Connecticut State Police

State Police Union Members Vote No Confidence in Governor, DESPP Leadership

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The majority of troopers in the Connecticut State Police Union have voted no confidence in Governor Ned Lamont, according to the results of a vote released Monday.

According to the union, 97% of troopers who voted, or 687 union members, said they had no confidence in the leadership of the governor.

There are 850 union members, of which 707 cast valid ballots.

The union said they are concerned with the police accountability bill the governor signed into law, saying it puts the public and troopers more at risk. The governor signed the bill into law at the end of July after it passed, though some lawmakers had wanted more debate.

The most controversial part of the bill, surrounding a concept called qualified immunity, would make police officers personally liable in cases where they’ve knowingly violated a person’s constitutional rights.  Supporters say the language simply takes protections away from bad officers.  But some who wear the badge said the provision will make police officers second guess their every move for fear of being sued.

The union also pointed to concerns surrounding Executive Order #8, which the governor enacted following the May 25 death of George Floyd, which sparked protests across the country calling for police accountability and justice for Floyd.

That order prohibited Connecticut State Police from using chokeholds and called for a review of the department's use of force policy. The union said this gave the appearance that troopers needed sanctions. The union also said the governor, through the order, politicized national events at the state level.

The governor's office declined to comment on the vote.

Union members also voted no confidence in Commissioner James Rovella, who was involved in the drafting of Executive Order #8 and made suggestions for the police accountability bill. Of those who voted, 96.4%, or 681 members, voted no confidence in Rovella

The vote also took aim at the leadership and supervisory skills of Lt. Col. John Eckersley, who the union said has earned previous votes of no confidence.

Brian Foley, assistant to the Commissioner at the Dept. of Emergency Service and Public Protection, said the union's reasons for the vote of no confidence were simply untrue.

“This changes nothing. This doesn’t affect how the troopers operate. It doesn’t affect the great work that they do. It doesn’t affect any citizen of this state’s public safety. It doesn’t affect their bravery. It affects absolutely nothing. This is political posturing by union leadership," Foley said.

He also defended the police accountability bill and said that Rovella's aim was and will continue to be to work to bring police, communities and lawmakers together.

"The police accountability bill is a reflection on police unions more than it is on policing, and Connecticut state troopers and police in Connecticut. It’s a reflection of a resistance to change for decades and decades, and that’s where we are,” Foley said.

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