Oversight without Interference
For the last two years, I’ve served on the Old Saybrook Police Commission. While COVID has dominated most of our domestic headlines, so too has the field of policing. Stories on the national stage have highlighted important issues between law enforcement and the public, leading some to question the place of policing in our communities. In Old Saybrook, we can take pride in a hometown police department that reflects our community values and works hard to make a positive difference every day.
I was raised in a family of police officers. Both my dad and brother were on the job with the Hartford PD. I saw firsthand the remarkable, often dangerous, challenges that police officers confront on a regular basis. I’ve watched the Old Saybrook Police Department (OSPD) enforce the law, prevent crimes, respond to emergencies, and support our fellow citizens during the greatest public health crisis of our time. Still, police officers are only human, and like all of us, slip-ups occasionally happen. Fortunately, we have a chief who is committed to continuous quality improvement in all aspects of the department’s work.
In recent editorials, there has been much written about the Police Commission’s oversight responsibilities. I believe that police commissioners should exert oversight, without interference. This means holding the chief accountable for the budget, being involved in personnel decisions (hiring, promoting, and firing), and ensuring proper procedures are in place as required by law.
Police commissioners are not police officers. It is not our role to investigate criminal matters, retain the personal and private data of neighbors, or micromanage the day-to-day operations of the OSPD. On Nov. 2, I encourage your readers to support the Republicans running for the commission: Eric Dussault, Jeff Jordan, Katie Toolan, and me, Susan Quish.
Republican Susan Quish is seeking re-election to the Police Commission.