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09/30/2020 08:00 AM

Making Difficult Decisions

State Senator Norm Needleman (D-33) was recently criticized by his Republican opponent for supporting the Police Accountability Act, which was voted into law in a special session in July [Sept. 3 story “Saunders Challenges Needleman for 33rd District Senate Seat”]. The bill, passed by the Connecticut General Assembly and the State Senate, was a response to public concerns that people of color are victims of racial injustice and not adequately protected from excessive force by police. The new law, which addresses qualified immunity, also contains a forward approach to law enforcement. It calls for minority recruitment, implicit bias training, involvement of social workers, a model for crowd control policies, and restricted use of military-grade equipment in local communities.

Unfortunately, those objecting to the law seem to lack appreciation for its merits or it’s alignment with a more progressive approach to policing nationwide. Senator Needleman supported the legislation only after pushing for changes on qualified immunity. As a seasoned elected official, he’s no stranger to controversy. Although he had a cogent understanding of the impact of his vote, he also understood the public outcry for change and the need to take appropriate action. This doesn’t negate his confidence in law enforcement or his esteem for police who work so hard for the public good.

Leadership is about making difficult decisions despite controversy and political fallout. I witnessed Norm’s vote on police accountability. Despite the contentious atmosphere surrounding it and the emotional burden of the decision, Norm responded to the public outcry for change and did what was right. I respect his courage and integrity and his thoughtful approach to leadership. I support Norm Needleman for re-election. A vote for Norm is a vote for experienced leadership and government we can trust. It’s a vote for leadership that ensures our safety.

Claire Walsh

Deep River