Sen. Kelly Testifies in Support of a Better Way to a Safer CT

March 9, 2022

Today Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly (R-Stratford) testified in support of a bill raised by the Judiciary Committee that contains portions of the Senate Republican proposal A Better Way to a Safer Connecticut, a legislative package that seeks to improve crime response and remove barriers to intervention services, as well as policies to address the root causes of crime including issues related to trauma, education, housing and jobs.

 

The Senate Republican proposal is a holistic approach organized into three major sections: 1) crime response, 2) prevention and opportunity, and 3) police support and safe communities. Senate Bill 305 An Act Revising Statutes Governing Actions by the Police, Proactive Policing, and Enhancing Recruitment Efforts includes policies from the third component of the Senate Republican plan.

 

“It is critically important to have a multipronged plan to address crime, justice, and opportunity in our state,” said Sen. Kelly. “While other portions of the Safer Connecticut plan have been raised separately by other committees, I must underscore that this package is intended to be a holistic solution. The sum is far greater than its parts. If we want to accomplish the significant changes that address the root causes of crime as well as response, then we must consider all these policy proposals together. Justice reforms and opportunity must go hand in hand. You cannot address one without the other.

 

“A safer Connecticut starts with a stronger Connecticut. It starts with an economy that can support jobs and housing, build hope, and create a path to success for young people. It starts with services to address trauma. It starts with proactive policing, appropriate consequences for high-risk repeat offenders, and ensuring our justice system has the tools to successfully rehabilitate. As we heard from advocates, community leaders, and law enforcement alike, if we are talking only about data and detention, we have already lost. If we are only talking about preventative services, we are missing the need to address serious criminal activity and stop crime now involving high risk repeat offenders. We need action on both fronts. We need all voices working together to make our state a safer place for every family in every city and town.”

 

The Safer Connecticut package was developed over many months of outreach work communicating with advocates, community leaders, law enforcement, social workers, and many other stakeholders to develop a comprehensive approach that includes justice reforms to improve crime response, support law enforcement, and remove barriers to intervention services, as well as policies to address the root causes of crime including issues related to trauma, education, housing and jobs. The full package is available at www.SaferCT.com.

 

The package of proposals the Judiciary Committee has raised in Senate Bill 305 includes the following components:

  • Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) Pipeline Pilot. A pilot program involving local universities with the goal of recruiting individuals to pursue law enforcement careers at the state and local level.
  • Expand Explorer Programs. Expanding successful “explorer” programs by creating a high school elective program focused on learning about law enforcement in which a student can earn credit to graduate. These programs have been successful in multiple communities in building interaction and involvement with young people and officers to build better community relationships.
  • Funding for Social/Data Intelligence. Investigations and proactive policing have become very much data driven and intelligence driven in recent years. Social media and online data can help officers prevent crime before situations escalate. This proposal seeks to ensure funding is available to assist police departments in budgeting for the modernization of intelligence tools.
  • Allow for use of stop sticks (tire-deflation device) used by law enforcement to safely and quickly stop a vehicle.
  • Revisions to 2020 police bill focused on refining the legislation to address concerns raised while also preserving its core intended goals.

 

In addition to the above policies, A Better Way to a Safer Connecticut also includes the following policies:

  • Support for community programs focused on trauma, truancy, mediation, and mentorship
  • Workforce development programs
  • Partnerships with schools and local businesses to create a pipeline to careers
  • Summer jobs program
  • Vocational program recruitment
  • Safe housing policies
  • Increase information sharing and modify standards around detention orders
  • Require next day court for juveniles to expedite access to services
  • Ensure current programs are effective in addressing recidivism rates
  • Better recognize when a juvenile needs enhanced services and supports available through the adult court system, with the protections of the Youthful Offender docket in place.

 

Learn more at SaferCT.com.

Click here to read the plan.

 

Testimony Senate Bill 305