Connecticut police reform bill, hard work remains.
Gov. Ned Lamont signed a police accountability bill into law Friday, but the campaign to change police training and culture in Connecticut ultimately may turn on what comes next: How to implement, and possibly refine, a measure so bitterly fought by cops.
The governor’s chief of staff, general counsel and policy director met with four police unions Thursday to simultaneously underscore Lamont’s support for reforms and his willingness to entertain changes before the sweeping legislation takes effect next year.
“I emphasized the fact the governor is going to sign the bill,” said Paul Mounds, the chief of staff. “But he has dialogued with all parties that are affected by the bill, and he looks forward to keeping the conversation going.”
Andrew Matthews, the retired state trooper who is executive director of the Connecticut State Police Union, called the meeting a “productive” first step, while noting in an email summary to members that a legal challenge to some provisions still was possible.
“You could tell they listened,” Matthews said. “We had a good dialogue.”
The meeting neither surprised nor alarmed two of the bill’s chief architects, Rep. Steve Stafstrom of Bridgeport and Sen. Gary Winfield of New Haven, the Democratic co-chairs of the legislature’s Judiciary Committee.
Rep. Steve Stafstrom, D-Bridgeport, co-chair of the Judiciary Committee, began explaining the police accountability bill at 1:19 a.m. last Friday.
“Now that the bill is passed, certainly the intent of the bill remains the same. We’re not looking to go back and repeal whole sections of the bill, anything like that,” Stafstrom said. “But I’m certainly willing to work with police departments and the unions on implementation.”