Public Policy Advocacy

Framing Connecticut’s Public Safety Agenda

By: Garry Lapidus, PA-C, MPH

Every time a new administration takes office, it represents an opportunity for advocates to influence future public policy priorities with regards to critical areas of importance in our state.

After voters elected Ned Lamont to serve as our state’s next governor, I was honored to be chosen to serve on his public safety transition committee. My colleague Dr. Brendan Campbell, director of pediatric trauma at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, served as a co-chair of the group, along with Enfield Police Chief Alaric Fox.

We met as a committee several times to discuss the priority areas in which we were charged to issue recommendations. We presented our consensus report to the transition team during a meeting in New Haven earlier this month.

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Seated left to right: Alaric Fox (Enfield Police Chief), Mary Fetchet (Voices of September 11th), Lt. Gov.-Elect Susan Bysiewicz, Po Murray (Newtown Action Alliance), Jeremy Stein (Connecticut Against Gun Violence). Standing left to right: Rick Hart (Waterbury Fire Dept. Deputy Chief), Anthony Campbell (New Haven Police Chief), Gov.-Elect Ned Lamont, Dr. Brendan Campbell (Connecticut Children’s Medical Center), Troy Raccuia (AFSCME Council 4 Chief of Staff).

Our recommendations centered around four key areas:

  • Firearms violence and injuries
  • Opioid addiction issues
  • Public safety resources
  • Promotion of motor vehicle safety

Our specific recommendations included adopting new legislation regarding the safe storage of firearms; addressing the opioid epidemic by allowing prison physicians to prescribe suboxone; providing adequate funding for the state crime lab, the state medical examiner’s office, state police, and other public safety areas; expanding the motorcycle helmet law to include all operators and passengers; and requiring the use of seat belts in the backseats of vehicles.

Learn more about our advocacy to require seat belts for all passengers here.

In addition to providing a list of recommendations, we also provided guidance on a number of questions, such as which of our proposals can be addressed within the first 100 days of the Lamont administration, which proposals will spur economic growth, which proposals will result in cost savings to the state, and other issues.

Learn more about our advocacy regarding firearm safety here.

Besides issuing our recommendations, the committee also proposed that consideration should be given to establishing a standing task force to further consider issues raised in the panel’s report and to offer additional recommendations in the future.

Serving on this committee with other distinguished experts in the public safety field was a privilege. I look forward to seeing the work that unfolds, and the progress that is made with regards to advancing public safety, during Ned Lamont’s tenure as our governor.

Garry Lapidus, PA-C, MPH, is the director of Connecticut Children’s Injury Prevention Center and an associate professor of pediatrics and public health at the UConn School of Medicine.

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