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Public Service Announcement
First enacted in 1999, Connecticut's anti-racial profiling law The Alvin W. Penn Racial Profiling Prohibition Act (Public Act 99-198) prohibits any law enforcement agency from stopping, detaining, or searching any motorist when the stop is motivated solely by considerations of the race, color, ethnicity, age, gender or sexual orientation (Connecticut General Statutes Sections 54-1l and 54-1m). During the 2012 legislative and special sessions the Connecticut General Assembly made several changes to this law including a key provision which shifted responsibility for its implementation to the Office of Policy and Management in consultation with a newly established Racial Profiling Prohibition Advisory Board.
Police agencies are required to continue collecting traffic stop information between July 1, 2012 and July 1, 2013 in the same manner as had been required by the law prior to July 1, 2012. Although police agencies must continue to collect and maintain the data, they are not required to submit it to OPM unless requested. Police agencies will be required to submit traffic stop data for analysis under the new methods by October 1, 2013.
CGS 54-1m gives authority to the Secretary of the Office of Police and Management if municipal police departments and Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP) fail to comply with the law to order appropriate penalties in the form of withholding of state funds.
The law also created the Racial Profiling Prohibition Project Advisory Board for the purposes of advising OPM with respect to the adoption of the standardized methods and guidelines outlined in the law.
Requirements of CGS 54-1m:
(A) A form to be developed to record traffic stop information. The information to be collected includes:
i. Date and time of stop
ii. Location of stop
iii. Name and badge number of Officer
iv. Race, color, ethnicity, age and gender of operator of motor vehicle (based on the observation and perception of the officer)
v. Nature of alleged traffic violation and the statutory citation of the violation
vi. Disposition of the stop, including whether a warning, citation or summons was issued, whether a search was conducted and whether a custodial arrest was made
vii. Any other information deemed appropriate
(B) A notice must be given to the person stopped that if the person believes they have been stopped, detained or subject to a search based on a protected class they may file a complaint with the appropriate law enforcement
(C) Instructions on how to file a complaint must be given to the person stopped
(D) A standardized method should be established to report complaints
(E) A standardized method should be established for agencies to report data to OPM for analysis
(F) By July 1, 2013, the act required the development and implementation of guidelines to train officers on how to complete the traffic stop form