HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -- Governor Ned Lamont has signed a controversial police reform bill into law on Friday.
After the state Senate passed the bill early Wednesday morning, Channel 3 wanted to hear from the public on the matter.
Wednesday’s poll was up live on the Channel 3 app for 12 hours, and was showcased during multiple newscasts.
At the time voting closed, the poll, which is not a scientific one, garnered nearly 9,000 responses.
It asked the question ‘Do you think Gov. Lamont should sign the police accountability bill?’
At the time the poll closed, 92 percent (8,175 votes) said he shouldn’t, voting ‘No.’
Seven percent (667 votes) of voters said ‘Yes,’ and 1 percent (68 votes) said ‘Undecided.’
When asked to comment on the poll earlier in the day on Thursday, Lamont's office responded saying they would "pass" on that request.
Later, during a press briefing, Channel 3 asked the governor about the poll. In response, he said the bill kept qualified immunity in place for all but the most egregious of crimes, and that he thinks people will understand the legislature made the right call.
On Wednesday, even after the debate ended and the bill was passed, senators on both sides of the aisle continued to disagree about how the legislation would impact police in the state.
Supporters said it will help the state get rid of bad cops.
"Once people look at the bill, I don’t think there is really anything that is that threatening in the content except to officers who are bad officers," said Senate majority leader Martin Looney.
Critics, however, said it will only put a target on the back of all police officers.
"You’re going to see police not be proactive, but reactive," said Sen. Len Fasano, minority leader. "In other words, if they see something that they think may be an issue, they are going to be reluctant to intercede, because they are going to get sued."
The bill would make it easier for citizens to sue individual officers in state court, but they would only be held financially liable if they knowingly broke the law. Though, the burden can be shifted to individual towns and cities.
While the bill doesn’t get rid of qualified immunity, it creates a more stringent review process, and decertifies rogue officers.
Supporters say it sets up a process, and those officers who are found guilty will be financially liable.
Many police officers said that the bill would make their jobs even more difficult. They also said it's making good officers want to leave the profession.
The attorney for a number of police unions in the state says they are currently reviewing the constitutionality of the bill and they hope the governor might suspend portions of it if he signs it into law.
“The governor is in a unique position because I believe the governor could exercise his veto power and we are all standing around with these masks on, not because they make us look great, but because there is a pandemic. The governor has issued literally dozens and dozens of executive orders under his authority through this health crisis. He could suspend certain portions of that law once he signs it into law using those powers,” said Marshall Segar, police union attorney.
He said they are currently reviewing the bill to see if any legal challenges to the constitutionality of it are available, like whether areas of the law would conflict with current established federal and state law.
Some also wonder whether this bill will affect potential recruits or force officers to retire.
Waterbury Mayor Neil O'Lear, who helped craft the bill, defended it.
"I believe it will not inhibit them for still wanting to be career officers, but I will say this in general, we have seen over the last decade the number of interested individuals of becoming police officers has been on the decline," O'Leary said.
The Hartford Police Union also responded hours before the signing saying, "To all the cops in CT - the sky is not falling. The Police Accountability Act is what our public collectively wants. Let's get to work, protect our communities and most importantly show people WE CARE about them."
The state House of Representatives passed the measure last week.