Police to upgrade their 'policy and procedure'

Chief Shawn Boyne says he is putting the final touches on revamping the New Milford Police Department.

The consulting firm Daigle Law Group is being hired to review, analyze and revise the written policies and procedures of the department.

The Town Council approved a $30,000 transfer of funds Monday in the police department's 2012-13 budget to pay for the service.

"This is what the department needs to tie up its reorganization," Boyne told the council. "We need procedures in place that make policy implementation easily defined for officers."

The last review and revision was begun in the early 2000s, but never completed, said Boyne, who came to the NMPD in 2010.

An incomplete compendium of documents and subsequent emails outlining upgrades exists at this time, he said.

Boyne wants one clearly defined, completed document that officers can draw on in the field with mobile computers. This would give officers immediate information on how to proceed when involved in response to a situation, such as a domestic dispute, he explained.

"As it stands now, insight from a supervisor on the command level must be obtained on what is required on arrival to assure no logistical mistakes are made," Boyne said. "This is time-consuming and not efficient."

Officers would also be given a CD of the policies and procedures to watch on being hired.

Town attorney Randy DiBella agreed Daigle is the best choice for the job.

"Eric Daigle is a consultant who specializes in preparing a comprehensive policy to be implemented by command staff and officers," DiBella said. "I couldn't recommend him more highly than the chief does. This is a terrific idea."

The New Milford Police Department experienced a number of incidents involving officers in the late 1990s that called for a review and revision of policy and procedures.

The death of Angela D'Aquila, 17, in June 1998 when her car was struck by a police cruiser speeding to an incident prompted the arrest of Officer William Scribner on a charge of negligent homicide with a motor vehicle, and a suit by D'Aquila's parents.

Scribner appealed a jury conviction in the case, reducing the charges to a misdemeanor, and he remained on the force.

The shooting death of Franklyn Reid during apprehension by Officer Scott Smith in December 1998 resulted in Smith's arrest and a lawsuit against the town by Reid's family.

Smith appealed a jury conviction and pled "no contest" to a charge of criminal negligent homicide in 2004, receiving probation.

stuz@newstimes.com; 860-355-7322