Substitute Senate Bill No. 1168

Public Act No. 99-171

An Act Concerning Police Pursuits.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 14-283a of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) As used in this section, "police officer" means a sworn member of an organized local police department or a state police officer, which member or officer is assigned to patrol duties on public streets or highways, and "pursuit" [refers to] means an attempt by a police officer in an authorized emergency vehicle to apprehend [one or more occupants] any occupant of another moving motor vehicle, when the driver of the fleeing vehicle is attempting to avoid apprehension by maintaining or increasing [his] the speed of such vehicle or by ignoring the police officer's attempt to stop [him] such vehicle.

[(b) Each police department in a municipality with an organized police department shall adopt a policy for handling pursuits and the Commissioner of Public Safety shall adopt such a policy for the officers responsible for law enforcement in municipalities in which there is no organized police department, and for all other state police officers. Such policy shall specify which driving, support and other police tactics may be employed in the case of a pursuit.]

(b) Not later than January 1, 2000, the Commissioner of Public Safety, in conjunction with the Chief State's Attorney, the Police Officer Standards and Training Council, the Connecticut Police Chiefs Association and the Connecticut Coalition of Police and Correctional Officers, shall adopt in accordance with chapter 54 a uniform, state-wide policy for handling pursuits by police officers. Such policy shall specify: (1) The conditions under which a police officer may engage in a pursuit and discontinue a pursuit, (2) alternative measures to be employed by any such police officer in order to apprehend any occupant of the fleeing motor vehicle or to impede the movement of such motor vehicle, (3) the coordination and responsibility, including control over the pursuit, of supervisory personnel and the police officer engaged in such pursuit, (4) in the case of a pursuit that may proceed and continue into another municipality, (A) the requirement to notify and the procedures to be used to notify the police department in such other municipality or, if there is no organized police department in such other municipality, the officers responsible for law enforcement in such other municipality, that there is a pursuit in progress, and (B) the coordination and responsibility of supervisory personnel in each such municipality and the police officer engaged in such pursuit, (5) the type and amount of training in pursuits, that each police officer shall undergo, which may include training in vehicle simulators, if vehicle simulator training is determined to be necessary, and (6) that a police officer immediately notify supervisory personnel or the officer in charge after the police officer begins a pursuit. The chief of police or Commissioner of Public Safety, as the case may be, shall inform each officer within [his] such chief's or said commissioner's department and each officer responsible for law enforcement in a municipality in which there is no such department of the existence of the policy of pursuit to be employed by any such officer and [he] shall take whatever measures that are necessary to assure that each such officer understands the pursuit policy established.

Sec. 2. Section 14-36e of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) The Department of Motor Vehicles shall prepare for use in all high and other secondary schools a course of study of motor vehicle operation and highway safety.

(b) Each local and regional board of education may provide a course of instruction in motor vehicle operation and highway safety on a secondary school level, which course (1) shall consist of not less than thirty clock hours of classroom instruction offered during or after school hours as said board of education, in its discretion, may provide, including instruction of not less than fifteen minutes concerning the responsibilities of an operator of a motor vehicle under subsection (b) of section 14-223, as amended by this act, and the penalty for a violation of the provisions of said subsection (b), and (2) may include behind-the-wheel instruction of not less than eight clock hours. Said course shall be open to enrolment by any person between the ages of sixteen and eighteen, inclusive, who is a resident of the town or school district or whose parent, parents or legal guardian owns property taxable in such town or school district. Any such board of education may contract for such behind-the-wheel instruction with a licensed drivers' school.

Sec. 3. Section 14-78 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

The commissioner may make regulations for the conduct of drivers' schools, including requirements as to the inspection of the vehicles used by the drivers' schools in the conduct of their business, instructional standards and procedure including instruction of not less than fifteen minutes concerning the responsibilities of an operator of a motor vehicle under subsection (b) of section 14-223, as amended by this act, and the penalty for a violation of the provisions of said subsection (b), the posting of rates charged for instruction, and the general form in which records shall be kept concerning persons under instruction and those who have completed their course of instruction.

Sec. 4. Subsection (b) of section 14-223 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(b) No person operating a motor vehicle, when signalled to stop by an officer in a police vehicle using an audible signal device or flashing or revolving lights, shall increase [his] the speed of the motor vehicle in an attempt to escape or elude such police officer. Any person who violates this subsection shall be [fined not less than five hundred dollars nor more than two thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than one year or both] guilty of a class A misdemeanor, except that, if such violation causes the death or serious physical injury, as defined in section 53a-3, of another person, such person shall be guilty of a class D felony, and shall have [his] such person's motor vehicle operator's license suspended for one year for the first offense, except that the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles may, after a hearing, as provided for in subsection (k) of section 14-111, and upon a showing of compelling mitigating circumstances, reinstate [his] such person's license before the expiration of such one-year period. For any subsequent offense [he] such person shall be [fined not less than one thousand dollars nor more than five thousand dollars or imprisoned not less than one year nor more than five years or both] guilty of a class D felony, except that if any prior offense by such person under this subsection caused, and such subsequent offense causes, the death or serious physical injury, as defined in section 53a-3, of another person, such person shall be guilty of a class D felony for which one year of the sentence imposed may not be suspended or reduced by the court, and shall have [his] such person's motor vehicle operator's license suspended for not less than eighteen months nor more than two years, except that said commissioner may, after a hearing, as provided for in subsection (k) of section 14-111, and upon a showing of compelling mitigating circumstances, reinstate [his] such person's license before such period.

Sec. 5. This act shall take effect July 1, 1999, except that sections 2 to 4, inclusive, shall take effect January 1, 2000.

Approved June 23, 1999

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