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Redding Set To Vote On Police Commission Issue Monday

Redding residents will decide whether the Board of Selectmen or a new Police Commission should oversee the Redding Police Department in a referendum Monday.
Redding residents will decide whether the Board of Selectmen or a new Police Commission should oversee the Redding Police Department in a referendum Monday. Photo Credit: File

REDDING, Conn. – Redding’s voters will decide Monday whether the town should install a Police Commission to oversee its police officers.

A group of local citizens have petitioned to install a Police Commission in Redding. The five-member elected body would have the authority to appoint, promote and reprimand all of the town’s police officers, and would oversee the department’s annual budget.

“It’s the natural evolution of a town police department that has been in formation for over 10 years, as well as a great way for the community and the police department to jointly proceed through the coming years,” Erica Vibbert, a proponent of the ordinance, said at the Special Town Meeting held to discuss the plan earlier this month.

Of the 92 municipalities in Connecticut that have their own police departments, 50 also have elected or appointed police commissions. The rest use Redding’s current system of having the Board of Selectmen or other chief elected official oversee the department.

Though the Board of Selectmen voted to move the proposal to a town referendum, all three members oppose a police commission. The three voted unanimously to oppose the ordinance at the May 14 meeting.

First Selectman Natalie Ketcham explained at a Special Town Meeting that she feels the Board of Selectmen should continue to manage the police department, as it does all other town departments. She also noted that towns in the area with police commission spend more per capita on their police than towns without them.

“This is an unnecessary expansion of bureaucracy at a time when almost everyone, everywhere is talking about shrinking government,” Ketcham said at the May 20 public hearing.

If the ordinance passes, Redding voters will elect the first five members of the commission this November. Three will serve four-year terms, and two will serve two-year terms. Current members of the Redding Police are not eligible for election.

Redding residents can vote on the ordinance Monday, June 3 from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Redding Community Center, 37 Lonetown Road.

The full text of the proposed ordinance is available at the town website. Those interested can also see the full public hearing at the Redding 79 Vimeo page.

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