HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Historic changes to law enforcement are on the radar again Monday. Lawmakers say at issue, two sections of the police accountability bill which Governor Ned Lamont signed.
The first concern – a ban on “consent to search” which begins Oct. 1, 2020.
Police sources say unclear legal standards are going to force officers to stand down.
Some Republican leaders agree.
Rep. Vin Candelora, Republican Deputy House Minority Leader believes “If there’s an amber alert being able to search the vehicle for a missing child if it fits the description that can impact those types of searches.”
The Democratic State Senate president disagrees: “The mere fact of an expired license plate or broken tail light doesn’t justify a full-scale search of the car related to some other crime connected to a motor vehicle stop,” said State Sen. Martin Looney of New Haven.
Sen. Looney says the second controversial section of the law is the use of deadly force, which goes into effect next April.
“We think this is significant and a milestone bill that needed to be passed,” he said.
A consultant hired as a trainer by the Connecticut Police Chief’s Association says in a video displayed on the CT Police Chief’s Association website, “80% of this bill is drama, 10% is political and 10% really cares about officers.”
The association tells News 8 they are not ready to comment on the potential changes.
Meantime, News 8 has obtained this denial letter which shows an insurance company not renewing an umbrella policy for an officer citing “unacceptable occupation: state trooper.” A potential consequence from a section of the bill allowing citizens to sue officers for violating civil rights.
A vote on changes to the law could happen in January after a new general assembly is sworn in or during a special legislative session scheduled for this month. Just weeks before the November election.
Rep. Candelora says, “unprecedented that legislature meets this time of year. And decisions will be made based on politics, not good policy.” And adds, “We are seeing retirements already so we’re seeing the impact of that legislation.”
The Legislature’s Police Accountability and Transparency Taskforce has met about a dozen times since the law was passed. Their next meeting is Thursday.