Lawmakers advance bill decertifying officers who leave over malfeasance, serious misconduct

Connecticut lawmakers are moving forward with a bill preventing police officers from getting re-hired after they leave over malfeasance or serious misconduct.
On Tuesday, the Public Safety and Security Committee advanced the bill to the full state Senate. It would revoke an officer's certification to work in Connecticut.
The move comes after six Shelton cops were fired for allegedly staging photos of themselves changing clothes in a parking lot. A few months later, one of those officers landed new job – at the Fairfield Police Department.
That officer, Dan Loris, still has a grievance pending over his dismissal.
State law already bans police departments from hiring officers fired for serious misconduct, or who quit while under investigation. But lawmakers say a "loophole" allows many cops to get hired elsewhere, because when they quit their old job, the misconduct investigation ends with no disciplinary action.
"Current law bans a police department from hiring such an officer, while this bill prohibits POST [Connecticut Police Officer Standards and Training Council] from certifying them," said state Rep. Maria Horn (D-Salisbury).
The bill also clarifies "serious misconduct." It would now mean "a gross deviation of generally accepted standards and behavior" or unjustified "physical force." Officers could also be decertified for failing to intervene with another officer.
The AFSCME Council 4 police union calls the bill "overkill."
"It has been made easier to fire a police officer. It has been made extremely difficult for an officer who made a mistake, albeit a serious one, to rehabilitate him or herself," said AFSCME Council 4 legislative coordinator Brian Anderson.
The bill guarantees officers a hearing and a full investigation, even if they leave the department.
"So that, if that officer leaves in the middle of the investigation and wants to appeal, the entire investigation can be disclosed at that hearing," said Republican state Rep. Greg Howard, who is also a police officer.