Jurisdiction bill becomes law in state of Connecticut

August 7, 2015, Hartford, CT... In the state of Connecticut, local police can no longer cross town lines to enforce their own local ordinances. The Connecticut House bill, drafted by Connecticut State Representative Matthew Ritter and spurred by an incident involving one of Ritter’s constituents, former Major League Baseball player Doug Glanville, is now law.
The State Law was created to clarify the scope of jurisdictional enforcement of alleged offenses at the local municipality level after Glanville experienced a difficult encounter with a West Hartford police officer while Glanville was shoveling snow in his driveway in Hartford. Glanville’s riveting piece in The Atlantic about the emotional fallout of that exchange gained national attention and response in April 2014.
David McGuire, the Legislative and Policy Director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut said, “It is our hope that this law will lead to improved interactions between citizens and law enforcement. Every negative and unnecessary interaction with law enforcement undermines the community’s trust in police.”
Neither the spirit of the law, nor the law as written, impedes police officers from pursuing investigations, misdemeanors or felonies in other jurisdictions. “The objective of the new law is to stop incidents where police officers are crossing town lines for the sole purpose of enforcing a municipal ordinance which carries nothing more than a civil penalty. A police officer should only cross town lines for emergencies, with a warrant or to enforce criminal laws,” reinforces Representative Ritter. The bill’s supporters agree that in non-emergency situations, it is reasonable to limit civilian-police interactions to officers who are familiar with the local residents and neighborhoods. This can make a significant difference in the way high-stress encounters are resolved.
Integrally involved with the passage of this jurisdiction bill, Glanville shared his thoughts, “There is relief, but also a feeling that the work has just begun. I am also grateful because so many people all across the country added perspective, and in Connecticut, lawmakers and legislators took the time to engage and tackle the issues head on.“
The ordinance has brought to light not only the social implications of policing one’s community, but the legal framework that governs these kinds of exchanges. Many across the state have praised Glanville’s approach in seeking resolution for his experience. Connecticut’s South Windsor Mayor Saud Anwar, M.D. expressed his support, “I am proud of Doug Glanville for his commitment and passion to help educate our communities and raise awareness of activities which may marginalize segments of our population. Passage of this bill should also serve as reminder that one person with his/her commitment can change things.”
Ultimately, Glanville believes that in order for the law to be effective, ongoing commitment, diligence, and communication is necessary and will benefit all people. Glanville continued, “Our country is unquestionably at a crossroads, and I believe the way we were able to legislatively address my experience is an important part of the puzzle. We have seen protests, tears, frustration, collaboration, legislation, sometimes violence and I am glad that I was part of a process that was open, peaceful, strong, and legally sound.” Glanville remains hopeful that this grass roots effort and Connecticut’s resulting proactive step in how citizens and law enforcement interact will set an example for others while moving towards a more equitable experience for all citizens.
Governor Dannel Malloy will sign the bill into law at a ceremony on Monday, August 10.


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