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New Haven Police Announce New Prisoner Transportation Policies

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Just one day after New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker swore in a new Police Chief Karl Jacobson, they both announced sweeping new policies in regard to how police will handle the transport of people in their custody.

This comes just a few weeks after Richard ‘Randy’ Cox was left paralyzed after a police transport van he was traveling in suddenly stopped and he was injured.

“We’re committed to making sure this never happens again. We’re committed and we’re passionate about it. The mayor and I saw Mr. Cox yesterday and it was a very tough thing to see, but I think it’s important for us to see it because it’s our job to fix it and make sure it never happens again. I’m never going to forget meeting him and him attempting to talk and it was a very emotional thing,” said Chief Jacobson.

The mayor and new police chief announced new standard operating procedures on prisoner transportation and detention facility operations, they talked about what would happen if someone needs medical attention and said all New Haven officers will go through additional training beginning immediately.

NBC Connecticut
Inside the new police transport vans in New Haven.

Some of the new policies that went into effect on July 3 include:

  • Prisoners must be transported in a marked police cruiser.
  • Prisoner vans will only be used for transportation to court, when a prisoner’s size or other physical conditions preclude the use of marked patrol vehicle or if there is a special event that may end in multiple arrests. In those last two instances a supervisor must sign off.
  • All prisoners are required to be secured in a seat belt
  • Officers operating these vehicles must drive safely and not use cell phones while driving.

New Policies, Procedures on Individuals in Need of Medical Attention

  • Requiring all officers to make an initial inquiry before transport and upon arrival at the detention facility during the intake process to determine whether a prisoner is injured and/or needs medical assistance. If a prisoner is injured, complains of injury, appears to be in an unstable medical or mental health status, appears to be in need of medical attention, or requests medical attention prior to transport, the officers must immediately contact their supervisor and request that EMS be dispatched to their location.
  • Requiring the monitoring of the physical well-being of prisoners during transport.
  • Requiring specific procedures for officers to follow if during the transport a prisoner is injured, complains of injury, appears to be in an unstable medical or mental health status, appears to be in need of medical attention, or requests medical attention, or if the transporting vehicle is involved in a collision.

The plan also calls for new training.

Department-wide ABLE (Active Bystandership for Law Enforcement) training, which all officers will be required to complete within the next six months. The training is designed “to prepare officers to successfully intervene to prevent harm and to create a law enforcement culture that supports peer intervention” in order to help “prevent misconduct,” “avoid police mistakes,” and “promote officer health and wellness,” according to city officials

Department-wide ICAT (Integrating Communications, Assessment, and Tactics) training, which all officers will be required to complete within the next six months. The program “provides first responding police officers with the tools, skills, and options they need to successfully and safely defuse a range of critical incidents,” according to city officials. They said it it’s “especially for situations involving persons who are unarmed or are armed with weapons other than firearms, and who may be experiencing a mental health or other crisis.”

New Haven Public Safety Town Halls

The city also plans to have public listening sessions for community members to meet the new police chief and give their input on police procedures.

  • Thursday July 14, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Hill Regional Career High School, at 140 Legion Ave.
  • Tuesday, July 26, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., at Family Academy of Multilingual Exploration (FAME), at 255 Blatchley Ave.
  • Wednesday, Aug. 3, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at James Hillhouse High School, at 480 Sherman Ave.
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