CSAO: Public Safety and Security Committee - February 16, 2017 - S.B. No. 798

Public Safety and Security Committee - February 16, 2017 - S.B. No. 798

TESTIMONY OF THE DIVISION OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE

IN SUPPORT OF:

S.B. No. 798 (RAISED) AN ACT CONCERNING POLICE ASSISTANCE AGREEMENTS BETWEEN MUNICIPALITIES AND THE MASHANTUCKET PEQUOT TRIBE OR THE MOHEGAN TRIBE OF INDIANS OF CONNECTICUT.

JOINT COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC SAFETY AND SECURITY
February 16, 2017

The Division of Criminal Justice supports S.B. No. 798, An Act Concerning Police Assistance Agreements Between Municipalities and the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe or the Mohegan Tribe of Indians of Connecticut, and respectfully recommends the Committee’s JOINT FAVORABLE Report.

S.B. No. 798 essentially expands the longstanding practice of mutual aid agreements between municipal police departments to allow such agreements to include the two tribal police departments in Southeastern Connecticut. It must be noted that as is the case with existing mutual aid agreements participation is voluntary on the part of the individual departments. There is no state mandate.

Virtually every municipality and police department have long taken advantage of the provisions of Section 7-277a, which would be available to the tribal police departments under this bill. Mutual aid agreements as well as special task forces and other collaborative efforts have proven very successful and beneficial to all participants involved. Most important, they serve to better protect the public safety by allowing police departments to draw upon the resources of their neighbors in time of emergency or when pressing issues arise.

The Division of Criminal Justice would make specific note of the success of the Southeastern Connecticut/New London County Cold Case Squad, which has brought together officers from various municipal police departments to work with state law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute homicides that may otherwise have gone unsolved. The value of collaboration cannot be understated, particularly in areas served by small departments such as the region where the tribal departments are located.

The tribal police departments are well suited to join in existing mutual aid and collaborative efforts. Their officers are required to obtain the same certification from the Police Officer Standards and Training Council (POST) as required of every other municipal police department. Both tribal departments work and train regularly with the municipal departments. Both are members of the Law Enforcement Council of Eastern Connecticut, and it is our understanding that the Council has drafted a new mutual aid agreement including the tribal departments pending the enactment of enabling legislation.

Both departments operate under a Memorandum of Agreement entered into by the tribal governments and the State of Connecticut through the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney and the Commissioner of Emergency Services and Public Protection. As detailed as the agreement is, there was one apparent oversight – the allowance for mutual aid and official collaboration. S.B. No. 798 addresses this, and for these reasons, the Division of Criminal Justice respectfully recommends the Committee’s JOINT FAVORABLE report on S.B. No. 798. We would be happy to provide any additional information the Committee might require or to answer any questions that you might have.



Content Last Modified on 2/15/2017 2:59:41 PM