The Connecticut State Police have received numerous questions regarding #8CantWait, an initiative by Campaign Zero. Their website 8cantwait.org asks communities to enact eight policies. The Connecticut State Police will continue to engage in substantive conversations and be transparent in the release of use of force data, State Police policies and Internal Affairs reports. We are continuously reassessing our training and procedures to ensure that we are engaged in progressive community-based policing. The #8CantWait policies are as follows.
Ban Chokeholds and Strangleholds - The Connecticut State Police Training Academy does not advocate or teach techniques related to the application of a chokehold or neck restraint to a suspect in any circumstance. During the Safety and Survival portion of recruit training, new officers are taught to defend against a choke hold. As part of this training recruits are instructed that they are NOT to use chokeholds. They are taught that in as few as 10 seconds, blood is reduced to the brain which can put subjects into a ‘fight’ mode which may be perceived incorrectly as resisting or aggression. It is reinforced in training that officers should pay particular attention to stay away from causing inadvertent injury to a suspect during the commission of arrest with specific emphasis on the neck, back, and spine area. Recruits have to demonstrate proficiency of how to use proper restraint techniques AND they undergo a demonstration (controlled training environment) where they are put in a chokehold to see why it is so important to avoid the head/neck/spine areas when subduing a subject. Each recruit is placed into a lateral neck restraint position) where the instructor demonstrates the technique for emphasis on how quickly and officer can be overcome by a suspect who has applied it to the officer. Handcuffing techniques on the ground is taught from the “Lock Up” position, where pressure is applied to the suspects shoulder, bicep, and triceps area. Emphasis is put on ensuring officers stay away from the neck, spine, and back. All recruits are required to demonstrate proficiency to standard under extreme duress in order to successfully complete the training program. All department members are trained on proper restraint techniques and the dangers/warning sign for positional asphyxia.
Pursuant to Public Act number 19-90, the Connecticut State Police has started to collect data detailing any incident during which a Trooper/Officer uses a chokehold or other method of restraint applied to the neck area of another person. The Response to Resistance or Aggression / Injury or Complaint of Injury to Prisoner form was updated to include "Chokehold" as a control method. This will enable the agency to accurately track any such use of the control method (chokehold) for accurate data reporting and analysis.
Require De-Escalation - The Connecticut State Police provides de-escalation training entitled Law Enforcement Active Diffusion Strategies (LEADS) and includes a 4-hour initial training module at the recruit level during Safety and Survival training. LEADS is continually reinforced throughout recruit training beyond the initial 4-hours through case study simulation and role rehearsal methodology. LEADS is included in continuing professional development during in-service training every three years. The last in-service training that specifically included LEADS was 2017, a 2-hour block of integrated instruction entitled: LEADS and Communication Strategies and Mental Health. The Connecticut State Police in-service training for Fall 2020 will include the following topics; Excessive Force Intervention and Reporting, Procedural Justice, Diversity, and LEADS among other topics.
The recruits also receive an 8-hour training block on Mental Health First Aid. Many Troopers are also certified Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) members. CIT is a national program and is active in over 2,700 communities. The Connecticut CIT model is a program of the Connecticut Alliance to Benefit Law Enforcement (C.A.B.L.E.), and is funded by the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. CIT requires an intensive 40-hour training that helps law enforcement to identify mental health crisis, provide resources to the community and ensure the safety of the police and the public. For more information, visit the Training page.
Require a Warning Before Shooting - The Connecticut State Police use of force policy requires that whenever it is reasonable and feasible and doing so will not unreasonably increase the risk of injury to the trooper or any other person, a verbal warning shall be given before a shot is directed towards any person (State Police Policy 13.4.5c(1)).
Exhaust All Alternatives Before Shooting - The Connecticut State Police incorporates a Use of Force matrix into its Use of Force policies (State Police Policy 13.4.1a). CSP trains officers to use intermediate weapons such as batons, electronic control devices, and pepper spray and to use appropriate force during an arrest. A trooper is justified to use deadly physical force against another person when they reasonably believe deadly physical force is necessary to defend themselves or a third person from the use or imminent use of deadly physical force (Sec. 53a-22(c), C.G.S.).
Duty to Intervene - The Connecticut State Police policy states that any supervisor who fails to detect unsatisfactory conduct whenever he or she reasonably should have done so, or who fails to take appropriate action when such observations are made, may be subject to discipline (State Police Policy 14.2.2a(5)). Additionally, the rules of conduct in the department’s policy manual identifies misconduct related to acts of omission or commission to be sufficient cause for discipline to result (State Police Policy 14.2.1). The State Police Training Academy also conducts scenario-based training where recruits are required to intervene and report excessive force to a supervisor.
Ban Shooting at Moving Vehicles - The Connecticut State Police prohibit the discharging of a firearm into or at a fleeing motor vehicle unless there is a reasonable belief that there is an imminent threat of death to a trooper, police officer or another person posed by the fleeing motor vehicle or an occupant of the fleeing vehicle (State Police Policy 13.7.1K(6)). Deadly force shall not be directed at a motor vehicle merely to disable a vehicle (State Police Policy 13.4.5d). CSP’s policy is compliant with Public Act 19-90 and the Police Officers Standards & Training Council (POSTC) Model Policy on vehicle pursuits.
Require a Use of Force Continuum- The Connecticut State Police incorporates a Use of Force matrix into its Use of Force policies (State Police Policy 13.4.1a). CSP trains officers to use intermediate weapons such as batons, electronic control devices, and pepper spray and to use appropriate force during an arrest. A trooper is justified to use deadly physical force against another person when they reasonably believe deadly physical force is necessary to defend themselves or a third person from the use or imminent use of deadly physical force (Sec. 53a-22(c), C.G.S.).
Require Comprehensive Reporting - The Connecticut State Police requires troopers to report any uses of force involving physical controls, complaints of injury in the presence of officers and complaints of pain from the use of physical controls. All such reports are investigated by supervisors and documented in a standardized written format. Such reports are reviewed by command-level officers, analyzed and statistical results are published in the form of an annual report (State Police Policy 3.4.3B and 19.1.7).
Furthermore, The Connecticut State Police are required to wear and utilize Body Worn Cameras, Body Worn Camera policy (State Police Policy 13.15.11) and appropriate medical aid shall be rendered as soon as it is safe and practical to do so whenever an injury results from the use of deadly force, non-deadly force, or other incidents involving serious physical injury or death by an employee (State Police Policy 13.4.1).