Sen. Champagne Statement on Senate Passage of Substitute for Police Use of Force Law

March 23, 2021

Today State Senator Dan Champagne (R-Vernon), member of the legislature’s Judiciary Committee, issued the following statement in response to the senate’s passage of substitute language for a police use-of-force law originally scheduled to take effect on April 1, 2021. The substitute language is applied to a key section of the sweeping police accountability bill signed into law last summer by Governor Lamont. The language postpones the effective date of the law from April 1, 2021 to Jan. 1, 2022 to allow for adequate training of the thousands of police officers across the state. It also softens the language of the original bill in connection with use of force and restores protections to officers in the line of duty. Senator Champagne raised several concerns with the bill’s original language this past summer.


“The way this bill was written last summer, without the input of law enforcement officials, resulted in confusion on what is and is not acceptable police conduct, particularly related to the use of force. Police officers must make split-second decisions where the consequence is life or death. The changes unanimously passed by the Judiciary Committee that got us to where we are today are common-sense changes to the law, originally written without the input of chiefs of police,” said Senator Champagne.


“The Republicans on the Judiciary Committee worked very hard to make these amendments to the bill, and thank you to the committee chairs that worked cooperatively with us. Also, thanks to the police chiefs across the 35th District that provided key input to improve this bill.


“These language substitutions on use of force will enable officers to do their jobs and defend law-abiding citizens, as well as themselves. The bill is now much better than its original form, but it is far from perfect,” he said.