This might easily be the most difficult post I have written on this blog. I know for sure it is the one that I have lost the most sleep over and spent the most time considering the ramifications, not for me but for the person involved.
Hector Robles is someone I consider a friend, someone I have respected for his actions, his work in the community, but more importantly his honesty and candor with me in many of our private conversations. But like us all, Hector is a human being and human beings make mistakes. How they deal with those mistakes is a measure of themselves and their integrity.
Leadership can be shown , even in the worst situations, by someone who puts the interests of his constituents first, rather than selfish personal reasons. That is exactly the situation facing Hector at this time.
As I said in the beginning, this posting raised several difficult issues. First off, I had no problem raising issues regarding Eddie Perez, John Rose and others. They were easy people to dislike. Hector on the other hand is a different story. He's a likable type guy, always accessible and responsive and overall a decent guy.
With that being said, I would say I expect more out of someone I consider a friend. I had originally heard about an ongoing IAD investigation into certain activities of Hector and his position with the Hartford Police Department. The allegations were troubling to me, and I tried to verify their accuracy. The journalistic standard a couple of my mentors have instilled in me is to double verify everything. Verify the facts through two independent sources who most likely aren't hearing the facts from each other.
The first source related most of the facts to me and advised me that Hector was well aware of the investigation, the facts uncovered and the direction the IAD was taking. The second source related pretty much identical facts and circumstances. But these were allegations that would definitely not only affect Hector's professional career but also his political career.
Not because he is a friend, but because I felt it was the right thing to do I went further. I verified the IAD information with a 3rd and 4th source, both of them also gave me information verifying the facts and all were about the same.
I don't intend to layout all of the information here, but eventually the entire report will have to be released as a public document and will be available here when that happens. In the meantime, it is not a good situation for Hector, HPD or the image of the City of Hartford.
One of the troubling parts of this is the information being fed to the media. Both the HPD spokesperson and Robles are saying that this is an "administrative investigation". This is a matter of more smoke and mirrors. Every IAD investigation could be classified as administrative in nature to begin with. In many cases as the investigation proceeds, information is developed that eventually leads to the uncovering of criminal activity. From what my sources are telling me, that is the case here.
We have had enough of the "smoke and mirrors" defense from Perez's case. We see how that has worked out for him, claiming it was merely a lapse of judgement, right up until the time that a jury convicted him of five felonies. Perez was a huge embarrassment and a media black eye for the city.
Hector has the opportunity to step up, be honest and truthful and do the right thing, unlike his political mentor Perez.It is a very difficult position, but doing the right thing isn't always easy. Admitting you are wrong and are willing to deal with the consequences may be difficult. Putting the city under another cloud of corruption after we are just beginning to come out of the cloud created by the Perez years is not only wrong, it is selfish and will damage everyone in the end as the truth will eventually come out.
Another issue with the investigation is the potential consequences. One high ranking source has said the "ball is in Hector's court". Apparently he has been given the opportunity to resign. That in and of itself is fine if the situation warrants a resignation. If that is being traded for a promise of no prosecution that would be wrong and further undermine the credibility of the Hartford Police Department. If criminal activity is found and documented, and probable cause is established, a decision needs to be made by the States Attorney as to whether an arrest is warranted, not Hartford PD.
Even in a bad situation someone doing the right thing for the City rather than himself will still come out ahead in the end. It might take a lot to regain the public's trust, but being honest up front is a good start.