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New London Police Union and City Council reach an agreement over a civilian review board for police

John Bazemore
Associated Press

A tentative three-year contract for the New London Police Union will pave the way for a Police Civilian Review Board to build a bridge between the community and police force while increasing the accountability of officers.

The provisional agreement improved annual evaluations, raises and random drug testing for police officers — which stems from the July 2020 Police Accountability Act.

The contract features 2% raises in the first year for officers and 1.5% raises in 2024 in hopes of a higher retention rate and to attract new candidates.

“I think the city was flexible with us and I think the union was flexible with the city and we came to something that was palatable for everyone,” said Joshua Bergeson, the president of the police union.

Bergeson also said that budget and staffing issues are “an easy improvement” with the new policies set out in the contract.

Both the police union and City Council have approved the agreement, but the language of the contract still has to be finalized.

“The tentative agreement has been approved by City Council, so what happens now is we kind of have the bullet points,” Bergeson said. “Once the city law director reviews it… we’ll sign the finalized full language.”

The Police Civilian Review Board will likely replace the Police Community Relations Committee, which has stirred up controversy in the past as a few members of the board were criticized for having an anti-police agenda.

The Public Safety Policy Review Committee proposed a Police Civilian Review Board last January sparked by the murder of George Floyd.

Samantha is a former news intern with WSHU Public Radio.