East Lyme, Waterford, and New London Agree To Police Cooperation
Municipal borders have been a hot topic as the need for regionalization becomes increasingly important. These lines drawn on maps are superficial on the ground — save for a sign welcoming you to town, neither roads nor people drastically change from town to town. Sharing services makes sense because it saves money and makes services more efficient no matter the cartography. It could also mean safer residents, as East Lyme, Waterford, and New London look to break down barriers in fighting crime.
The three municipalities began work on an agreement that would support regional police cooperation late last year in response to the changing times, both in terms of regionalization and the way crimes such as narcotics dealing occur.
As the law stands, there is limited power of police departments to detain a criminal that has crossed over municipal boundaries. These include the “hot pursuit” laws that make it necessary to follow a dangerous suspect, but otherwise protocol mandates that they call for backup from whatever town they are currently in as they would not have the authority to arrest the criminal.
The agreement would make necessary changes so that East Lyme, Waterford, and New London could share full arresting powers.
In a quote to WTNH, New London Police Chief Peter Reichard said “I think it enhances what all three agencies can do.”
He goes on to note narcotics dealing in particular, as that has changed over the past 20 years stating “everybody’s using cellular phones. They’re using digital media. They’re using facebook selling their drugs. They go from town to town in two or three minutes.”
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This kind of cooperation will help foster the end of the narcotics epidemic that has rattled the entire nation in the past 20 years by getting the drugs and drug dealers off the street quicker. Because of that, this agreement has already been signed by Waterford First Selectman Daniel Steward, passed the City Council in New London, with East Lyme looking to move this along early this year.
The municipalities also have the support of the editorial board of the New London Day which has “long advocated for regional municipal collaboration and cooperation in a variety of areas. […] This regional policing agreement would take one more step in the right direction and could serve as a model program for other municipalities seeking improved inter-town public safety.”
Summing up the case for cooperation, Chief Reichard said to WTNH, “utimately all these arrestees will be in the same courthouse underneath the same prosecutor before the same judges.”
Fighting the terrible drug epidemic in Connecticut should be a priority for police forces across the state, and any agreement that fosters cooperation and success should not just be embraced, but championed.