Updated: Jan 17, 2021
There are lots of changes taking place here in Connecticut. Earlier this week the LCO 3471 “Police Accountability Bill” was proposed as an answer in response to the calls for police reform. After a seven hour debate that bill was just passed and will move onto the Senate. This bill has taken away qualified immunity for our law enforcement officers. Do you think these hasty actions are about police accountability? I think not. This has turned into a witch hunt because it appears you can no longer be pro-police and pro-equality. If you support law enforcement you are a racist and so many government officials are feeling pressured to stay silent on the matter or risk being proclaimed a racist and lose voter support.
Let’s talk about perception and how that impacts qualified immunity. When an officer makes a judgement call regarding use of force it’s based upon his or her years of training, experience in the field, the knowledge they have of the case at hand and the individual involved, and their perception of the potential outcomes in the moments ahead. How many times in your life have you been asked to make a snap judgement that could be life or death for you or someone else? In your lifetime, maybe once, if at all. Most police officers are forced to make decisions such as these EVERY DAY. Their instincts have saved their lives and the lives of many others in countless heroic acts. With this new bill we are now saying that we don’t trust that field experience, years of training, and sound judgement anymore. Our officers are no longer to be trusted. Instead any Tom, Dick or Harry with a cell phone who happens to be around is better suited to say why the officer made the choice he did in that situation than the actual officer is. Sorry, but, NO!
Qualified immunity for law enforcement once protected them from civil law suits and being held personally liable. Now that this layer of protection has been removed our home, our assets, our family is personally at risk for every disgruntled person who doesn’t agree with a ticket they’ve received or criminal charges being brought up against them and decides they want to sue that officer for “violating their constitutional rights”. Generally, when people are interacting with police officers it’s because they’ve done something wrong. Speeding. Domestic dispute. Illicit drug use. How often do those people agree with the officer that they are doing something wrong? So how likely is it that this new “accountability” will be abused based upon the perception of criminals and people with cruelty in their heart?
We moved out of our previous home after a home invasion where we were targeted because we are a law enforcement family. I came home alone with my 3 year old daughter to this nightmare...you can’t imagine how this has altered the importance we place upon security for our children. Shielding them from the hate in the world against them purely because their daddy wears a uniform to work every day. They do not understand and I can’t find a way to justify it nor will I.
Of late I have seen the world around me transform. In frightening new ways. People are claiming all manner of issues infringe upon their “constitutional rights” regardless of whether they are matters actually addressed in the constitution. I am angered by how off the rails this defamation of law enforcement has become. I am saddened by the negative stereotypes being fostered against men and women who were once revered as heroes. I am deeply fearful for the road ahead for my family.