Howard, House Republicans Offer Proposals Aimed at Growing Law Enforcement Ranks and Improving Public Safety

Posted on January 25, 2023

HARTFORD—On a day when the House of Representatives will vote on pay raises for Connecticut State Police, House Republicans insist the legislature must do more to help retain police officers statewide and recruit more women and men into the field of law enforcement.

 “Today’s contract is a step toward growing a state police force suffering from declining numbers over the last several years—but it’s only a first step,” said House Republican Leader Vincent Candelora (R-86.) “The job that follows today’s vote is equally important. The General Assembly has a lot of work to do to earn the confidence of our law enforcement community in the wake of the antagonistic ‘police accountability’ bill, and it’s my hope that our colleagues across the aisle will finally take seriously the challenges their legislation poses not just to recruitment and morale, but also to the ability of officers to keep our communities safe.”

Ahead of Wednesday’s vote, Candelora and his caucus released proposals aimed at addressing those policy-driven challenges Republicans say impact public safety.

“Traffic deaths, car thefts, and catalytic converter thefts continue to haunt the safety of CT residents. Combatting these issues relies on an active, fully-staffed, and appropriately empowered police force,” said state Rep. Greg Howard (R-43), House Ranking Member of the Public Safety Committee. “This new contract aimed at recruitment and retention should increase the number of those willing to do the job; now the legislature needs to improve policy so that they are able to do it.”

House Republican proposals, spread across three bills before the Public Safety Committee, range from restoring an officer’s ability to perform consent searches during motor vehicle stops to creating a fund to compensate the families of officers who are killed in the line of duty. 

House Republican Proposals on Supporting Law Enforcement 

  • Protect law enforcement and municipalities from being forced to settle in qualified immunity cases because any denial under current law bars them from appealing that decision until after jury decision. (HB 5361)
  • Evaluate the use of force from the perspective of a reasonable officer in the same situation, based on the totality of the circumstances known to or perceived by the officer at the time, rather than with the benefit of hindsight, and that the totality of the circumstances shall account for occasions when officers may be forced to make quick judgments about the use of force. (HB 5361)
  • Provide clarity and list circumstances under which police can be decertified for undermining public confidence. (HB 5362)
  • Restore the ability for police to request consent searches during motor vehicle stops when there is reasonable suspicion of a crime. (HB 5361)
  • Require P.O.S.T. to rewrite the police pursuit policy to allow pursuit of property crime offenses. (HB 5361)
  • Create a special account for families of officers killed in action. (HB 5363)
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