Herron Keyon Gaston

State Senator

Herron Keyon Gaston

Deputy Majority Leader

Empowering Communities, Driving Change

March 16, 2023

Senator Gaston Leads Committee Vote Passage on Police Traffic Stops

State Senator Herron Keyon Gaston (D-Bridgeport), Chair of the Public Safety and Security Committee, lead committee passage of 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.

“It is critically important for our law enforcement to exemplify basic courtesy during any traffic stop,” said Sen. Gaston. “It is important to understand and recognize that people who look like me and who have endured the stigma of systemic and institutional injustice may have a different view point then others, and this is why I will always fight to raise the level of consciousness of those in our society who are comfortable in their privilege, and to demand that the voices of minoritized communities are felt and heard, and that equity and fairness is afforded to all members in our great state and not just some. I am hopeful this legislation will allow for our officers to treat everyone regardless of zip code, background, or community with dignity while behind the wheel.”

SB 1022 will require police officers to verbally inform a motorist for the purpose of their traffic stop. Data from the Open Policing Project shows 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. 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. This bill aims to create uniformity amongst officers and it is a step to create a space of trust between communities and law enforcement officers.

As the 10-year-anniversary of the Alvin W. Penn Act took place, named after the late state Senator Alvin W. Penn. Which 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. This bill will further address some of the racial disparities that the Alvin Penn Act started 10 years ago in this state.