Herron Keyon Gaston

State Senator

Herron Keyon Gaston

Deputy Majority Leader

Empowering Communities, Driving Change

February 23, 2023

Senator Gaston Leads Public Hearing on Police Traffic Stops

Today, state Senator Herron Gaston (D-Bridgeport), Chair of the Public Safety and Security Committee, is leading a public hearing on Senate Bill 1022, ‘An Act Requiring Police Officers To Provide A Driver With The Reason For A Traffic Stop And Concerning Certain Police Officer Training,’ a bill Senator Gaston introduced this legislative session.

Senate Bill 1022 will require police officers to inform drivers of the reason for a traffic stop and encourage additional police officer trainings on de-escalation, use of force, customer service, diversity, and bias.

“I know there are times when a person has broken a law and they deserve to be pulled over, rightfully so, but they also deserve to be treated with dignity and respect,” said Sen. Gaston. “There needs to be a trust that is created between motorists and law enforcement. It is critically important for our law enforcement to exemplify basic courtesy during any traffic stop. I want to continue to fight for drivers behind the wheel.”

Currently in Connecticut, an officer does not have to tell you why you are being pulled over, they can ask you for your ID during a traffic stop. Research shows police officers stop Black drivers more often than White drivers and according to the Open Policing Project, on a typical day in the U.S., police officers conduct more than 50,000 traffic stops, with officers generally stopping Black drivers at a higher rate than white drivers. Sometimes officers take advantage and will not disclose a reason a person is being pulled over. A study done in 2020 shows Black drivers were 20 percent more likely to be stopped than white drivers, and Black drivers were searched about 1.5 to 2 times as often as white drivers.

In September 2022, the 10-year-anniversary of the Alvin W. Penn Act took place, named after the late state Senator Alvin W. Penn. This is Connecticut’s anti-racial profiling law that prohibits any law enforcement agency from stopping, detaining, or searching any motorist when the stop is motivated solely by considerations of the race, color, ethnicity, age, gender or sexual orientation of that individual. Alvin Penn was a hero who fought for our rights. Senate Bill 1022 will work to improve upon this anti-racial profiling law.