East Haven Is Meeting Deadlines in Federal Settlement

The city of East Haven has met all of the deadlines set in an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice to resolve an investigation into the police department, which was accused of violating the civil rights of Latinos, according to the mayor’s office.

Mayor Joseph Maturo Jr. said on Tuesday that the city has met the deadlines set for the first 270 days since the agreement was reached.

East Haven was required to completely revise all of the police department’s policies and procedures; develop approved testing procedures to ensure that all training is valid, reliable, fair and legally defensible; develop a system to collect data on all investigatory stops and searches that can be searched, easily analyzed and integrated into the Department’s computer system; issue semi-annual reports regarding stops and searches; and complete semi-annual firearms training.

“Our department now has an early intervention system for determining if stops and searches are exceeding the norm on a particular shift or in a particular way.  We have the ability to more easily identify patterns of stops and ensure that they are legitimate and lawful,” Maturo said.

He called the overall feat “extraordinary” and said they do not believe that any other jurisdiction in the country has managed to meet the deadline on time and be in full compliance.

“The policy and procedure revision is notable, especially because it required the department to completely re-write old policies and, in some cases, develop entirely new policies,” Maturo said in a statement. “In all, 81 policies have been forwarded to the Department of Justice for comment and review.  These policies will set the standard for providing effective, fair, and constitutional policing.”

In September 2009, the U.S. Department of Justice began investigating allegations that the East Haven Police Department engaged in a pattern or practice of unlawful discrimination against Latinos because of their race, color or national origin.

In December 2011, the federal department completed its investigation and issued a letter finding reasonable cause to believe that police department engaged in unlawful discrimination against Latinos and other misconduct.

When East Haven meets the 360-day deadline, the city will have implemented all of the Department of Justice’s recommendations and it will be up to the police department to demonstrate sustained compliance, Maturo said in a statement.


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