police Chief was asked by Connecticut Senator, Democrat, Richard Blumenthal, who serves as Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on The Constitution. On Tuesday, it’ll hold the first of a series of hearings examining proposals to reduce gun violence.

“I’m extremely honored that I’ve been asked by Senator Blumenthal and the Judiciary Committee of The Senate to provide testimony regarding common sense gun violence solutions,” said Chief Spagnolo.

“He has taken strong steps, effective and aggressive leadership here in Waterbury that could be a model for the whole country,” said Sen. Blumenthal. “We need to take action and we can do it through common sense steps like universal background checks, emergency risk protection orders, safe storage/Ethan’s Law.”

“I support all these things and I think these are common-sense solutions that should be adopted nationwide,” Chief Spagnolo said.

The chief won’t be traveling to Washington. His testimony will be done virtually. Sen. Blumenthal says the series of hearings could take a few months. But, he believes the fight for tougher gun control laws — his mission ever since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown — has gained new momentum. He cites several factors:

  • What he calls a “groundswell of public support” after the mass shooting at Parkland High School in Florida
  • What he calls the weakening of his opponents, like The National Rifle Association (NRA)
  • Democratic control of Congress and The White House.

He also believes having a police chief testifying for the cause will catch the attention of the members of the U.S. Senate who will be listening.

“I think this will help us in Connecticut with the amount of weapons that come into this state illegally and end up in the hands of prohibitive persons,” Chief Spagnolo said. “And when those guns end up in the hands of prohibitive persons, my greatest fear is the men and women that work for me have to face these people each and everyday and more importantly, they make our community much less safer.”

Below is some of what Chief Spagnolo plans to tell members of the U.S. Senate tomorrow in his opening remarks:

“When the national press talks about gun violence and Connecticut, it’s usually to discuss the brutal and unspeakable murders at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown nearly 10 years ago. The events of that day, the loss of those young children and their teachers, shook the nation to its very core.”

“As chief administrator of one of the largest police departments in the State of Connecticut, the gun violence that I am most familiar with rarely makes national headlines, but it is just as consequential for the people that it affects. The toll of daily gun violence that disproportionately affects Black and Brown communities in cities like mine across the country is a serious problem, requiring serious solutions.”

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