OLR Bill Analysis

sSB 32

AN ACT CONCERNING STATE POLICE STAFFING.

SUMMARY:

This bill eliminates the 1,248 minimum state police trooper staffing requirement and instead requires the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP) commissioner to set the number of officers the State Police needs to function efficiently. It requires the Legislative Program Review and Investigations Committee, by January 2, 2013, to recommend standards the commissioner must use in setting the number. (It is unclear what standards he must use between the date when the bill passes and the date the committee reports. )

Biennially, beginning by September 15, 2012, the bill requires the commissioner to submit to the Appropriations and Public Safety and Security committees an assessment of the number of police officers the Division of the State Police needs for the biennium beginning the following July 1. If he recommends fewer than 1,248 officers, he must include an assessment of the impact on public safety and any potential negative impact specifically attributable to the lower number. The bill eliminates a requirement for the commissioner to report annually on troop projections to the committees and inform them of the need to authorize a trooper trainee class.

The bill eliminates a provision capping the number of auxiliary officers at twice the authorized strength of sworn police officers. (As of February, there were 50 auxiliary officers on staff. They mainly help disabled motorists, help with traffic control at accident scenes, and perform administrative functions. )

Finally, the bill makes a technical change.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

LPRIC STUDY

The bill requires LPRIC to conduct a study to develop standards that the DESPP commissioner must use to set the State Police staffing level when the bill passes and for purposes of the biennial budget. In developing the standards, the committee must consider:

1. technological improvements,

2. federal mandates and funding,

3. statistical data on crime rates and type,

4. patrol staffing positions,

5. staffing of positions within the State Police and DESPP that do not require the exercise of police powers,

6. changes in municipal police policy and staffing, and

7. other criteria LPRIC deems relevant.

BACKGROUND

Court Case

A Superior Court judge, on January 13, 2012, ruled that the current trooper staffing provision in statute is mandatory. Thus, DESPP must have at least 1,248 sworn officers on staff. The decision came in response to a challenge by the state police union that DESPP's failure to maintain the minimum number of officers violated state law (Connecticut State Police Union v. Commissioner of the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, Doc. No. HHD CV 116024776, (2012)). The case is on appeal.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Public Safety and Security Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea

13

Nay

10

(03/13/2012)