Herron Keyon Gaston

State Senator

Herron Keyon Gaston

Deputy Majority Leader

Empowering Communities, Driving Change

March 9, 2023

Senator Gaston Leads Public Hearing on Combating Gun Violence

Today, state Senator Herron Gaston (D-Bridgeport), Chair of the Public Safety and Security Committee, lead a public hearing on Senate Bill 1162, ‘An Act Requiring Community Roundtable and Funding Community Policing Programs To Combat Gun Violence’. This bill would require law enforcement units to hold community roundtables and establish a pilot program to fund community policing programs in certain municipalities, to reduce gun violence and improve relationships between law enforcement units and the communities they serve.

“We need to find solutions,” said Sen. Gaston. “Working together collaboratively with our law enforcement and sharing different policies allows for dedicated members of our community to produce new and innovative strategies to put an end to gun violence. Discussions are critical as it allows different members in our community to come together and brainstorm solutions that can be used across each municipality here in our state. As Senate Chair of the Public Safety and Security Committee, I am dedicated to seeing this legislation through as we need new programs in our state to help reduce gun violence.”

SB 1162 will require law enforcement agencies in each town in Connecticut to hold a quarterly meeting with representatives from social services and mental health agencies, organizations that serve the municipality, people from organizations that seek to combat gun violence in the municipality, representatives from the judicial branch, and one or more prosecutors serving the judicial district that includes the municipality. During these meetings, it will be encouraged to share information and data that has been collected over the past months while developing strategies to reduce gun violence and crime throughout the state. Discussions held will also require everyone to work collaboratively to improve the responsiveness and accountability of law enforcement. All these meetings that take place will be open to the public.

Also under SB 1162, the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection will establish a pilot program to provide certain law enforcement agencies with funding to enhance community policing programs.

In written testimony submitted by Dr. Jonathan Gates with Hartford Hospital, he offers his support of Senate Bill 1162 writing at Hartford Hospital and in collaboration with other partners in the Hartford Hospital based Violence Intervention Program (HVIP) Strengthening Collaborative, they are committed to breaking the cycle of violence through their Violence Intervention Program and their trauma informed approach to care. In support of this bill, Dr. Gates believes programs are needed to combat gun violence and are designed to provide multi-disciplinary support for those who are injured and ultimately to prevent them as well as others from falling through those gaps.

In other written testimony submitted, support of SB 1162 was given by the Director of the Connecticut Hospital Violence Intervention Program Collaborative or CT HVIP at Hartford Communities that Care. In 2004, Hartford Communities that Care and Trinity Saint Francis Hospital established the first HVIP partnership in the state of Connecticut, and 6th in the nation to be recognized by the Health Alliance for Violence Intervention (The HAVI). Since that partnership formed, they have served more than 2,200 victims and their families. The statewide CT HVIP Collaborative, a program of HCTC, works to expand and strengthen the safety net of Hospital Violence Intervention Programs across Connecticut. Director Johanna Schubert writes, “There can only be benefit from law enforcement better understanding the communities they serve through having credible messengers at the table.”