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Friday, February 1, 2013


Former Hartford Assistant Police Chief John Horvath has filed a lawsuit against the City of Hartford in which he appears to claim that he was terminated from the city of Hartford by Chief James Rovella in retaliation for his pursuit of charges against , at the time, IAD commander Lt. Neville Brooks.

The lawsuit appears to be based on m mostly "he said , she said" allegations in which Horvath claims that as retaliation for him pursuing allegations against former Lt Brooks, Rovella essentially eliminated his position as Assistant Chief. Horvath claims that Rovella's actions were as retaliation due in part to Rovella's friendship and support of Brooks. Rovella promoted Brooks to the position of Deputy Chief recently along with four others. Rovella's promotions elevated 3 minority members into the previous exclusively white male   Command Staff.

The timeline doesn't seem to add up for Horvath though. He states in the complaint that on or about September 10, 2012, Rovella became permanent chief of HPD and on September 21, 2012 "constructively discharged" Horvath from his position.

The fact of the matter is that Horvath had already planned on leaving and at least a month before Rovella became Chief, on August 14, 2012, or sometime thereabouts, Horvath had accepted the position of Chief of the UMass/Amherst police Department. Realistically, Horvath must have begun to pursue that position a substantial time earlier than Rovella's appointment considering the normal length of a selection process for a Chief.

In an article on, Horvath was quoted as saying “I pursued this position because of the team approach at UMass Amherst and the sense of pride that is evident," Horvath said in a prepared statement. "As chief, I will seek to make us stronger in both of those areas, ensure that the police department works with university stakeholders in order to maintain a safe campus environment while at the same time, building relationships that will enhance the educational experience for all students.”

The fact of the matter is that any Assistant Chief knows when accepting the position, that he serves at the will of the current Chief  and can be and most likely will be out when a new administration takes over. When building a Command Staff, an incoming Chief typically looks for loyalty and support from an Assistant Chief. Horvath fell short in that area.

Chief Rovella had the luxury of serving as Commander of the Shooting Task Force for an extended period of time before becoming the permanent Chief. During that time he was able to see first hand the workings of the Command Staff at the time . Sources have told me that Assistant Chief Horvath placed numerous roadblocks in front of Rovella and the operations of the Task Force.

Although he talks of the "team approach" at Umass, that apparently wasn't the case at HPD. Sources have told me that Rovella had initially requested the attendance of Vice and Narcotics Division officers at the daily briefings that the Shooting Task Force held to compare notes and strategy. It seems to make sense  that vice and Narcotics would go hand in hand with guns, but Horvath vetoed that move and would allow the two Divisions to meet.

Prior to the establishment of the Shooting Task Force , when Hartford was experiencing a large and noticeable up tick in gun violence, a request was made to Horvath to conduct   an operation related to the illegal guns in Hartford. Horvath again vetoed the request, claiming no money was available. When the request was revised to conduct the operation on "comp time", it was again a loud "no", desk pounding and all.

I am not speaking for Chief Rovella, but it would seem clear to most observers that Horvath was not a supporter of Rovella's initiatives, and most likely not a good fit to move Rovella's plan forward.

The Horvath lawsuit also seems to claim that the Rudewicz Report, which was conducted after the internal squabbling between Horvath and Brooks boiled over, seemed to vindicate Horvath and the HPD  Command Staff at the time. The report, which can be read below seems to spread around enough blame for poor management by all involved. In fact, the Report is widely thought to have resulted in enough pressure to force the Chief at the time, Daryl K. Roberts into retirement.

The report specifically states "However, Command Staff personnel,particularly Assistant Chief Horvath and Deputy Chief Ciesinski, do not escape scrutiny and bear some of the responsibility for the effects of the decision." to remove Lt. Brooks as the IAD Commander. Ciesinski was demoted back to Captain by Chief Rovella.recently .

Deputy Chief Brooks is currently assigned as Commander of the Central District which encompasses the Downtown and Asylum Hill areas of the City .

Also as a sidenote, and I know it is a minor matter, it is interesting to me that Horvath was so concerned about Lt. Brooks' attendance and ethics. but thinks nothing of Umass resources and time to fax page 5 of the lawsuit below back to his attorney, clearly from the Umass Police fax machine. Ethics count at all times, not just when it fits your needs.

For more on this, got to WNPR Jeff Cohen's blog.


Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Several Hartford families have been the victims of hoaxes by scammers this week. An elderly southend couple was ripped off after they let four men posing as MDC workers into their home Monday evening. The men stole several thousand dollars from an unlocked safe under the couples bed.

All utility workers carry photo ID, most are dressed in uniforms and driving marked company vehicles.Be sure to check identities before letting anyone into your home, especially if you aren't expecting a service call from a utility.

Also making the rounds is a scam where people are getting phone calls telling them that a family member has been involved in an accident and being held hostage in exchange for a ransom. The ransom is usually a relatively small amount of a few hundred dollars. The call may be originating from a Puerto Rico phone exchange.

If you receive a ransom call, be sure to notify the Hartford Police at 860-757-4000


That is a tough question. Claiming racism or that someone is a racist is probably one of the easiest ways to attempt to discredit someone. I have had the term thrown at me by people that don't like their baggage being exposed. But the response can sometimes be as damaging as the initial allegation. Or is it best to just ignore it.

I got the perfect response in my e-mail tonight.

Apparently Volkswagen has put together a Superbowl ad depicting a white man using a West Indian accent .

You can view the advertisement here. After you click on the link, the video will appear to the right above the red Beetle.

Here is the response from the Institute for Caribbean Studies to the claims of Racism. Please read the response and see if it makes sense to you. Sometimes we need to lighten up. Actions that are truly meant to hurt and tear down ones heritage can never be allowed. But not everything is done with malice.

No Problem, Man!

Washington DC & Los Angeles, CA -
There has been recent criticisms of a preview ad being aired by Volkswagen of America for the 2013 Super Bowl. In response to the recent media brouhaha over the VW ad and allegations that the commercial is racist, the following is a statement from Dr. Claire Nelson, architect of the campaign to designate June as National Caribbean-American Heritage Month.

This is the official position of ICS and the Caribbean Heritage Organization (CHO).
ICS and CHO commend Volkswagen and its ad agency for its recognition of the global impact of Jamaican culture, through its use of a Jamaican accent in its Get In. Get Happy Campaign!
"As members of the Caribbean diaspora, and Jamaican, we find the commercial, amusing and indeed a fascinating example of subtlety in subliminal messaging. In one fell swoop, the ad directors have superimposed Jamaicans' reputation for being hardworking (the three jobs archetype) as well as our reputation for having a laid-back, positive, don't-worry-about-a-thing disposition through the character of the Volkswagen. And yes, the accent in the commercial is not perfect, but it certainly is recognizable.
What we DO find problematic and bordering on offensive are the mostly non-Jamaican critics, who contend that the commercial is racist, with some going as far as saying that it's like putting a Black face on a White or Asian person. We hasten to assure the viewing public, that being Jamaican, just like being American, is a nationality and not a race.
Any one of the actors featured in the commercial could be a native Jamaican. Yes, most Jamaicans are of African ancestry (that is to say Black), but Jamaica also is home to a significant mixed-race and diverse racial population. Jamaicans are East Indian, Chinese, Middle Eastern and European (that is to say White). A true reflection of the Jamaican National Motto, 'Out of Many One People.'
As Chair of the National Caribbean-American Heritage Month commemorative celebrations in June, ICS congratulates Deutsch LA and Volkswagen on recognizing the Caribbean impact on American culture and making this a teachable moment to educate America and the rest of the world on the history and culture of Jamaica and the rest of the Caribbean.
We invite everyone to "Get In and Get Happy. No Problem, Man!"

Tweet your support for the VW ad with the hastag #ICS #GetInGetHappy
Post to VW Facebook your support for VW Super Bowl ad.

Please visit and for more information on Celebrating June as National Caribbean-American Heritage Month.
About Institute of Caribbean Studies

The Institute of Caribbean Studies (ICS) is a non-partisan, non-profit 501 (c)(3) organization. Established in 1993, ICS is dedicated to education, advocacy and action on issues that impact on Caribbean Americans.The Institute provides a forum for the public and private sector, the non-government organization community, scholars and others interested in promoting a dialogue and to assist in the execution of actions that result from that dialogue.
About Caribbean Heritage Organization

The Caribbean Heritage Organization is a 501 (c) (3) organization with a goal to chronicle the experiences of the expatriated Caribbean people, showcase and educate in the different aspects of Caribbean arts and culture in and outside the region, conserve and celebrate the rich and diverse contributions of the Caribbean and its people to the international society and support and nurture existing and emerging creative talent in the Caribbean through academic scholarships, mentorship and promotion of Caribbean films and filmmakers, theater and dance.




Countless hours are being exhausted now for hearings into changes in gun legislation. I fear though that much of it is being driven by emotion rather than really any attempt to correct a serious problem. As much as I don't believe in the need for assault rifles or large volume clips, I can't think of any of my friends that I would be in fear of them owning such weapons. If they are responsible in securing them and keeping them from getting in the wrong hands, go for it if you think you see the need.

What does bother me though is the apparent ignoring of our existing gun laws. How many of the people committing robberies and shootings in our cities do you think obtain a pistol permit before they leave their home to commit the robbery? The answer is probably very few. How many of them do serious jail time when they are caught with illegal weapons. Once again probably the same answer, very few.

We can pass all the feel good laws we want, but if they aren't enforced, they mean nothing.Once again, it is almost a daily routine in Hartford for convicted felons to be caught in possession of a firearm. How many of them do you think are kept off the street due to their clear disregard for the laws our legislators have passed. The answer to that is also very few.  The only hope for serious punishment is not through our state courts unfortunately.

Hartford's GA 14 needs to step up it's game. Although they do work closely with the Shooting Task Force and have prosecutor's specifically assigned to the gun cases. The message needs to be sent to any and all defendants going through the court with gun charges that they will be dealt with severely and probation  and plea bargains are not an option. Serious jail time is.

The Hartford Shooting Task Force seems to have had some luck by pursuing Federal charges for these offenders, where they actually are hit with serious jail time. Those that are unwilling to conform to laws our society needs to live by, should not be allowed to freely roam our streets looking for their next prey.

None of this will prevent the Newtown or Aurora style massacres though. The fact is that these shooters fly under the radar, probably have never had a negative contact with Police and are driven by mental illness more than any criminal attempt. We can't legislate our way out of mental illness

Channel 3's Len Besthoff.recently did a story that shows a huge problem with the assault rifle issue. In his piece about the Riverview Gun Store in East Windsor, he obtained surveillance video of an individual shoplifting an AR-15 assault rifle from the store.. The individual was later found in a room at the Hartford Hilton by Police with the assault rifle, although his intentions were never clearly identified, the man was mentally ill and suffered from numerous previously diagnosed mental conditions.

Len's story and the video are posted below in the link to The mentally ill subject walks in and steals the assault rifle with the ease of a teenager shoplifting a candy bar from CVS. There is one law that needs to be put on the books immediately, if it isn't already there. Any gun dealer needs to secure the weapons with cables or chain devices to prevent their easy removal from the store. Gun owners should be required to do the same after the purchase of these weapons.

It just seems kind of sad that leather jackets and dresses at retailers at the Mall are secured better than deadly assault rifles at Riverview.

Most responsible gun owners I know already do this with gun safes, but that clearly wasn't the case in Newtown where a mentally ill man, that his own family described as a"ticking time bomb" had access to his mother's weapons .

Would a gun safe have prevented this, probably not. I think someone set on creating carnage will find a way to do it,weapons or not, but who knows.

I'm pretty confident the gun control debate will continue for some time, it has been smoldering for years with little action. It is unfortunate 26 deaths have brought it to the surface, but I think our legislators owe it to the victims and their families to pass laws that are actually going to make a difference and address the problem, not just polarize us more or appease one side or the other.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


For anyone that follows the comments on the blog, parking at the new Public Safety Complex is turning out to be a big issue.

This was a project that was put on the planning table by a corrupt administration and three groundbreakings were held  before the funding was ever in place,  probably to make it look like they were doing something. A full floor was cut off the building, a full level was cut off the proposed parking garage and many other areas were scaled back, including the community room and the roll call room for patrol officers, which now could probably be used as a phone booth if they were still around. The Emergency Operations Center  takes up a large part of the facility, even though it will hardly ever be used.

Back to the parking, the gravel unpaved lots around the new building are being used for parking for the police officers personal cars. The lots are not secured and are not well lit or very accomodating. Last night marked the first officers car that was broken into while he was working and the glove box was rifled through and the cars registration taken. That is probably a little unnerving to the officer knowing that someone now may have his home address and personal information, depending how he registered his vehicle.

At least one Deputy Chief is showing leadership by example and he has begun parking in the same unpaved lot that the officer's are requiired to park in foregoing his private spot in the elevated , secure garage.

Sometimes you have to wonder how other cities and towns like New Britain, seem to get it right almost effortlessly while Hartford continues to trip over itself at almost every step.

It also seems that someone forgot to notice the building faces east and Teleserve Officers are blinded in the morning as the sun rises without any blinds on the windows.Now you would think that someone who was overseeing the construction might think to himself, "gee, this lobby is awfully bright in the morning, we might need to order some blinds".

 Nope.Maybe he didn't arrive from Suffield before the sun rose.  I was a little surprised during the walk through of the building at the location of the property room on the ground level. One look up and all I saw were mechanicals, plumbing pipes, heating and cooling pipes, waste water. Any one of which would damage an awful lot of evidence if and when a pipe breaks.

All in all it is better than 50 Jennings Road, but it would have been nice to see it working right from the start. We ask an awful lot of our police officers, is a paved lot too much to give them in return?


I get a lot of documents and e-mails forwarded to me on a regular basis.  The document posted below landed in my in box this past weekend, as well as a few people calling me to inform me that it existed and was making the rounds.

Once I opened it and read it I thought someone really had a sense of humor. It was written in the name of City Councilwoman Cynthia Jennings, and among other things, it was advocating for a salary increase for all Council members to $90,000 per year as well as the establishment of a "slush fund" for each Councilperson of $15,000 so that they could continue to attend the cocktail parties and events that were part of their functions as Council people.

Once I verified that the document was authentic and not a joke, I tried to figure out how anyone could make such a proposal. The priorities of the Council always seem to stun me. Do they understand the financial situation Hartford is in and how much worse it is going to be for the upcoming fiscal year. I am already hearing grumblings of layoffs of police officers, and the Council thinks a raise is in order? Let me correct that, one councilperson thinks increasing their salary over 5 times what they make now is appropriate.

Does Councilwoman Jennings understand that unemployment in Hartford is almost 20percent and that those Hartford residents that actually are lucky enough to have a job may  have to work several years to make $90,000.

The paragraph below is taken word for word from the document: This is why Hartford is a financial mess

The salaries of Council members must be raised to be comparable to the Mayor, and City Department Heads.  The Charter must be changed so that Council members can be respected by staff, department heads, the Mayor and the residents of this city relative to salaries being paid for work being done. Council members should receive a minimum annual payment of $90,000.00 and a budget of $15,000 each for annual expenses, including payment of tickets to events that council members must attend in order to do the business of the city.  This includes parking, training or educational workshops relative to the business of the city, retreats and conferences.  It can be stipulated that no salary increases would take place while we are in office, however, Council salaries must be increased.

The  Council is not comparable to the Mayor and they never were intended to be. That is why there is one Mayor and 9 Council people. Maybe if they used the authority they were given under the Charter, as a body they would be comparable to the Mayor, but as individuals...definitely not.
 This is why Hartford is a financial mess, we have no business people on the Council and there is not one word in the proposal as to how the salaries and accompanying slush funds would be funded. And the suggestion that salaries equate to "respect" from staff is ludicrous. I respect plenty of people that work daily to make Hartford a better place without making anything off the taxpayers. Granted, they are few and far between and we have plenty of people making a great living off Hartford's taxpayers and returning very little in return. I don't respect anyone just because of their salary.

I don't think there will be any support for the Councilwoman's proposals, at least not by anyone that hopes to get re-elected.

And Councilwoman, you earn respect, you can't buy it with the size of your check stub.

You have done some good things , but this erases an awful lot of that. If anyone asks, tell them it was supposed to be an April Fool's joke, that might help.