ABAR Suffield Update

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While COVID-19 & winter temperatures limit our ability to host rallies and community events, ABAR Suffield has turned our focus to supporting two key issues.

First, we’re throwing our full support behind proposed legislation by Senator Saud Anwar, a Democrat representing Connecticut’s 3rd District. Senator Anwar’s bill, SB 55, which has been introduced within the Joint Committee on Public Health, “designate(s) racism as a public health crisis in the state and establish(es) a commission to study the impact of institutional racism on public health.”

Countless studies, many controlled for extraneous socioeconomic factors that could impact outcomes, show that BIPOC have lower life expectancies than white people and experience racism and neglect that directly undermine both their mental and physical well-being. This is a serious and widespread problem that impacts members of the Suffield community in painful and dangerous ways. We look forward to supporting this in the weeks and months to come.

In town, we are supporting the Suffield Police Department in their efforts to comply with elements of the Police Accountability Bill passed by the Connecticut Legislature in 2020.

Specifically, Chief Brown is seeking to 1) equip his officers with dash cameras and body cameras and 2) to get SPD’s CALEA Accreditation. Both initiatives come at some cost to the town but are required to be in compliance with state law. Significantly, Chief Brown also believes that both will be beneficial both to our community and his department.

Concerned about meeting deadlines to keep his department compliant, Chief Brown has proactively sought solutions that are cost effective and can be implemented fully well within the stated time frame. He presented his proposal to the Board of Selectmen on February 3 and after thorough questioning, received their approval.

On February 8, Chief Brown presented his proposal to the Board of Finance but did not receive approval for the necessary expenditures. There will be another meeting on March 8, and ABAR Suffield members will be attending to show our strong support of both 1) the procurement of the cameras and all the technical infrastructure required to support them, 2) the expenditures required to earn CALEA Accreditation. Both of these expenses help protect both the citizens of Suffield and our police force. They also serve to shield us from the as yet unspecified, but potentially very costly consequences of failing to comply with the Police Accountability Law.

We hope many others from town will join us in supporting both of these critical initiatives.

To learn more about ABAR Suffield, please visit the Facebook group of the same name or email ABARSuffield@gmail.com.

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