The following are the full prepared remarks of East Haven Mayor Joseph Maturo Jr delivered during a press conference Tuesday announcing the agreement between the town and U.S. Justice Department regarding the East Haven Police Department.
Good afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen
As you know, this morning the Town of East Haven announced after nearly a year long process of negotiating with the Department of Justice, following a 2 ½ year investigation by that same agency, we have reached an “Agreement for Effective and Constitutional Policing”, which is encompassed in a 54 page document. This document provides a blueprint of polices and procedures that will make the EHPD one of the best departments in the country.
On Dec 19, 2011, after being in office one short month, I received a “finding letter” from the D.O.J. alleging that the Town engaged in discriminatory police practices. While the alleged discriminatory practices, which led to the “finding letter”, occurred prior to my resuming office, it is my responsibility as Mayor to address these findings. Rather than engage the D.O.J. in costly, prolonged and protracted litigation, I directed the Town Attorney to enter into negotiations to achieve an amicable solution to the dispute. As a result of these negotiations, yesterday I signed a letter of intent with the D.O.J. agreeing to submit the settlement agreement for approval.
During the next several weeks, we will be presenting the agreement to the Board of Police Commissioners, the Board of Finance and as well, to the Town Council. The approvals should be in place by Nov. 13, 2012.
When implemented, the agreement will require oversight of the Police Department by a mutually agreed upon compliance expert. This individual will be responsible to monitor the policies, procedures and operation of the Police Department. The costs associated with the implementation and oversight of this agreement will be significant. Those expenses, however, are better spent in this implementation process, rather than a long costly litigation.
It is my hope that with this agreement, a new era of cooperation between the Town, the D.O.J., our citizens and our Police force will be the result. This cooperative effort will instill a greater level of public trust in our Government.