State Commits Resources To Reduce Violence in Hartford
It’s not everything the city of Hartford wanted, but after an emergency meeting with top state officials Monday the city will receive additional resources to help it deal with a spike in homicides.
As of Monday, the state had given Hartford four state police detectives, two additional parole officers, and two correction officers to provide intelligence to police. It will also help fund a gun buyback program, additional parole resources, and technical resources to assist in tracking ex-offenders.
“We’re offering even more resources than requested by the mayor,” Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said after Monday’s meeting in the Emergency Operations Center of the state armory.
There have been 18 homicides in Hartford this year, which is just one shy of last year’s total.
“Connecticut must be a strategic partner with the city to combat violence and the loss of life of our residents,” Malloy said. “We held today’s meeting to make sure that our resources were being used as part of an overall strategy to help combat the violence.”
Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra and Hartford Police Chief James Rovella said they appreciated the help and are working hard to combat the violence.
“There are a couple of additional requests that we will continue to work on,” Segarra said.
Segarra requested the additional resources last week. Since its peak in 2011, resources to the Shooting Task Force, which was credited for a reduction in violence, had dissipated. Segarra, who is in a tough re-election campaign, contacted Malloy last week to ask for additional help to bring the task force back up to its 2011 capacity.
“The chief has been very clear that this is not a problem we can arrest ourselves out of,” Segarra said.
Segarra said in addition to the task force he would like the state to help fund a traffic unit.
“Guns and drugs do move through vehicles and I think that a greater collaboration and partnering with the state police in that effort could be beneficial for us,” Segarra said.
In addition to Segarra’s requests, Rovella said his department will need to hire 150 new officers within the next 3 to 5 years. There are currently 18 new recruits expected to graduate from the police academy in October.
An internal Hartford Police Department report obtained by NBC Connecticut concluded that 108 more officers are needed to provide full patrols of the city.
Both Rovella and Segarra recognized the financial hurdle hiring more officers poses for the city.
Segarra said he is anticipating future “significant conversations” about how the city plans to pay for the additional officers.
In the meantime, “we’ve gone through the process of staffing up in terms of overtime, in order to account for the reduction of actual uniformed officers in the force,” Segarra said.
Segarra said they want to be able to increase the number of officers so the “community policing model” can be in place. But while they figure out how to do that they need to analyze what’s happening.
Rovella said one percent of Hartford’s criminals are responsible for 75 to 80 percent of the city’s violent crimes. He said they are tracking those individuals, but the recent uptick in crime has been in some “unusual” locations with some “unusual” types of motives.
He said people are shooting people “at the drop of a hat,” which is “difficult to understand.”
Madeline Stocker contributed to this report.