The big issue for anyone who attended candidates forums seemed to be public safety. Mayor Segarra constantly reiterated his commitment to Public Safety and making the City safe.
Well, now the election is done and apparently campaign promises mean nothing after the votes are cast.
In Wednesday's COMPSTAT meeting at the Hartford Police Department, department supervisors were told to be prepared for staff cuts and that their walk beats would all be pulled to back fill openings in the Patrol Division. According to sources, supervisors were told by outgoing Chief Daryl K. Roberts that this was only the "first wave" of cuts and was due to budget cuts by Mayor Segarra.
The timing seems quite interesting. In typical political form, we can now see that campaign promises mean nothing. Although "Public Safety" was the political catch phrase during the campaign, it seems that after the polls closed, 12 hours later, public safety can be put on the back burner for another 3 and a half years until the next election cycle.
Although patrol is the backbone of any Police Department, Community Service Officers and walkbeats play a huge role in crime control across the city. Those relationships are invaluable when it comes to controlling or reducing crime. In Hartford, walkbeats, CSO's and SRO's are a huge preventative measure. Unfortunately, because of the nature of the department and under staffing, the Patrol Division has been relegated to be almost exclusively reactionary.
Patrol Officers very rarely are given the time to be proactive or preventative in Hartford, they are too busy answering calls for service after incidents occur. That is not a knock on the patrol officers, it is just the reality that there aren't enough officers on the streets in Hartford.
Maybe rather than stripping walk beats and CSO's from neighborhoods, we should be looking at emptying out some of the 2nd floor at Jennings Road. Really, a detective to handle Freedom of Information requests? A Sergeant to handle backrubs and foot massages for Assistant Chief's? (and if you think I am kidding on that one, just wait until you see what is coming out soon).
Let's see how the voters that fell for empty promises made about Public Safety feel about their neighborhoods being stripped of their walk beat officers and Community Service Officers, while at the same time City Hall is about to be filled with more political appointments and cronies whose claim to fame is that they know how to drive the Mayor around or stick lawn signs in the ground for campaigns.
And I wonder if the Hartford Police Union is rethinking the promises made to them before the election for their endorsements as they head into almost two years without a contract. I would venture to say that is an issue that doesn't build morale or increase productivity and is only costing the City more as officers continue to leave for greener pastures in other Departments.
Will the voters remember in 2015? Probably not.