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Saturday, December 1, 2012


I know , and will readily admit, that I am part of the problem here when it comes to putting out information about the Hartford Police Department. That is probably because  a lot of the calls I get relate to negative occurrences involving officers or other matters.

Before the comments start flying, I will also say that I try to put out the positive info when I get it.

For anyone that attended the promotion ceremony yesterday, it had to be excitingly obvious that Chief Rovella and his officers are doing something right and the ball is in his court now to keep that momentum going. I have attended a lot of promotion ceremonies over the years and I have to say that yesterday was the best attended that I have ever seen.

 The atrium was full and it was shoulder to shoulder standing room only at the railings on the 2nd and 3rd floors. I think part of it was that Chief Rovella's choices for Deputy Chief's were extremely popular with the rank and file , who showed up to support the new Chief's. There were also many members of the public as well as HPD retirees that showed up to share the sense of optimism that they are feeling in Chief Rovella's vision. He has made tremendous progress in a short period of time and he doesn't seem to be slowing down at all.

photo above from Steve Goode  of the Hartford Courant, twitter posting
As visitors entered City Hall they were treated to a symbolic part of that vision. Three brand new black and white police cruisers were parked at the steps of City Hall, looking like the Christmas display's at Macy's when they highlight their best merchandise at their doorsteps to draw customers in. The cruiser display was the buzz among most people waiting for the new Chief's to march in.

I don't know if itwas planned for the effect it got, but that is exactly what HPD needs to continue doing on a daily basis. There many good things going on that would help build better relationships between the Police and the community, if only the word got out.

I was going shopping at B.J.'s Saturday and when I got off the Flatbush Avenue exit , I saw flashing police lights in front of Walmart. Being nosy, I drove into the lot  to see the HPD Hummer parked at the entrance loaded with toys , rather than another crime incident .It was members of the Hispanic Officer's Association and the HPD Guardians , two fraternal organizations for Black and Hispanic Officers ,conducting a Toy Drive for Hartford's children.

When I dropped of a few toys on my return back from BJ's, one of the officers expressed her displeasure to me when I asked for  details and told me they are doing good things all the time and no one ever knows or hears about it. She told me how they served a couple hundred Thanksgiving Dinners to Hartford residents that would otherwise have gone without the meal on Thanksgiving Day.

As a sidenote, the Toy Drive will continue in front of Walmart tomorrow and next weekend also. Tomorrow the HPD mounted unit will have the horses there also for people to see.. Unwrapped toys will  gladly be accepted.

Now back to the marketing. Have any of you heard about the "Faith Based Initiative" that is being developed under the direction of Chief Rovella and  members of the Hartford City Council? Probably not since no one from the media has covered it, but I have to also say they may not have been invited. The Faith Based Initiative is a simple idea that will probably produce huge results down the road.

In a snapshot, it is trying to gets Hartford's Churches and members to take ownership for a small area around their buildings and neighborhoods, both to victims of violence and potential problem youth.. Chief Rovella frequently refers to the "moral compass" of Hartford's Youth and keeping that compass in line. That is where the Church communities will come into play in identifying potential problems and provide the mentoring and support to break the cycle of violence in Hartford's neighborhoods hopefully. I have attended all three planning meetings and it is a great group with some solid ideas that need to now be put into action.

I know I am oversimplifying it, but it is something that shows Hartford can turn it's problems around with solid partnerships, but people need to know what is going on so they can support it and get involved. At the last meeting hosted by the Archdiocese of Hartford at Saint Thomas Seminary, I half jokingly mentioned that there was no media present to cover the planning session, but if someone got shot all the live trucks would be there immediately to cover it.

Has anyone heard about Chief Rovella's Domestic Violence initiative that starts Monday? Probably not because there has been no coverage that I am aware of. Again a basic idea, but Domestic Violence calls eat up a huge amount of HPD resources. And paraphrasing here and not speaking for Chief Rovella, the way it has been explained to me is that it is about breaking the cycle of domestic violence in Hartford's families.

I think the focus is going to be working with youth and the victims of domestic violence to keep the next generation of adults from feeling domestic violence is acceptable because they grew up seeing it.
Four detectives are being reassigned as of Monday to begin the initiative in an attempt to curb Hartford's incidents of domestic violence.

I know the media plays a huge role in the negative sensationalism coverage that Hartford gets. Yellow crime scene tape and bodies in the street draw more viewers an sell more papers than toys for children being loaded in a cruiser. A police officer stealing lobsters gets far more attention and comments than 5 positive promotions to Deputy Chief, but that is where marketing and relationships  need to come into play.

Churning out press releases won't dot it alone. Someone needs to have the guts to lay down the gauntlet to the media. If you are going to call when you want the negative information, you better take the call and produce results when HPD wants the positive information put out also. It needs to be a two way street, beneficial to both sides.

I think the goodwill is running high right now and now is the time to take advantage. With violent crime and homicide stats possibly being the lowest they have been in 30 years, the message needs to get to our media partners that HPD is moving, not just into a new building but in a new direction.

Next Saturday, December 8th, the next meeting of the Faith Based Initiative planners will be hosted by Trinity Episcopal Church at 120 Sigourney Street from 9:00am until noon, let's see if there is any media coverage and which outlets are willing to jump on the good news also.


Anonymous said...

yeah....just what the department needed.....more chiefs.....oh and a new supervisor that lied in a report and febricated a statement......thats quality right there....dont let the new cruisers fool you Kevin.....the moral in the department is at an all time low......the changes are not for the better...there for the few....ask around to the rank and file....we are almost out numbered by Shooting task force members and deputy till the new department opens......even more of a dont have to print this Kevin....but ask around and see how people really feel about the NEW direction the chief is going in.....i will give you a clue....look down....

Anonymous said...

What a joke... Homicide stat the lowest in 30 years? That's is not even close to being correct. Check your stats 22 homicides isn't the lowest no matter how you count it. If there was an investigative reporter worth their weight they would take a good look at HPD stats. The stats are juked, c'mon man you can't see it? Sex assaults down 60+%? Why isn't the Chief claiming victory and lauding a crime or intervention strategy? Because the books are cooked and the DOJ audit will prove it. Robberies turned to larcenies, burglaries not counted... It goes on and on and on. I'm sure the new team of chiefs will be right on it! If they come to work... Come to think of it, that's a larceny too. And the beat goes on... Stay tuned.

Anonymous said...

Amen Bros. But Anonymous 3;59, why do you seem surprised? This is never gonna change. From that farce of a nationwide search to last weeks promotional ceremony, the beat goes on and the rich keep getting richer. All Jimmy did was take care of his friends and make unnecessary moves. But it will never change as long as the powers that be at City Hall keep making guys chiefs that never even passed their sergeants tests. We all see what happened with that last dope.

"Serving the Capital City" said...

Kevin, the drama in this place is unbelievable. It’s better than a soap opera. The changes that are going to take place in the department are for the better. If you don’t see it that way, walk up to personnel and put your two weeks in. This job isn’t for everyone and if you cannot accept the politics and favoritism that come with it you should leave. Let’s talk about a few of the issues in the Hartford Police Department. Officers’ attitudes are the reason why people hate Hartford Police Officers. How about get out of your car and talk to people! This is not “Colors” or “Rampart”. We are not living in the 1980s or 1990s anymore. This is Hartford, Connecticut. We have to teach our newer officers how to be better Cops because that’s our future. But that’s my opinion. Believe me, I am all about locking someone up, but you cannot lower your standards.