ACTION ALERT: Support the Meagan Hockaday Act

Meagan Hockaday was murdered by Oxnard, California police officer Roger Garcia in front of her children on March 28, 2015. https://www.facebook.com/meaganmatters/timeline Garcia has not been charged. The Community Party’s Meagan Hockaday Act includes enhanced criminal penalties for excessive use of force by the police against mentally ill people and individuals in crisis, in addition to whenever children are present. Our legislation will implement a new international approach to policing, based on a successful model in the United Kingdom and Canada that emphasizes de-escalation and treatment. Public Health Committee co-chair Rep. Matt Ritter is collaborating with us on this bill. Stay tuned to CP on Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/CommunityPartyAction/timeline and Twitter https://twitter.com/CommunityParty1 for updates. Meagan Matters! https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2015/05/06/meagan-matters-police-murder-of-black-women-ignored-by-corporate-media-activists/ Check out CP’s 2016 legislative package at our No Sellout blog. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2016/01/03/community-party-2016-legislative-package/

H.B. No. 5271  AN ACT CONCERNING MENTAL HEALTH TRAINING IN STATE AND LOCAL POLICE TRAINING PROGRAMS AND THE AVAILABILITY OF PROVIDERS OF MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES ON AN ON-CALL BASIS.

This amended version of the Meagan Hockaday Act is a start, but does not contain significant portions of CP’s original draft. You can read the bill language here.  https://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/cgabillstatus/cgabillstatus.asp?selBillType=Bill&which_year=2016&bill_num=5271

Mary Sanders  provided details on what we need you to tell lawmakers. Send your email to Phtestimony@cga.ct.gov  Copy Rep. Ritter on the email: Matthew.Ritter@cga.ct.gov

“Please let the Connecticut General Assembly Public Health Committee members know right away that you support having mental health professionals partner with police when they interact with people with special needs or in crisis situations … It may save the life of someone you know! We want the following changes to strengthen the bill so please let them know it’s important to:

1) Increase the hours. They should already get more than 2 hours in their basic police training The recommended Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) training is 30 hours. In-service / Refresher workshops – minimum of 4 additional hours yearly. Knowing that not every officer is a good candidate for responding to these types of calls is why a mental health professional would be a great partner in saving lives – If not, then at least half the force should have the minimal 30 hours CIT and dispatch will have to be better trained to gather info and send the right person out.

2) The language, ‘a serious mental illness and individuals affected with a developmental disability’ is a good start although ‘serious’ may leave too much to interpretation. I feel very strongly that it’s detrimental to leave out “or experiencing an emotional or physical crisis”. This would include protection for someone in a domestic violence situation and even someone suicidal or experiencing a drug overdose.

3) (and one of the major benefits of having a crisis worker present) Dispatch should find out if children are present so they can be safely and compassionately removed from the scene by a trained professional. Children should not be traumatized by witnessing their parent or guardian facing arrest, possible injury or death, as was the case for Meagan Hockaday who was killed by CA police in front of her 3 little children when they responded to a domestic violence call.”

We also want enhanced criminal penalties for police officers who use excessive force on mentally ill individuals or people in crisis, especially when children are present. Please send your email today.

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