On Monday, July 20, the Shelton Democratic Town Committee voted to approve a resolution of support for the Shelton Police Department, and their union, in the legal struggle against Mayor Mark Lauretti’s administration over access to the police department building restrooms and locker rooms and the attempt to punish officers for exercising their First Amendment right to free speech. We call on the city to take the following actions:

1. Immediate resolution of the locker room and bathroom situation, giving officers access to clean and sanitary facilities that meet CDC recommendations to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and meet the approval of the Shelton Police Union.

2. Swift resolution of all internal affairs investigations and the return to work for officers dismissed for exercising their First Amendment rights, without further retaliatory actions.

3. Withdrawal of the citation issued against the union representative for attempting to protect his workers through an inspection of the portable toilets on police department grounds.

4. Expungement of all disciplinary actions and suspensions taken in retaliation for the exercising of officers’ First Amendment rights.

Mayor Lauretti’s lockout of police department locker and restrooms during a pandemic is clear retaliation against the union for winning multiple labor grievances against his administration. This is not the first time Lauretti has antagonized the police officer’s union. In 2001, in a New Haven Register article by Rick Scavetta, Lauretti referred to the police union as “a nest of vipers,” while in the midst of a fight with them over corruption of the promotional process. Unsurprisingly, yet another grievance over corruption of the promotional process was decided in favor of the union on May 5 of this year. Nearly 20 years later, Shelton has a different chief — but the same mayor and the same grievances.

As Shelton Democrats, we find it completely unacceptable for any employer, including the city of Shelton, to jeopardize the health and safety of their employees at any time, but especially now when COVID-19 adds further risk to the health and safety of our police officers and their families.

We believe unions are a necessary tool in protecting workers’ rights and advocating for safe work environments. We are appalled at the Lauretti administration’s mistreatment of Shelton’s police officers and approve this resolution to express our concerns and disappointment. We invite all Shelton residents to join us in support of our police officers.