It’s A Wrap! – Federal Judge Terminates Consent Decree, Dismisses Case Between Town of East Haven and Department of Justice.
Below is Chief Ed Lennon’s Consent Decree Press Conference Speech delivered during a press conference earlier today marking the end of East Haven’s Federal Consent Decree.
Good morning. Thank you all for coming. I’m Ed Lennon, the Chief of Police of the East Haven Police Department. First, I would like to thank all of the men and women of the East Haven Police Department, both sworn and civilian for their hard work and dedication over the last five years. We wouldn’t be where we are today without them. I would like to thank Mayor Maturo for his unwavering support during these last few years, as well as a special thanks to Attorney Larry Sgrignari who provided support throughout the duration of the consent decree. I would also like to recognize the Town Council, the Board of Police Commissioners, the Board of Finance, and the Civil Service Commission for their support and guidance throughout the Consent Decree.
I would be remiss if I didn’t take a moment to thank the Joint Compliance Team of Kathleen O’Toole, Rafael Ruiz, and staff along with the CT U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Special Litigation Section of the U.S. Department of Justice. Although, they were very hard on us, making sure we met our compliance timelines, their collaborative approach, while providing us guidance, couldn’t be overlooked when recognizing our success.
Our officers have worked very diligently over the last several years to improve their service to our community. Our community members put their trust in us to protect them and expect us to carry out our duties professionally and with integrity. We serve proudly and appreciate all of the support we have received from everyone.
The last five years has created a positive and monumental transformation within the Department. (7 core areas addressed by the SA). All of which could not have been achieved without the key part of the entire consent decree. TEAMWORK! Some of the key areas that deserve recognition include writing an entire policy manual consistent with the best and contemporary practices in policing in less than one year, that alone is a monumental feat. Our officers are some of the best trained both locally and nationally, focusing not only on the mandatory subject areas but also areas such as de-escalation, accountability, and leadership. All in accordance with best practices, which are far beyond the minimum requirements set by the State of Connecticut. We have equipment such as body cameras to help capture the most accurate picture of an incident. We conduct thorough investigations when officers have to use force to affect an arrest or protect others, and we take complaints even about our own very seriously. We have made great strides in bridging the gap with all members of our community. And, we hold officers accountable for their conduct. We have developed strong partnerships with our State, Federal, and local law enforcement and community partners. Despite the difficulties we’ve experienced achieving this goal during these last few years, the struggle was worth it. We are a better department for it.
We have been recognized as a leader in community policing by the United States Attorney General and have given presentations to others in law enforcement outlining how we were able to carry out transformational changes with great success in such a short period of time. We are proud of what we have achieved.
The completion of the consent decree is only a stepping stone, and not the end of our journey. The changes we made have put us at the forefront of modern progressive policing in the region and the country. We are continuing the programs we established while under the consent decree and will strive to improve our department and our relations with our residents. Moving forward, we are currently engaged in the process of accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (also known as CALEA), which is the gold standard in policing in America. The process is strenuous, but in the end, it will be worth it. Our philosophy going forward will be that of constant self-assessment to better serve our community while also continuing to be a leader in the best practices in policing.
This has and always will be a difficult and dangerous job. Police officers across the country face aggression daily merely for the uniform that they wear and what it represents. We proudly wear the uniform of the East Haven Police Department and will continue to improve that image for the public we serve. Thank you.