Location:
EXECUTIVE AND LEGISLATIVE NOMINATIONS COMMITTEE;
Scope:
Connecticut laws/regulations;

OLR Research Report


March 31, 2011

 

2011-R-0163

QUESTIONS FOR PUBLIC SAFETY COMMISSIONER NOMINEE

 

By: Veronica Rose, Chief Analyst

You asked us to prepare questions for the public safety commissioner nominee.

DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY (DPS) COMMISSIONER

The commissioner commands the State Police Division and has all the powers and privileges of a police officer; appoints resident state troopers; serves as state fire marshal; licenses movie theaters, professional bondsmen, private detectives, and crane operators, among others; serves on the Statewide Emergency Management and Homeland Security Coordinating Council, which advises the Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security Coordinating Council on emergency management-related issues; approves the adoption of the state building and fire safety codes; and appoints members of the state Codes and Standards Committee, which works with the state building inspector and state fire marshal to enforce the codes (CGS 29-1b).

WORK EXPERIENCE

1. Some people have questioned the logic of appointing as commissioner someone who has been out of law enforcement for almost 15 years. In what ways was your job as National Football League (NFL) security chief similar to the commissioner's job? How was it different?

GOALS

1. What will be your primary goals in your first year as commissioner?

2. Apart from providing funding, how can the legislature help you achieve your goals? What are your legislative priorities this session?

3. What “best practices” did you institute or observe as NFL security chief that you believe you could implement to improve DPS operations and the delivery of police services?

BUDGET ISSUES

1. How would budget cuts affect DPS? What services or programs, if any, could you cut without jeopardizing public safety?

MERGER PROPOSAL

1. When did you learn about the governor's proposal to merge DPS and DEMHS—before or after you were appointed commissioner?

2. What was your biggest challenge as state police major? What was your biggest challenge as security chief? What do you think might be the greatest constraints on and challenges for DPS if the merger is approved?

3. What are the risks associated with the merger and how can the agency mitigate them? How would you prioritize the wide range of additional responsibilities that DPS would be required to assume?

4. If the merger is approved, do you anticipate that DEMHS and the State Police will be on equal footing, or do you anticipate another outcome?

5. Related agencies often have distinct priorities and agendas that inhibit their working well together. In what ways, if any, do DPS' goals, practices, and strategies differ from DEMHS'? In what ways, if any, do they align with DEMHS'? How would you describe the State Police culture?

6. If the merger is accomplished, what measures should we use to evaluate its success?

PERFORMANCE ISSUES

1. In what areas do you believe DPS excels? In what areas do you consider the agency deficient?

2. In 2006, a New York State Police review panel issued a scathing report on the State Police, citing major deficiencies and shortcomings in its Internal Affairs Unit. Were you aware of deficiencies when you served as major? What changes have you noticed in the division to indicate that it benefitted from the review?

TROOP STRENGTH

1. The statutes mandate a minimum of 1,248 state police officers.

Does the state really need, and can it afford, 1,248 state police officers? What is the optimum number of officers you would recommend?

How many officers did the agency lose as a result of the 2009 early retirement incentive program?

How many officers are needed to bring the division up to full strength?

To what extent is the manpower shortage affecting State Police operations?

What programs or services are most severely affected by the shortage?

When is the next batch of trooper trainees scheduled to graduate? How many are in the class?

MISCELLANEOUS ISSUES

1. To be effective, law enforcement agencies must constantly adapt to the changing nature of crime and the way criminals behave.

In your opinion, what is the biggest issue facing law enforcement today?

In what ways, if any, has policing changed since you left the State Police in the 1996?

What special problems, if any, has the growth in Internet use presented for the State Police?

How well equipped is the State Police to deal with cyber crimes?

What kinds of skills do state police officers need today that they did not need 15 years ago?

Does the division have the necessary funding and other resources to help them acquire these skills?

2. At various times, the State Police has been subject to allegations of racial discrimination. Based on your years of experience on the force, do you believe these allegations have any merit? Describe your experience during your tenure at the State Police.

3. The State Police has been criticized on its minority hiring record.

How many of the five people promoted to captain in March were women or belonged to a minority group?

What qualities will you look for in your management team?

Do you plan to make minority hiring one of your priorities?

If yes, please outline your plan and indicate what specific steps do you intend to take to execute it.

4. Some have long argued for a state police civilian review board to provide meaningful, effective oversight of police actions. What do you think of the idea of establishing such a board?

5. What evidence, if any, suggests that terrorism poses a real threat in Connecticut?

6. What role, if any, is the federal government asking the State Police to play in the fight against terrorism? Does the division have, or is it getting, adequate funding, equipment, and personnel to accomplish the task?

7. What role, if any, is the federal government asking the State Police to play in enforcing immigration laws? Does the division have, or is it getting, adequate equipment, funding, and personnel to perform this function?

VR:ts