The ACLU said that for the first time, information about police contracts and commissions has been collected online in Connecticut.
Some say the access will hold law enforcement accountable, while critics believe it’s too early to judge whether the information will help or hurt police.
The ACLU of Connecticut has worked for years to collect and analyze police contracts. It’s the details of those contracts that they say keep the bad cops working.
The website is called Project Flashlight. In addition to police contracts, it also includes information on the state’s approximately 50 police boards.
“We shouldn’t allow them to be unlicensable and unruly,” said Dan Barrett, chief legal officer for the ACLU of Connecticut.
Barrett hopes that citizens can hold their local officials accountable for what is and is not included in these contracts.
“They seem to be saying there is secret language in police union contracts that protects bad officers. It is not,” said Brian Anderson, Legislative Director of AFSCME Council 4.
Anderson, who represents more than 2,000 officers, said the ACLU’s new website would do the profession more harm than good.
“I think this report will have a negative impact on the police. Unfortunately, I think there’s been a lot of demonization of police officers,” Anderson said.
Anderson thinks these contracts are nothing special for the ACLU or the public to worry about.
“Our contracts with police unions mirror our other contracts with municipal workers,” Anderson said.
Barrett said he doesn’t think this new website will negatively impact recruiting or an officer’s ability to do their job.
“I would be a little surprised if people considering a career in policing were surprised or discouraged that there are certain rules,” Barrett said.
Anderson said Connecticut police are subject to some of the strictest employment laws in the country. Barrett said making it practical to review those contracts shouldn’t be a problem.