March 25, 2011
QUESTIONS FOR PUBLIC SAFETY COMMISSIONER NOMINEE
By: Veronica Rose, Chief Analyst
COMMISSIONER OF PUBLIC SAFETY
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 Public Safety (DPS) and Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (DEMHS) on public safety and emergency management-related issues; approves the adoption of the State Building Code; and appoints members of the state Codes and Standards Committee, which works with the state building inspector to enforce the building and fire codes (CGS § 29-1b).
QUESTIONS FOR NOMINEE
1. How long did you work for the State Police? What year did you retire and what was your rank when you left?
2. The governor has proposed merging DPS and DEMHS. When did you learn about the merger—before or after your appointment as commissioner? What do you see as the pros and cons of a merger?
3. Some contend that DPS' jurisdiction is too broad. What functions currently being performed by DPS do you think would be best assigned to another agency?
4. What plans do you have for the department? What would you like to accomplish in your first year as commissioner, and how can the legislature help you achieve your goals?
5. In your opinion, what are the top five issues facing the department? How do you plan to address them?
6. What do you consider to be the agency's strengths and weaknesses?
7. As of December 1, 2010, the Office of Policy and Management forecast a deficiency of $7.6 million in the department's budget. Have you considered any ways to mitigate this deficiency? How can DPS contribute to meeting the governor's budget goals without jeopardizing public safety?
8. Given the current state budget crisis, what will be your highest priorities in the next few years? How would budget cuts affect the agency? If you must cut services or programs, which ones would you cut?
9. A 2006 New York State Police report documented major problems and shortcomings in the Connecticut State Police internal affairs division and recommended major reforms. What changes have you observed to suggest that the division benefitted from the review?
10. The agency has had six commissioners in 10 years. In what ways, if any, do you believe the frequent turnover has affected staff morale and the delivery of police services?
11. Some question the wisdom of selecting someone who has been out of law enforcement for almost 15 years to head DPS. What did you learn from your years as NFL security chief that you think will be most useful to you as commissioner? What “best practices” did you observe or implement as security chief that you believe would work well in the State Police?
12. Despite strong support for videotaping interrogations on the grounds that it protects the innocent against false confessions and often improves the overall quality of investigations, the State Police has not instituted such a policy. Do you think its time has come? What are your views on the subject?
13. How will you work to forge constructive relationships with the unions, including the bargaining unit for junior managers?
14. The State Police has been criticized on its minority hiring record and, on a number of occasions, been subject to allegations of racial discrimination. Based on your years of experience in the division, do you believe these criticisms and allegations have any merit? Describe your experience during your tenure at the State Police. Do you plan to make minority hiring one of your priorities? If yes, what is your goal and what specific steps do you intend to take to achieve it? What qualities will you look for in your management team?
15. The governor has proposed creating a Department of Emergency Responder Training to train fire service personnel and municipal police, but not State Police. What do you believe is the rationale for not including state police training in this proposal? Would you support including state police training?