The Connecticut State Police Union on Thursday endorsed Democratic gubernatorial contender Ned Lamont and his running mate Susan Bysiewicz, citing the potential threat his GOP challenger, Bob Stefanowski, would have on its members’ wages and benefits.
The union, which represents 1,009 state police officers from the rank of trooper through master sergeant, joined Lamont at a press conference in Meriden to announce its support.
“We need to make sure our police have access to the tools and resources they need to do their job safely and effectively … Susan and I are committed to working hand-in-hand with our officers to enhance the public safety of our residents and troopers and we need to make sure there is adequate staffing to meet the needs of the community,” Lamont said.
The Democratic candidate said Stefanowski’s tax plan would eliminate staffing positions and deny officers access to basic equipment.
Kendall Marr, a spokesman for the Stefanowski campaign, said it’s not surprising that union leaders would get behind the “professional politician.”
“While union leaders may support Lamont, it’s clear that a significant number of the rank and file are moving to Stefanowski’s camp,” Marr said.
Marr said Stefanowski met with the Connecticut Police Chiefs Association on Thursday, where he shared his views about reversing some of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s criminal justice policies if elected.
That would include scrapping the Malloy administration’s Risk Reduction Earned Credit program, which is aimed at encouraging good behavior among offenders and allows inmates to earn a maximum of five days a month off their sentence. Prisoners convicted of some of the most violent crimes are barred from earning credits.
The police union also had backed the Democratic gubernatorial nominee in 2010 and 2014, endorsing Malloy in both his victories over Greenwich Republican Tom Foley.
The 2014 endorsement came despite Malloy’s decision in 2011 to lay off 56 troopers and 23 correction officers after each of their respective unions declined to participate in a major concessions program to help close an unprecedented, $3.7 billion budget deficit.
Malloy later would cancel those layoffs.