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Saturday, August 18, 2012


Our new Police Chief James Rovella speaks often about the "moral compass" of our youth and the importance of keeping it adjusted from an early age. The You Tube video below isn't from New York City or Chicago or LA, it is from right here in Hartford, 222 South Marshall Street to be exact

If there is a moral compass on these youth , it is clearly spinning out of control like a gyroscope. Is this the best that they can do for activity, especially troubling , besides the females fighting is the young boy that appears to be about eight years old and the kicks he is taking to the head of the girl on the ground. Where are the adults and why is no one stepping up to stop this beating?

Also note the ankle bracelet on one of the kids, so he is obviously not a stranger to the Criminal Justice System at an early age

Thursday, August 16, 2012


After years of dressing up police cars in blue or red, adding fancy swishing graphics or nothing at all, more police departments are returning to tried-and-true: going back to the "retro" black and white look.

Word is that black and white police cruisers may start appearing on the streets of Hartford in the near future.

The primary reason for the black-and-white color scheme of police cars is their visibility. Studies have shown that the alternation of light and dark colors increase the visibility of the vehicle in both high and low lighting

.Another major reason for the color scheme is the pride associated with the identification of the two colors. Due to the common usage of the colors from almost all departments in the United States, it brings forth the commonality of a brotherhood in law enforcement.

In the 1990s, many police agencies switched their color schemes to solid white, blue or green colors. This was done as a way to save money, as budgets were getting tighter. Police emblems were embellished as a way to make the cars more distinct from civilian cars.In the mid-2000s, departments began shifting back to the black-and-white paint jobs. Surveys of both officers and civilians have shown that the black-and-white color scheme is more favorable, accessible and identifiable
In Mesa, Ariz., the police department's 287 marked Ford Crown Victoria cruisers — white with a blue decal on the doors — will be switched to black-and-whites over the next six years.

 "Studies have shown that cars with alternating light and dark colors are more visible in low light or high illumination," says department spokesman Chuck Trapani. He says many civilian cars are white in a hot-weather region. Having cruisers painted black on the hoods, trunks and fenders will make them more visible, both to other drivers and the department's helicopter

**Information from numerous internet sources

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


I vote no deal. On Monday night the Hartford City Council will hold a public hearing to discuss a retirement incentive package for a Hatford Police Assistant Chief , two Deputy Chief's and an Assistants Fire Chief.

The lucrative deals are usually created to clear out deadwood and provide an incentive to avoid costly litigation. In most of these cases the beneficiaries are given some sort of health care incentive as well as bridging time if they haven't completed their 20 years of service for their pensions.

In the case of the Hartford Assistant Chief, John Horvath if the incentive package were the only way to get him out the door without a lawsuit, fine, approve it. But Horvath has just accepted a position as Police Chief at UMASS , at Amherst and will be starting there September with a reported starting salary of $140,000

Should a City that can hardly afford it, now provide an incentive package for someone that will be leaving anyway. I say no. The Hartford City Council has handed these packages out like candy for years and it is time to review the procedure and end it.


Many parts of Hartford's "crime puzzle" seem to have been put in place over the last 12 months. The implementation of the Shooting Task Force, the permanent appointment of Chief Rovella and even the "faith based" forum held recently by the Hartford City Council are all important pieces.

Hartford's violence, similar to many large cities, is not something we can "Police"our way out of. I think Chief Rovella and others would probably readily admit that the problem is far greater.

Last night I stopped by the crime scene of our latest homicide on Sterling Street. Some of the details are horrendous, especially related to the victim, as if his death wasn't bad enough. The yellow crime scene tape roped across the section of Sterling Street marked the area where the shooting occurred.

The area was still full of police vehicles and police officers on the scene. Shell casings were waiting to be picked up and tagged. Detectives were scanning the street with flashlights  looking for additional evidence and a clump of someones hair that had been torn out during an apparent altercation was eventually placed in an evidence bag.

The victim was actually gunned down and died in the street in front of his 4 year old daughter. The saddest part was that the girl watched her father die as an apparently innocent victim of Hartford's violence. He was not the intended victim, he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. From what I was told by witnesses, the shooter opened fire on the crowded street, a street occupied by families and many children out on a warm summer night.

Chief Rovella often talks about the moral compass of these shooters who make the decision to settle arguments at the barrel of a gun. I am not sure this suspects moral compass is capable of being adjusted if she was so cold blooded that she would fire into a crowd and kill an innocent father..

The other sad observation was that our communities almost seem to be immune  to the violence. People would approach the crime scene tape carrying their groceries or other items and be escorted to their front doors by a police officer. Only one person that passed me while I was there actually asked me what happened, and even when I explained it. it almost seemed like they were used to it,

The issue of the moral compass is a huge factor to be addressed. I had a conversation earlier with Congressman Murphy as he was talking to voters at Rawson School. We began talking about Chief Rovella and his plans and I mentioned to Murphy my conversations with the Chief about his plans to buils the PAL program. Murphy to his credit was well aware of the success of the Waterbury PAL program which I wrote about here a couple weeks ago.

Murphy mentioned how less violent Waterbury was and he talked about the officer's in Waterbury and how they were involved with Waterbury youth at a much younger age , during the critical years when their "moral compasses" are still capable of being adjusted and influenced by positive role models.

State Representative Doug McCrory from the 7th District, myself and Chief Rovella met recently to discuss the needs of the PAL program and its future and building some solid partnership with other groups. Since much of this violence clearly impacts McCrory's district, he has a vested interest in being part of the solution. McCrory has a timeline he hopes to stick to for his bridge building and realizes time is of the essence.

Congressman Murphy, potentially Senator Murphy, can also play a role since the solution to expand the program will not be without costs. Costs that the Police Department budget may not easily absorb. But I guess the big question is what is the cost of each homicide. We know after last night there is a 4 year old girl who will now grow up without the influence of her father in her life. No father to provide for her and keep her "moral compass" adjusted as she grows.

I haven't written much about the "faith based forum" but that is another big part of the puzzle. The church community potentially has a large impact on our young people. The conversations have begun, some solutions have been put on the table, and now they need to be enacted. The schools also need to do their part.

It is not enough to warehouse kids every day focusing on increasing their test scores. There is far more that needs to be done, after school mentoring programs , cooperation with the PAL program and assisting in providing resources to get the job done, including facilities necessary to make it happen.

If people in Hartford are serious about protecting and developing our children, hopefully they will get on board before another 4 year old has to watch her father gunned down


The above flyer is from Robles's 2010 campaign when he misled voters by telling the voters that the allegations against him were purely administrative. That was apparently a lie as Robles was eventually arrested after a probe by the Chief State's Attorney's Office

Voters in Hartford and across Connecticut spoke at the voting booths yesterday and it would seem that the message may have been that criminal behavior by our elected officials is  not acceptable. Specifically for Hartford a message was sent on two fronts. Hector Robles the current State Representative in the 6th District was rebuked by Hartford's voters. Robles is currently headed to trial after his arrest and subsequent termination as a Hartford Police Officer.

Although Robles misled his constituents throughout the campaign by claiming that the charges were going to be dropped and he was going to get his police job back, voters apparently saw through that and realized he was lying to them. Despite numerous Court dates, the charges have not been dismissed and Robles is headed for pre-trial activity and potentially jury selection for his trial on October 9, 2012.

 The second Hartford race was for Democratic Registrar of Voters. Hartford political operative Ramon Arroyo was able to obtain the endorsement of the Hartford Democratic Town Committee by calling in his political favors and leveraging positions of employment in the Registrars Office to garner the votes needed to get the endorsement. All of this in despite of Arroyo's previous arrest for soliciting prostitutes while he was a City employee.

One City Hall insider told me Monday that no one cared about the arrest because it was over twenty years ago. Apparently voters may have thought differently. Arroyo was supported by Mayor Segarra, New Haven Mayor John DeStefano 7th District State Representative Doug McCrory and former State Representative Ken Green.

Arroyo appeared on the top row of the ballot with Senate candidate Chris Murphy and the general consensus was that would have allowed Arroyo to ride Murphy's coat tails, but the voters had other ideas and instead chose the current Registrar Olga Vazquez to remain in office.

In the 5th Congressional District the voters chose not to endorse House Speaker Christopher Donovan . Although Donovan has not been charged  in the scandal that has encompassed his campaign, that might change at anytime as the investigation has proceeds.

And finally another vote that exposed the worst of Town Committee politics and the best of voters doing the right thing, Ernie New ton of Bridgeport was sent packing by the voters. Newton was arrested convicted and served jail time for using the senate position he was trying to reclaim to solicit bribes for his own gain His endorsement by the Bridgeport Democratic Town Committee surprised many , but then again that's politics, it isn't about finding the best candidates.

And finally, now that the Hartford City Council has approved "Abe Giles Way" can I suggest that we name the street in front of the new Public Safety Complex "Hector Robles Way" so that we can memorialize his criminal activity also....allegedly. He actually did do some good things for the City before he scammed us....allegedly.

Monday, August 13, 2012


It amazes me how the Mayor's Office can take months to get a Police Chief selection approved and yet they can get a press release out within minutes condemning Mitt Romney's choice for Vice President.

I think they might need to reassess their priorities. What effects Hartford more, the selection of our next Police Chief  or Romney's running mate. I only wish they would have moved as quick in the Police Chief selection as they did for a partisan press release.

The press release might actually be a violation of Hartford's ethics rules if you read the release it is not just informational, it clearly is supportive of the Obama campaign, and that is improper using City resources and City staff for personal political gain by the Mayor.

As a City, we had better hope that Romney doesn't win , otherwise these words might come back to haunt us when we go looking for Federal dollars. They may want to hit the spell check button also, I left the headline just as it was sent.

Here is the text of the release:
(August 11, 2012) --- Mayors Pedro Segarra, John DeStefano and Bill Finch released the following statement after the announcement that Mitt Romney has selected Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan as his running mate.
“Today’s announcement should strike fear into the middle class and everyone who fights daily to make ends meet. Ryan’s budget proposal would kill cities like Bridgeport, Hartford and New Haven. It is already difficult enough for Mayors; every day is a battle to invest in the right job-creating initiatives, make whole on our promise of a high-quality education for every student and maintain a high quality of life. Ryan – and clearly Mitt Romney – thinks that slashing critical funding for social services, dismantling Medicare and tax cuts for the very wealthy is the best solution for America.
We do not support Romney's decision, nor do we support Ryan's "Path to Prosperity" plan. As Mayors of Connecticut’s largest cities, we encourage every resident in our respective cities to look at the facts, especially Representative Ryan's voting record in Congress, to see what kind of future he has in mind. November’s election will not only impact our collective future, but also our immediate quality of life and the bottom line of middle class Americans. We’ve already had to endure the disastrous Bush/Cheney years. At no point in recent history has it been more important that we learn from our past mistakes.
President Obama and Vice President Biden have a clear vision for America: one that is built on fairness, equity, rewarding hard-work and increased opportunity. From saving the American car industry, to making health care more accessible and affordable, to raising educational standards – like we’ve done in Hartford and New Haven and are doing in Bridgeport – it is clear that we already have a team in the White House that is best equipped to tackle our biggest problems.”