Issuing citations in lieu of arrest is a step toward community policing
Both views have merit — indeed, they are two sides of the same coin — but one way to emerge from the morass of entrenched views is to consider something new. Republicans and Democrats usually agree that one of the most effective ways to combat crime is through community policing, in which police officers patrol neighborhoods on foot and get the opportunity to develop relationships with community members to improve public safety. To do this effectively, police officers need two things: time and trust. Time, because the minutes they spend in neighborhoods are minutes they are not pushing papers behind a desk; and trust, because members of the community must feel they are partners with police in the crime-reduction strategy. With more time and more trust, police officers can target the serious offenses topping everyone’s priority list. To facilitate both, changing state law to require citations to be issued in lieu of arrest for low-level offenses, except in rare circumstances, is one step forward the Connecticut Legislature should take.