State Rep. Jason Perillo of Shelton has introduced legislation this session that would further restrict the sale of law enforcement badges to non-law enforcement officials.
The current availability of police credentials for sale to citizens is restricted, with the company making the sale being responsible for verifying the identity of a possible purchaser.
Perillo’s bill further defines what is acceptable as a means of documenting the purchaser is legitimately entitled to the badge.
“A casual review online will show you numerous opportunities to buy law enforcement badges, including customized ones,” Perillo said.
“It is in the interest of public safety that this measure requires any company selling a badge or shield to identify the wearer as holding the office and title for the badge purchased,” he said.
Perillo’s bill would require an official letter from a state, federal or local government agency or an entity that encompasses that office, title or position, which must be verified prior to the sale.
‘From the mischievous to the felonious’
“There aren’t any good reasons why someone would want a police badge which they were not authorized for,” Perillo said. “The potential criminal conduct such a badge could be abused for could potentially range from the mischievous to the felonious.
“Right now there is an availability of highly detailed and official police badges, which are indistinguishable from the real thing, or are in fact the real thing,” he aid. “We need to have tighter restrictions on the availability of these credentials.”
Impersonation of an officer cases
Impersonation of a police officer is a class D felony in Connecticut, punishable by one to five years in prison as well as a fine up to $5,000.
According to data available from the Connecticut Judicial Branch, 243 individuals have been charged with impersonation of a police officer in the state since 2005.
Perillo’s bill, HB 5632: An Act Requiring Certain Documentation for the Sale of a Law Enforcement Badge, has been referred to the legislature’s Public Safety and Security Committee and awaits action there. The current state legislative session runs until midnight on Wednesday, June 3.
Perillo, a Republican, represents the 113th District that covers about half of Shelton. He was first elected in 2007.