Most of us recall a "prayer rally" that was held on the steps of the Hartford Courthouse by Mayor Perez after one of his court appearances. I think most people thought that was very inappropriate.
Tomorrow another rally is being held on the steps of the Hartford Court for a much different reason. After the recent shooting of Hartford Police Officer Michael Bodner, comments were made to the media that suggested the police officer might be better off dead, and I'm paraphrasing there.
After reading on-line today that four police officers were essentially ambushed in a coffee shop in Washington state and were shot and killed, it drives home the difficult and dangerous nature of police work today. I think most people would agree that the Hartford Police Department is less than perfect and we would like to see even more improvement. The question though is where does the fault for that lie? My feeling is that it lies in a lack of funding on the part of city hall, resulting in a lack of manpower and a lack of appropriate resources dedicated to public safety in Hartford.
The attached press release from the Hartford Police Union outlines the details for Monday's press conference at 9AM at the court at 101 Lafayette Street.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PRESIDENT, HARTFORD POLICE UNION
NOVEMBER 25, 2009
Every day, Hartford police officers face dangerous situations as they protect Hartford’s citizens from its most violent criminals. After two recent violent attacks on police officers by convicted felons, including one incident in which Officer Michael Bodner was shot in the line of duty, the Hartford Police Union has scheduled a press conference to make the public aware of the growing threat to public safety.
This Monday, November 30, 2009, at 9 a.m. at 101 Lafayette Street, the Hartford Police Union is calling upon all members of the community -- including concerned citizens, fellow police officers, and elected officials and representatives from throughout the state -- to stand united in support of Officer Bodner and all other police officers who put their lives on the line every day.
This press conference is being scheduled after friends and family members of Officer Bodner’s assailant appeared at the assailant’s arraignment on November 12, 2009 and made inflammatory and divisive comments outside the courthouse. Some tried to justify the shooting of a police officer.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, in 2008:
• 58,792 police officers were assaulted in the U.S.;
• 41 officers were murdered;
• 68 officers died in accidents while performing their duties.
In Hartford, 20 percent of the officers have been assaulted in 2009 alone.
Hartford Police Union President Richard Rodriguez said that the press conference is intended to show that Connecticut will not tolerate an assault on the rights of police officers. The Hartford Police Union will call upon the state Legislature to pass legislation mandating severe minimum sentences for those who assault police officers once convicted.