Just about eveey comment submitted gets posted on the blog with veery few exceptions. Sometimes comments are made that I don't agree with, but I guess it would be somewhat hypocritical to censor comments on a blog named "We the People". As the saying goes, I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend your right to say it.
But with that being said, sometimes I feel the need to address comments.
Anyone watching Hartford the last few weeks must realize that Hartford's crime problem is a mess, And before you start, I will be addressing Deputy Chief Foley's comments in the Courant shortly.
The comments I want to address are regarding Hartford's Shooting Task Force. Is it perfect, no. Do I agree with everything, especiaslly their staffing and budget issues, no
The truth is that prior to their creation, there was nothing around like the Shooting Task Force. There were attemps, but such an effective group of law enforcement professionals had never been assembled to achieve the long term results of STF. The project was the brainchild of States Attorney's Office Chief Inspector James Rovella.The way it has been explained to me previously,during a spike in violent crime, not unlike what we are experiencing right now, Governor Malloy called a meeting with Chief States Attorney Kevin Kane . Malloy's instructions to Kane were simple, "Do something about the crime in Hartford". The similarities continue on at that point. Pedro Segarra was the Mayor at the time and then, as now, there was no plan to deal with the rash of violence.
I guess Segarra's plan was, as it appears now, if he didn't acknowledge the violence then it probably wasn't happening. Chief States Attorney Kevin Kane hand picked his solution. He directed his Chief Inspector at the time, James Rovella to devise a solution. Rovella's plan was a multi agency task force devised of various State and local agencies to launch a mutli pronged approach to getting guns and violent offenders off Hartford's streets .
The Hartford Shooting Task Force was born under Rovella's guidance. It was comprised of a large contingent of HPD officers and detectives, Connecticut State Police, Connecticut Depertment of Corrections, Connecticut Probation and Parole, FBI, ATF, Connecticut States Attorney's Inspectors and I think a State prosecutor was thrown in also for good luck in working the cases through the courts. A couple of local municipalities also sent officers, I think West Hartford, East Hartford, Werhersfield and probably a couple other towns were involved also.
The plan came together like clockwork. The results were almost instantaneous. The media were all begging to ride along and try to see how they did what they did. Nationwide, Hartford's Shooting Task Force was getting recognition, shootings were down and some very dangerous felons were taken not only off Hartford's Streets but streets throughout the region.
Since the inception of STF over 300 weapons of various sizes and numerous felons have been arrested and most likely many lives saved. Unfortunately, all good things must come to and end, or at least fade away. Since its inception , STF has been decimated over the years as the problem decreases I guess Mayor Segarra doesn't see the need or understand the word "sustainability".
A true leader after having several homicides and high profile shootings would probably be calling the Governor asking him to recommit his resources to Hartford. That is , if he had that type of relationship with Governor Malloy where they could actually communicate and respectfully ask for assistance. It is not about egos or budgets, it is about Public Safety and saving lives.
Oh and most of those agencies I originally mentioned as being part of STF, most are gone except for a few from HPD a Sergeant from the Ct State Police, a very limited presence from CT Department of Corrections and possibly limited resources from Probation and Parole. Two more Hartford Detectives were pulled back last Sunday to fill vacancies in the HPD Major Crimes Division, one of them the only Spanish speaking detective assigned to STF from what I am told.
I understand the comments regarding large amounts of overtime for STF. I also understand that those officers and detectives assigned to STF are hand picked and go through a rigorous interview process to get there. Their work ethic is also reviewed. You have to be producing results and be hard working to gain an assignment in STF. I understand that a lot of the comments probably come from Officers that might have been passed over for an STF assignment.
As we read and see in the media everyday, we owe a sincere debt of gratitude to every Hartford Police Officer that protects our city day in and day out. With the danger that STF faces everyday dealing with these weapons, it is money well spent and with the training involved and the specialty of the information involved, I don't really think the OT money would be productive opened up to everyone. It is not like there isn't enough OT to go around with 15 patrol cars being filled with overtime officers last Friday night alone.
The OT comments seem like sour grapes and I would welcome our Mayor acting like a leader and getting the commitment to beef up STF more to what Chief Rovella originally intended. All lives matter and the people of Hartford deserve that from our "so called" leaders, Governor Malloy included