Commentary - Senate police bill reduces safety

Editor’s note - The following commentary was originally addressed to Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT).

The Connecticut Police Commissioner's Association strongly objects to your proposed Senate bill which is intended to not only eliminate federal funding for the School Resource Officers· (SRO) program but to eliminate the program altogether.

You have characterized the program variously as a pipeline from school to prison, as an intrusion into our school system which is unnecessary and unwarranted and as an unfair and prejudicial use of police power. None of these depictions are empirical and they most certainly have no basis in fact.

What you fail to acknowledge is that the SRO program has been embraced by a vast majority of our communities and there have been countless successes throughout the State of Connecticut. Our organization’s thoughts are perfectly aligned with those of Lucinda Timpanelli, chairwoman of the Trumbull Board of Education. Ms. Timpanelli has served in education for over 35 years in both the teaching and administrative capacity.

Senator Murphy, simply put you haven't done your due diligence on this issue and you haven't given this program a fair evaluation. You've made an ill advised decision which will eliminate a valuable student, administration and police learning experience and one which will potentially put the safety of thousands of school children, teachers and administrators in jeopardy.

We ask that you listen to the people who have the most knowledge and experience with the SRO program and reconsider your support of this bill.

Baldwin is the chairman of the Trumbull Police Commission and a member of the Trumbull Police Commissioners Association of Connecticut.