Search This Blog

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.

Friday, November 30, 2012


After hob nobbing with the likes of Ricky Martin and Shakira, it was bound to happen. Hartford's Mayor Pedro Segarra has gone Hollywood in the latest version of Gangham Style.

Word is that Segarra now needs police protection when he is out in public due to his superstar status.

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!


On Monday , Hartford Fire Department Deputy Chief of Training Dan Nolan returned to his job with the city as a result of a court order after his wrongful termination. Nolan has also filed a lawsuit against the city for damages as a result of his termination.

The lawsuit filing is below, although it is somewhat short on specifics in the suit, I gues that is the way these things work. It should prove to be an interesting trial as witnesses are put under oath and questioned. Among them will most likely be the Hartford Fire Union President Vincent Fusco as he will have to divulge his involvement in the termination and what he did and when.

Tickets should be sold for the questioning of  Former Fire Chief Charles Teale as he states under oath the tale of Springfield Strip clubs and payments he took from an opthamologist to cover penalties for misusing the Hartford Fire Academy for his personal gain. (These things are already on the record from the Labor board hearings). Luckily for Teale the statute of limitations has expired on the payoff.

Somehow I think the City will be scrambling to settle this one for a large amount rather than have more dirty laundry from a corrupt City hall aired in public..

This is a story that still isn't done yet and promises to get even worse before it is done. Stay tuned.

Nolan (1)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Change is well underway at HPD. Some of it will be obvious, some will not be that obvious to the general public. One of the most obvious will be the new fleet of police cruisers about to hit Hartford's streets. HPD will be breaking from tradition and starting to take part in a national trend in putting black and white cruisers on Hartford's streets.

The first of the new fleet are arriving and being outfitted now.

Another change will not be quite as obvious. This Friday at 2:00PM at City Hall, Chief Rovella will be promoting 5 individuals to the rank of Deputy Chief. Read more about the promotions here, These promotions will mark the first time in several years that the Command Staff of HPD has actually come close to representing the makeup and diversity of the community they serve.

More encouraging information is also coming out this week that we have a shot, no pun intended, of having the lowest homicide rate in almost thirty years. Although everyone wants to potentially take credit, especially our Mayor and other politicians, the fact of the matter is that the vision of a handful of people are responsible for the crime reductions. Foremost among them is Hartford's new Chief James Rovella and a person who has been instrumental in implementing and carrying out Rovella's vision, Hartford Police Lieutenant Lance Sigersmith, Commander of HPD's Intelligence Division and the Shooting Task Force, Credit needs to go as well to all of the agencies and personnel working hard to clean up our City under "Team Rovella",

Across the board from the beginning of Rovella's tenure, it seems that a new sense of professionalism and motivation  has swept over HPD and I don't mean to belittle any ones efforts by leaving anyone out. Major crimes detectives are clearing more cases through good investigations and taking criminals off the streets, Patrol officers are carrying their weight knowing that there is a new sense of accountability and fairness in discipline when needed.

Things seem to be starting to click as a team and the results seem to be showing, Whether through increased morale or reduced crime stats.the results are obvious. I guess that is what effective leadership does.

What the politicians who are eager to take credit for the results need to keep in mind  is that these results don't happen by chance and without an associated cost. Reduced crime in the Capitol City doesn't come cheap. It involves overtime for staffing, equipment and other supplies and related expenses. In a City that sometimes spends money ridiculously, tough choices are going to be made during the upcoming budget season, one of the areas that should not be cut is Public Safety because under Rovella we are finally getting our money's worth. Compare his results to those of the Board of Education and see where we are getting our money's worth.

The results are obvious.Crime is dropping and people "afraid" of Hartford are sure to take notice if HPD handles the message properly. Both our local leaders and our state leaders need to do their part to make sure their investment is properly protected and properly funded. Chief Rovella's vision isn't cheap, but it is working  and the results are showing