New Racial Profiling Law Brings Optimism

In 1999, the Alvin W. Penn law was passed in Connecticut, the first racial profiling law in the state. The law declares that police may not stop, detain or search any motorist’s vehicle based only on race, gender or sexual orientation. Fourteen years later, after new incidents of racial profiling in Connecticut and nationally, the state is poised to become a leader in a new model to discourage racism. The lead author of new legislation that will take effect in October 2013 says he is hopeful that the changes will help Connecticut eliminate racial profiling by police officers. In an exclusive interview, John DeCarlo, a former police chief in Branford who co-chaired a committee on racial profiling, described the new legislation as an early warning system that will tighten reporting of police stops and identify patterns of profiling.