There's a state law that's supposed to deter racial profiling: the Alvin Penn Law of 1999. It was never really implemented until a recent revision by the General Assembly that states exactly how police officers should collect and maintain data on traffic stops.
Part of the law allows residents to file complaints if they feel police have racially profiled them. But most people don't know about the state agency that looks into those complaints.
That's why the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities is scheduling town hall meetings statewide. The latest is Wednesday afternoon in New Haven. The town hall meeting is 5:00 to 7:30 pm at Career High School,140 Legion Avenue in New Haven.
Tanya Hughes, the Commission's Executive Director, said representatives from some police departments will also speak about the racial profiling aw from their perspective. "They're using it as a management tool," she said. "Most of them believe they are doing the right thing. If there are instances that are prevalent in some areas, then they'd like to address it, and that's our belief as well."
Under the revised law, police must give out a notice that lets a driver know the complaint process if he or she feels discriminated against. Residents can file a complaint with the police department or with the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities.
Hughes said the Central Connecticut State University's Institute for Municipal and Regional Policy will analyze the data collected from police departments.