Submitted by Michelle Abt, Stamford
As a resident and voter in the area of Stamford covered by House District 149, it is with great concern that I learned of the Silver Shield endorsement of Kimberly Fiorello, the GOP candidate for this district in the upcoming election.
The endorsement of any candidate for office by Silver Shield, which represents almost one-hundred-fifty active members of the Greenwich Police Force, is in itself unusual and seems an inappropriate politicization of a police department and police officers.
That said, what is more concerning is the stated reason for the Silver Shield endorsement, which is their unhappiness with Connecticut’s police accountability bill H.B. 6004 “An Act Concerning Police Accountability” that was passed by our state legislature this summer in the wake of the death of George Floyd. The union calls the bill “reactionary” and has endorsed Fiorello because she supports their view.
There is a lot of misinformation out there regarding the police accountability bill, too much to address in this letter, but one thing is clear: Far from being “reactionary”, HB 6004 is instead a long overdue effort at constructive police reform that codifies law enforcement best practices and standardizes professional training.
The reforms in this bill will benefit police officers and the communities they serve, supporting the vast majority of honorable police officers with increased training and funding (yes, actual funding), while making it easier to identify and get rid of the bad apples that worsen department morale and threaten public safety. This bill should be a win-win.
But while these actual reforms are important, they are secondary to the to the most compelling reason why the Police Accountability Act is so significant. H.B. 6004 was passed in response to compelling evidence (documents, witnesses, and personal accounts) that not all police act responsibly and that the victims of police brutality here, and nationwide, are overwhelmingly people of color. The passing of H.B. 6004 reflects a recognition on the part of our nation and our communities that these inequities can no longer be ignored. It is our responsibility, and that of our representatives, to create the systemic change we need to build a more just society. That is what the Police Accountability Act is designed to do.
If Kim Fiorello can’t support the Police Accountability Act, and all that it stands for, then I can’t support her.
And one final note: While Ms. Fiorello purports herself to be a staunch advocate of law enforcement her record while on the Greenwich RTM indicates otherwise. This so-called supporter of the Greenwich police was one of only 7 RTM members (out of a total of 198 members) who voted to defund the police uniformed patrol account by $90,000 during the Greenwich’s 2018 Town budget process. Ms. Fiorello was also AWOL when it came time to vote on the actual union contract.
Ms. Fiorello’s record would indicate that she is in fact in favor of defunding the police, making her now full-throated support seem like nothing more than cynical political opportunism.
Editor’s note: Letters to the Editor in support of local candidates in the Nov 3, 2020 election may be submitted to [email protected] for consideration beginning July 15 and with a hard deadline of Oct 26, 2020 at noon.