After the release last week of some great crime reduction stats, we knew it was inevitable. We should be able reduce Police spending since crime is down.Council President Shawn Wooden was quoted in a Coirant article as saying the Hartford Police Mounted Patrol was "a luxury we can't afford".
The first step might be in the elimination of the Hartford Mounted Police. The Horse Unit is apparently a luxury we can't afford according to a quote attributed to Hartford City Council President Shawn Wooden.
How do you gauge the value of the Mounted Patrol. How do you determine the number of muggings that might be prevented by their mere presence in Bushnell Park. How do you determine how many brawls or shootings have been prevented when the bars let out downtown by the presence of a side stepping horse pushing a crowd back and clearing the streets.
Everyone loves to thump their chests and take credit for the media coverage when crime numbers drop, but they don't drop by luck or waving the City Hall magic wand. They drop because we have a very capable Police Chief who has put crime fighting strategies in place . And yes, those strategies cost money. You can't have it both ways
And sadly, you aren't going to fight crimes with empty promises. The Police Academy class that was promised to begin in March has apparently now, according to sources, been pushed off until the new Fiscal year in July. The money spent on overtime to fill vacancies because of that delay would probably fund the mounted unit for many months.
Mr. Wooden, here are a few luxuries that we are paying for that could result in substantial savings. First off make the Office of the Mayor live within his budget and pay for only the positions allowed under the Charter. Does the ego driven Mayor really need a "scheduler" following a few feet behind him wherever he goes, I-Pad in hand. Probably at a salry in excess of $50,000.00 from what I have been told, time for an FOI on that one.
Can we still afford one full time Administrative Assistant for every Councilperson? Now I think that is a luxury we can't afford. The Connecticut Legislature seems to function just fine with three or four Legislator's sharing one Assistant.. Why can't the Hartford City Council follow their lead?.
Can we still afford a full suite of City lawyers in the Corporation Counsel Office. Especially since both the City Council and the Internal Audit Commission are going outside to find their own attorney's for legal advice. That Office is a luxury we can't afford. A complete remake of that office is due, considering the amount of legal work that is now farmed out to outside law firms and the track record of the Corp Counsel.
Another luxury is the salary paid to the Deputy Democratic Registrar who receives his full time pay, even while he is working his second job as the Clerk of the Connecticut Senate. Why? Maybe so he can pay his recent fines for admitting to election fraud with the State Elections Enforcement Commission.
I can go on, but I think I made my point.
Leave the Police Department alone and let the Police Chief do what he knows how to do. You clearly like touting the results so why mess with something that is working.No one on this Council has any law enforcement experience above the level of Police Cadet.
In the meantime, for anyone that is interested in helping to keep the "luxury", both financial donations and physical donations to help with the upkeep of the unit are being solicited. The information is below