New Haven CT Nov 7 2016 More than 70 police officers at Yale University are protesting a new policy that allows them to be fired if they don’t pass a firearms test in 30 working days after having failed it twice.
The officers say the new policy puts their jobs at risk because they don’t have enough time to practice for the exam, which requires shooting a target from different distances.
A shrinking number of ranges in the area means officers have to travel farther to train, said Mike Hall, a spokesman for the officers’ union, the Yale Police Benevolent Association. Officers have had to travel as far as Glastonbury, Conn., because the ranges at the New Haven Police Department are often busy, he said.
The Yale Police Department didn’t return a request for comment.
University spokesman Thomas Conroy said the campus police will have a shooting range at a training center under construction for New Haven officers and pointed out that the new policy extends the time that officers have to pass the test from 30 calendar days to 30 working days.
“Yale officers are provided with ample opportunity to qualify with their service weapons,” Mr. Conroy said.
Because of the distance to Glastonbury and the limited availability of the New Haven ranges, Mr. Hall said officers should have 90 working days to pass the exam.
Under the old policy, an officer who didn’t pass the test after 30 calender days had his or her test results reported to the chief, but union members said firing wasn’t an option.
For the union, Mr. Hall said, the new policy is another restriction placed on officers since the 2015 detention of Tahj Blow, the son of Charles Blow, a New York Times columnist. An officer drew a weapon on the younger Mr. Blow, who fit the description of a suspect; his father wrote a column about the confrontation.
In response, the university said it formed a panel, which found the encounter “was deeply troubling” and recommended that officers wear body cameras. They now wear the cameras.
Mr. Conroy said the new test policy wasn’t in response to any specific incident.
“Yes, the union has stated its disagreement with the policy,” he said. “We believe it is a sound policy.”