The whole process has appeared to be bizarre when you consider the events that unfolded. Last year Governernor Malloy and Chief State's Attorney Kevin Kane, concerned over the rising number of shootings and homicides plagueing Hartford, brought about the creation of the Hartford Shooting Task Force. Kevin Kane's Chief inspector from his office , James Rovella,was hand selected to oversee the task of creating and operating the Task Force.
Rovella's efforts produced almost immediate results and the results were clearly obvious. Violent crime as well as homicides appeared to come to a screeching halt as the numbers that initially promised to set record numbers for Hartford leveled off and most people felt safer. The constant stories in the media of gun seizures and arrests under Rovella's leadership became almost a daily reminder of what could be done to turn Hartford's image around and make its neighborhoods safer.
Then internal management problems inside HPD began to fester and became public. The Lt Brook's transfer by Chief Daryl Roberts resulted in Mayor Segarra calling for an independent outside review, conducted by former HPD officer Frank Rudewicz. The final report was less than flattering to the current HPD management and eventually resulted in the resignation of Chief Roberts. Assistant Chief Brian Heavren was appointed as the acting Chief , and for whatever reason, that tenure was short lived and after two months, he was removed and Chief Rovella assumed the reigns of HPD.
Many people , myself included,considered Rovella the perfect fit to assume the top leadership role in HPD permanently. He knew the organization well since he had retired from HPD before going to the State's Attorney's Office, he had made Mayor Segarra look like a hero reducing Hartford's homicide rateand violent crime drastically in less than 8 months and he had very strong ties to both the State's Attorney's Office, the Governor's Office as well as the courts.
For whatever reason Segarra chose to conduct a national search at the cost of over $50,000 to the tax payers of a cash strapped City. Robert Wasserman of Strategic Policy Partnership was selected to conduct the search and his results seem to reinforce that Rovella was the best fit all along.
One of the candidates , Frank Straub , is resigning as the Public Safety Director for Indianapolis Indiana effective August 1, 2012 under a cloud of reported inefficiency and mismanagement during his short tenure in Indiana. Straub has also never been a certified Police Officer and would most likely have to complete the full Police Academy training requirements to serve as Hartford's Chief. That would potentially mean 23 weeks of Academy training as well as 12 weeks of Field Training time with an experienced Police Officer (FTO). Hartford can hardly afford to hire a Chief and wait more than half a year for him to be able to begin functioning in his position.
The municipal code of the City of Hartford also requires that the Police Chief be a sworn Police Officer with "full powers of arrest". The full powers of arrest can only be obtained by a "POST" certified police officer. POST is the Police Officers Standards and Training Council in Meriden which certifies every Police Officer in the State of Connecticut.
I really have to question the Wasserman selection process and what they consider as "Top candidates" " when you look into the qualifications and history of those names they brought forward.
Although Straub may just be unqualified because of his certifications issues, running his current agency at an estimated $30million dollar deficit should raise some red flags. But when you look at the next candidate, red flares should be bursting all over City Hall.
Candidate number two on the Wasserman list is a former Police Chief in Newark New Jersey, Irving Bradley jr.. The press release from Mayor Segarra's Office by his Chief of Staff described Bradley as follows:
Irving Bradley, Jr., former Chief of Police in Newark and Director of Police in Trenton, NJ, is Vice President for Education Safety and Security with Bowles Corporate Security, the company charged with handling security for the Trenton school district. He also served as Director of Communications for the City of Trenton, where he directed and managed all activities of the public safety Communications Center. He graduated from Shaw University in Raleigh, N.C. with a BA in Behavioral Science and is an active member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives.
They left a couple of his other accomplishments out of the press release.While the Communications Director for Trenton New Jersey, Bradley apparently had a few too many drinks and was found slumped over the wheel of his City vehicle by a Rahway New Jersey police officer. After an altercation in which Bradley was alleged to have assaulted a police officer he led the Rahway Police on a a chase, in his city car.
After Bradley was eventually apprehended he was charged with the following before agreeing to a plea deal: resisting arrest, reckless driving, driving while intoxicated, refusal to take a Breathalyzer test, eluding police, aggravated assault, failure to stop, improper lane change, two counts of failure to stop or yield, two counts of failure to observe a traffic signal and speeding up to 40 mph in a 25 mph zone, according to the Star-Ledger.
Allegations such as those Bradley was charged with would prevent most applicants from even being considered to be hired as a new police officer in Hartford, never mind them being considered for Chief. Is this the leadership we would encourage for Hartford PD. I guess I have a much different view of a qualified applicant than Mr. Wasserman does.
This is the best we can get for a $50,000 search?
Jeff Cohen at WNPR has some interesting quotes in s story he did last week, click here to read Jeff's story