Editorial: Thumbs down to CT police resisting getting COVID vaccine

Connecticut State Police badge.

Connecticut State Police badge.

Connecticut State Police

Thumbs down to the failure of many Connecticut police to get vaccinated. Some departments have come out against vaccine requirements, including Stamford, which reports that only 59 percent of the police staff have been vaccinated. Some city departments have a better turnout, including Danbury with 80 percent. Even worse, some departments did not — or would not — reply to the Hearst Connecticut Media Group’s requests for the data (including large cities Bridgeport, Hartford and Waterbury). Gov. Ned Lamont’s order to get vaccinated or take weekly tests does not apply to local law enforcement, though some municipalities have their own mandates. At a time when police everywhere face dangerous erosion in public trust, this is a step in the wrong direction.

Thumbs down to a report that showed more than 1,100 school suspensions were issued to 670 students in prekindergarten through second grade in the 2019-2020 school year. That this happened in spite of 2015 legislation that narrowed the parameters of when young children can be suspended from school makes the issue more urgent. “It’s absolutely indefensible,” said state Child Advocate Sarah Eagan, who said teachers need more support. Children of color make up some 70 percent of the suspensions, state officials said. Much of what is eligible for suspension is open to interpretation, but the numbers are clear that students are being shortchanged.

Thumbs down to mosquitoes found in southeast Connecticut that tested positive for eastern equine encephalitis, a rare illness which affects the brain. The mosquitoes were trapped in Pachaug State Forest in Voluntown. Health officials advise residents to protect themselves, particularly at dusk and dawn, by wearing repellent and covering bare skin. Symptoms for EEE include high fever, headache, stiff neck and decreased consciousness. Mosquito activity is expected to diminish in the coming weeks.

Thumbs down to the poaching of wild turtles, which a group of state agencies is working to stop in an effort to protect local populations. Without disclosing details due to ongoing investigations, state officials have confirmed there have been significant turtle confiscations in the state in recent years. In response, the Collaborative to Combat the Illegal Trade in Turtles, a collection of law enforcement officials, biologists and conservationists, has recognized the need for a coordinated response, and is working across jurisdictions to offer protection. For anyone wondering, it’s illegal in Connecticut to keep native turtle species as pets.