Does Connecticut need 1,248 state troopers, or is that number an unenforceable, feel-good requirement passed by lawmakers following a high-profile 1998 murder? That debate may get settled because of Gov. Dannel Malloy’s decision to lay off rookie state police officers, reports the Connecticut Post. On Thursday, a judge is scheduled to hear arguments in a Connecticut State Police Union lawsuit over the 56 job cuts.
At the heart of the case is the union’s insistence that the administration is bound by a 1998 law to maintain a minimum of 1,248 sworn officers. There are now 1,064 troopers. Since it passed the measure, the state legislature has sent mixed signals about its intent in adopting the minimum staffing level. According to court documents submitted last week by the state police union, the law was passed after troopers responding to a 911 call arrived too late to prevent the Jan. 3, 1998, murder of Heather Messenger. The state, the union maintains, had 960 sworn troopers at the time and a staffing study determined 1,300 were needed.