Governor Ned Lamont today announced that he has signed an executive order taking several actions to modernize police strategies and programs in Connecticut amid an ongoing national conversation on accountability and transparency in law enforcement strategies.
The governor’s order:
- Bans the Connecticut State Police from using chokeholds, strangleholds, arm-bar control holds, lateral vascular neck restraints, carotid restraints, chest compressions, or any other tactics that restrict oxygen or blood flow to the head or neck.
- Requires the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP) to review the Connecticut State Police Administrative and Operations Manual and update it to include the following requirements and prohibitions:
- Require troopers to de-escalate situations, when possible, before using force;
- Require troopers to provide a verbal warning, when possible, before using deadly force;
- Require troopers to exhaust all other reasonable alternatives before resorting to deadly force;
- Require troopers to intervene to stop another law enforcement officer from using excessive force, and to report any such use to a supervisor in writing;
- Prohibit troopers from shooting at or into moving vehicles unless the occupants of the vehicle pose a deadly threat by means other than the vehicle;
- Include a use-of-force matrix; and
- Require troopers to report all uses of force, including drawing a firearm on another civilian.
- Requires DESPP to appoint and train community trust liaisons in each Connecticut State Police Troop and instruct them to assist those troops in building relationships with residents and community-based organizations, learning from those residents and organizations about how to better serve their communities, and making it easier for those residents and organizations to communicate with the State Police.
- Prohibits DESPP from purchasing or otherwise acquiring military and military-style equipment from the federal government until further notice.
- Directs every uniformed officer of the Connecticut State Police to be equipped with a body camera and every marked vehicle of the Connecticut State Police to be equipped with a dashboard camera.
“The national conversation surrounding the killing of George Floyd is not new – these are issues the country has been dealing with for far too long, and the people protesting around the nation and here in Connecticut are calling for many sensible changes to protect lives,” Governor Lamont said. “The Connecticut State Police themselves have stated that they too are appalled by the recent killing in Minneapolis and welcome difficult conversations that will result in positive and meaningful changes. This order that I’ve signed today is just one step in how we are responding in our state. Working with our partners in the legislature and with meaningful community input, I want this conversation to continue so that we can enact reforms that increase community confidence in law enforcement and ensure public safety.”
“Building community trust through relationships, accountability, and transparency is the foundation of my leadership at the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection,” DESPP Commissioner James C. Rovella said. “Serving for more than 20 years in Hartford, I was able to build on relationships and develop an understanding of what our communities expect of its police. We have made great progress in the last year and a half, but we all recognize that, together, there is still much work to accomplish.”
The executive order the governor signed today is unrelated to the ongoing declaration of civil preparedness and public health emergency enacted several months ago due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. It does not utilize any of the emergency powers authorized by that declaration.