Approve inter-town arrest agreement

December 27, 2018

Criminals who operate in small communities certainly don’t confine their misdeeds to a single municipality. Just one example: drug traffickers frequently cross town lines to secure illegal drugs and to make sales. 

Why then, should police seeking to make arrests be hindered by town and city boundaries? We think they should not be, and as such wholeheartedly support a regional police agreement now wending its way through governmental bodies in East Lyme, Waterford and New London. It’s an agreement that simply makes a lot of sense and should be put in place as soon as is reasonably possible. 

The New London City Council authorized the mayor to sign the agreement this month. Waterford First Selectman Daniel Steward earlier signed it and East Lyme’s police chief has said any regional cooperation benefits both the individual towns and the region as a whole. 

Police already have certain so-called extraterritorial abilities. They can, for example, execute an arrest warrant in another town for a crime committed within their jurisdictions. They also can make a criminal arrest outside their jurisdiction when a suspect is actively pursued across a municipal boundary. 

Having this agreement, however, would take cooperation and collaboration for the public’s safety to the next level. This would be a win-win for both police and residents. 

Policing and investigative work could be more effective. Consider, for example, narcotics offenses. These frequently encompass a network of buyers and sellers who stretch throughout the region as opposed to being carried out in a single, distinct location. In ranking categories of arrests made by local police, those for narcotics offenses are among the most frequent.

If approved, the agreement would grant a select and specific group of police officers from each town full arrest powers in any of the three communities. Already legally vetted by each town, the agreement also would allow the designated officers the ability to work on their own, should no local officer be available to assist them. 

The Day has long advocated for regional municipal collaboration and cooperation in a variety of areas. Complete municipal isolationism has grown too costly, and contemporary mobility and technological advances make regionalization more common-sense and easily attainable. This regional policing agreement would take one more step in the right direction and could serve as a model program for other municipalities seeking improved inter-town public safety. 


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