December 22, 2020

State Senator Dennis Bradley Ready for Parts of Historic Police Accountability Bill to Take Effect January 1, 2021

At the start of the new year, several new laws will be going into effect in Connecticut. Beginning January 1, 2021, pieces of the Police Accountability Law will begin. Over the course of the special session in July of 2020, the Act Concerning Police Accountability, known as HB 6004, was one of four main proposals that were discussed and passed. Several new rules have already gone into effect including tighter restrictions on police searches, a duty to intervene if police witness another officer use excessive force and penalties for civilians who call in an incident based on race.

Senator Dennis Bradley (D-Bridgeport) released the following statement ahead of the new laws going into effect this upcoming January.

“Connecticut has become the National model when it comes to equity in policing and prosecuting of crimes,” said Sen. Bradley. “In order to address historic systemic problems we are overhauling and monitoring practices that have been problematic for communities of color in America for far too long. If this free republic is to survive, we must have the law and law enforcement not be a tool of oppression but rather a ten-foot rod of light that guides the very essence of what we are as a people. “

Pieces of the Police Accountability law that take effect January 1, 2021 include:

  • Officers must prominently display their badge and name tag on the outermost layer of their uniform. This applies to police officers who are (1) authorized to make arrests or (2) required to interact with the public daily.
  • Departments must conduct behavioral health assessments of all officers at least every five years as a condition of continued employment. The assessment must be conducted by a board-certified psychiatrist or psychologist with experience diagnosing and treating traumatic stress disorder. The person conducting the assessment must give a written copy of the results to the officer and to the administrative head of the unit employing the officer.
  • A new reporting requirement will be due to DESPP and will expand on an existing one to include information on efforts to recruit, retain, and promote minority police officers.
  • POST new membership structure takes effect. The bill increases the council’s size to 21 members by adding the Connecticut State Police Academy’s commanding officer. Additionally, it makes numerous changes concerning the appointed members. Principally, it (1) reduces the number of gubernatorial appointments from 17 to 11 and adds six legislative appointments and (2) requires representation from additional stakeholders.