Saud Anwar

State Senator

Saud Anwar

Deputy President Pro Tempore

Working For You

July 29, 2020

Senator Anwar Joins Senate Democrats to Lead Passage of Bill to Increase Public-Police Trust Statewide

Today, State Senator Saud Anwar (D-South Windsor) joined the fellow senators led the passage of legislation on the Senate Floor that will increase accountability for police officers who do not represent the values of the police or our state. This long term issue came back to the forefront and Connecticut legislators heard the cries of protestors nationwide as a movement erupted in May 2020 in wake of the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, among countless others, by some police and law enforcement.

“Police officers do important work to keep our communities safe and they are part of the community, and there have been unfortunate instances where some bad cops’ actions have resulted in maligning the entire police force” said Sen. Anwar. “This bill seeks to ensure that as the police departments serve to protect their communities through various changes, including proactive and preventive mechanisms to avert such incidents.”

Among the legislation’s many changes include the reconstitution of the Police Officer Standards and Training Council, or POST, which provides certifications and trainings to police officers in Connecticut. Police officers will be required to become POST-certified, with new standards including periodic mental health screenings at least every five years, development of new policies to guide police interactions and POST gaining the ability to suspend, censor or decertify officers who act in ways undermining public confidence in law enforcement.

This legislation is designed to provide additional accountability for police departments across the state to improve public interaction and to ensure officers are held responsible if they act in an unacceptable manner. It takes significant steps to overhaul current practices, including the following:

  • POST will be reconstituted, with current membership to conclude at the end of the year. Newly appointed members, of which six will be made by legislative leaders, will be sought with focus on persons impacted by justice and representing towns of different sizes across the state.
  • POST will issue an annual report on Connecticut police departments’ efforts to recruit minority officers. It will also develop new crowd control policies, require implicit bias training and ensure officers’ disciplinary records are subject to Freedom of Information Act requests.
  • Officers will need to become POST certified, including receiving periodic mental health screenings at a police chief’s discretion, happening at least every five years and when an officer changes departments.
  • Uniformed officers must have names and badge numbers readily visible on outer garments.
  • POST will be able to hold hearings and potentially suspend, censor or decertify officers, making determinations if an officer undermines public confidence in law enforcement or uses excessive or unjustifiable force.
  • Cities and towns will be able to create civilian review boards, which will have subpoena power through local legislative bodies.
  • Police departments will review a potential need for more social worker-based responses.
  • Body and dashboard cameras will be mandatory for any officer interacting with the public, with the mandate including funding for storage.
  • Quotas, already banned for traffic stops, will be extended to pedestrian stops.
  • Vehicle searches cannot occur without probable cause.
  • Officers will only be able to use force when they have exhausted other resources, there is no risk of injury to a third party and such force is necessary.
  • Chokeholds, strangleholds and other tactics restraining oxygen and blood flow will be banned.
  • Officers must report excessive use of force, with whistleblower protections provided.
  • There will be an Independent Office of the Inspector General to conduct use of force investigations.
  • Penalties for false reports to police based on race, gender, nationality or sexuality will be increased.
  • The Police Transparency and Accountability Task Force will focus on increasing minority officer recruitment.
  • The bill does not defund or even reduce funding for police. In fact, it provides $4 million in new bonding authority so that towns and cities can acquire dashboard and body cameras.
  • If any civil action brought against the police officers, the qualified immunity shall only be a defense to a claim for damages when, at the time of the conduct complained of, the police officer had an objectively good faith belief that such officer’s conduct did not violate the law.