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Sunday, March 13, 2016

WE NEED TO CHOOSE OUR BATTLES MUCH BETTER, THE TRUMP CONTROVERSY

A Hartford Police Officer is potentially in hot water tonight after what many would consider him exercising his free speech rights. But then others would differ and there really is two sides to this story, maybe I should call it the sane version versus the insane version.

A Hartford Police Officer, someone I will admittedly know and consider a friend, made what some might call a poor decision, but the fire storm that is now erupting is ridiculous. The officer, who happens to be assigned to the neighborhood I call home, had stuck a "Trump" bumper sticker on the cover of the laptop in  his cruiser. When the laptop was open, the "Trump" bumper sticker  was visible through the windshield.

I saw the sticker first hand last Thursday when I was walking my dog in Asylum Hill. The officer, who was aware that I have had some health issues, pulled over to ask how I was doing and offer me some encouragement in my recovery. I saw the bumper sticker and laughed it off and told him he should remove that before it became a problem.

I guess I was a little too late because some one had already taken a picture of it. The officer did in fact remove the sticker. I wasn't offended by the bumper sticker , and saw it as more  of a joke than anything else. I was a little amazed when I started getting text messages that the picture of the "TRUMP" bumper sticker was creating a Public relations storm on social media. My response was
"why even respond , it has been dealt with"

I also questioned, if it wasn't "TRUMP" would anyone care? I wish we could have conducted a social experiment and see if it created as much of an uproar if they were Hillary or Bernie stickers? I think not, but we will never know.

Any way, I explained to the officer that the issue was the sticker was on City property (the laptop cover). He got that and the sticker was removed. I told him feel free to plaster his personal vehicle with TRUMP stickers or load his front lawn  with TRUMP signs. If that is who he believes in, that is his right to do so, but on City property is not appropriate.

That would seem like a logical ending at that point, but then a press release was put out by HPD this morning throwing more fuel on the fire.

Media, please see our statement below regarding picture circulating on social media:

We, the HPD command staff, were made aware of the irresponsible application of a political sticker in an HPD patrol car yesterday morning. We immediately addressed it.  Now the matter will be referred to an internal investigation. 

Specifically:

"This political sticker situation has been addressed. The sticker, which was conspicuously affixed to the top of a HPD laptop computer within the marked patrol vehicle, has been removed. The officer was counseled on the critical importance of remaining neutral and impartial. We also reminded all HPD officers to remain politically neutral. Specific daily roll call training is being given at all shifts. The matter will now be referred for an internal investigation. 

I am, and we are, embarrassed and sorry for this lack of professionalism and judgement.”

I guess I just don't get it. Are we now prepared to ban all political buttons being worn by Public employees? Are we going to ban cars with bumper stickers from parking on City property? To what extreme will we go to disavow political candidates we may not agree with?The officer already admitted he used poor judgement placing the sticker there, why the need for an "Internal Investigation"? For what ? To decide if he was telling the truth when he said he was wrong?

And aren't there far worse things we could "Investigate" besides a police officer supporting a legitimate presidential candidate. Folks, that is what a Democracy is all about, choose a candidate, and let the masses decide on election day. The bumper sticker might have been the wrong way to do it, but I seriously doubt that one sticker inside a cruiser on a laptop in Hartford Connecticut is going to damage another candidate or propel Donald Trump into the White House.

And just a little bit of background. I don't support every one that wears an HPD badge and has a  City of Hartford patch on their shoulder. But this officer is one of the good guys in my neighborhood. He "gets" the concept of community policing. Not just for me the loud mouth blogger that many fear and sometimes treat differently. But this officer has called me on many occasions when he has needed a little help or someone to call to help the people less fortunate in  our neighborhood.

One such call was asking if I could push anyone on the state level to find shelter for a homeless veteran  who was being passed around  and having a hard time to get any assistance. This is an officer who regularly works with community court and Capitol Region Mental Health to  assist so many of those "dumped' in Asylum Hill without any safety net. Ask the prosecutor at Community Court and he will most likely tell you this officer has a hotline to the court because they work so closely together.

I guess it just amazes me that we can focus on a good caring  Officer who happens to support Donald Trump over a bumper sticker on a laptop, but there was hardly a peep when I posted about a drunken Hartford Officer running around Foxwoods Casino yelling the "N" word. How can we launch an "internal Investigation " ,if there really is one, when we can't complete an IAD Investigation into hundreds of thousands of dollars in missing ammunition, quite possibly at the hands of a dirty cop?

 And finally, no one has to apologize to me or be embarrassed for me over this officers actions. I am proud to say I know him , consider him a friend and feel very comfortable he is keeping my quality of life in Asylum Hill through his efforts.

46 comments:

Jason Broyles said...

I was just reading the coverage of this and thinking, "who cares". I agree, it shouldn't have been on the laptop and has since been removed. There are millions of Trump supporters on both sides of the aisle (I don't count myself among them). Should they somehow be banished. Clearly the officer has the right to support whatever candidate he chooses. Our "safe space" coddling culture has gone way to far. I think we are a little too in touch with our "feelings" and too far out of touch with reality. Madness!

Anonymous said...

So what makes Trump any more offensive than ayoone else. It's not like he left americans to die in a foreign land then came up with a BS cover story about a movie, then when called on it said "who cares"?

Anonymous said...

"I am, and we are, embarrassed and sorry for this lack of professionalism and judgement.”

Who the heck said that??? Are they really serious? They're that embarrassed and sorry for lack of professionalism and judgement? This kid does a decent job day in and day out, and that's the thanks he gets?? Who specifically from the command staff said that Kevin?

KEVIN BROOKMAN said...

9:29PM

the press release was sent this morning by Deputy Chief Foley. I am not sure if he was instructed to do so by anyone else higher up. I don't think Chief Rovella was part of it but I can't say that with any certainty until I contact the Chief and the Mayor's staff tomorrow.

Bill Katz said...

Oh god, another much ado about nothing. Let's move on. There are bigger fish to fry. Cheeses creepers.

Anonymous said...

I think the chief said that because he has a long standing reputation of cowering to community pressure. If it was an Obama sticker I'm sure that would have been fine. The rank and file needs to know who's words those were.

Anonymous said...

Let me start this off right with the main lyrics to Les MIserables "Can you hear the people sing? Singing the songs of angry men!"

Now that I've done that let me turn the attention away from my brother in blue that's always busy fighting the good fight, And direct it towards a chief that "apologized" for our police department. Thats right I said "our" police department. ladies and gents let's face it, we are each a strand of wool in the quilt that makes up the Hartford Police Department. We all look different, it's what makes the quilt interesting, but together like the quilt keeps the child warm we collectively keep the city safe.

Kevin, our quilt is in tatters. Each strand trying to go it's own direction has caused us to fray. We've lost strands do to retirement and we have not had any new strands to sew in for a long time so the wind blows through us pretty easily nowadays. But we're hangin in there! Sure we have to move the quilt around a lot to keep all the areas from gettin cold! But we are still getting the job done!

What worries me is that more and more people are using the quilt as a doormat to wipe their feet on. It's tearing us apart. I look at my chiefs as the menders, they are the ones that through tactful and careful stitching weave a proud display piece to present to the community to gaze upon.

Today Chief Foley presented our quilt to the comunity as a doormat.

What simply could of been handled with "officer please remove the sticker" and "the officer was counseled in the matter" turned into you trying to kiss the rug collectors butt by apologizing for NOTHING!

Don't we as a city and a nation have better things to worry about then this?? It's comical in a sense because who else would Law Enforcment pick as a president? Trump supports law enforcements hard work across the country, and defends us when we do our job.

Chief Brian Foley, I am stunned that you would throw stones at our own guys when you live in a glass house.

Kevin I'm tired of being called and treated like a doormat. I think Trump looks at us as a quilt, that's why I'm voting for him!

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

That same deputy chief is suing retired chief roberts for calling him spongebob and making fun of his hair

Anonymous said...

Foley.....it's time to go. Your an absolute disgrace. You should be ashamed of yourself. You DO NOT represent us!!!

Anonymous said...

They should investigate captain reathis for making 200k last year ....what does he do at the dept?

Anonymous said...

Trump, the candidate, spreads a message of hate and fear in his campaign for president, and gets his supporters all riled up. Some of those supporters have taken it upon themselves to escalate that message to the point of casting racial slurs and strong arm tactics on those who oppose Trump. Of course, that doesn't mean the police officer feels or would act the same way. But in the city of Hartford, it isn't hard to imagine that some people who have had reason to not trust the police--and I don't mean criminals--would think twice about being confronted by this officer, even about a minor issue, and would be afraid. That said, it was inappropriate for him to post the sticker on taxpayer-funded city property. What he does on his personal property and on his own time is, of course, his business.

Anonymous said...

That kid might not be the most well received, or on my xmas card list, but this is really geting stupid very quickly.

Foley is probably the last person to discuss or represent leadership and ethics.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Captain who?

Anonymous said...

Hey last comment
You forgot steve meile. Even meile " trumps" foley.

Anonymous said...

FYI The community should know that the officer in question is a very decent human being, a terrific officer, and someone who has gone out of his way to help numerous people in this city. If the officer showing up to take your complaint was this officer or the deputy chief in question, it wouldn't be close who anyone should choose. It is embarrassing the deputy chief in question wears a Hartford uniform as he has set a horrible example for younger, impressionable officers with his well documented antics.

Anonymous said...

IAD should be investigating FORD and his nonsense. Not 147 for a bumper sticker.

Anonymous said...

The officer used poor judgement and made a mistake. Kevin even when you counseled him to remove it he didnt seem to grasp it wasn't his property to alter. Doesn't matter who he supports on his own time and with his own property. But on the job with public property different story. Personally I think he deserves to be told not to repeat it and move on. Hearing that he was already told by Kevin that it wasn't a good choice and he chuckled and didn't fix it tells me he he needs at least a verbal. Doesn't make him a bad cop just teaches him accountability and what's wrong with that?

peter brush said...

spreads a message of hate and fear in his campaign for president, and gets his supporters all riled up
----------------------------
I live in Hartford. Can't get the Yankees games on Comcast this year. Not to worry, I still get scintillating religious uplift from the Black Muslim guy, Louis Farrakhan (aka Louis Wolcott); comes in loud and clear on channel #5.
I'm a Cruz guy, but I'd much rather have Trump over Dannel Malloy; less hate speech, but much better management.
God bless the cops, with or without Trump stickers.
-------------------------
White people are potential humans - they haven't evolved yet.
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/l/louis_farrakhan.html

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @ 11:40 PM........

Have no worries, around the new fiscal year (July 1), FORD will be back to his last rank, Lieutenant, and more likely than not a headquarters Lieutenant. Then Ford and Weaver can be partners.

Unknown said...

I agree that it is a problem because it is Trump. Although the situation regarding political campaign material is certainly not new. As usual, Hartford has not "enforced" it. And then you have "the" problem" erupt. I find it challenging to describe Trump without stumbling, you can't sum him up without using some very strong language. So, I will just stick with the past 24 hours. His message is that Bernie is somehow behind all of the protesters at Trump's rallies. And has now threatened, I am quoting CBS http://www.cbsnews.com/news/donald-trump-threatens-to-set-supporters-on-sanders-rallies/ Bernie with sending Trump supporters to his rally to be disruptive. If there is violence,, which his supporters have proven to be, Trump will be culpable. We have a potential president who threatens people with retaliation within the United States. He often spews hate-speech and has gone well beyond insulting populations of Americans, Mexicans, Middle Eastern. That is why this is different.

KEVIN BROOKMAN said...

7:29am

My understanding is that the sticker was removed shortly after our conversation. That should have been the end of the story, but the politics got involved, namely Council President TJ Clarke and other council people and a few political hacks. HPD should have told them to "back off" that the problem had been dealt with. Unfortunately in true Hartford fashion, the politics have won out and the situation has been allowed to snowball into what can now be another mess for Hartford. Can a Trump rally in Hartford be far off? More details on who did what later today.

Clinton is going to jail said...

Why does HPD bow down to everyone in City Hall?!? It's not like they have anything to loose, stand up for your department. I think they have the upper hand considering the shortfall in the department. If they all decided to leave what would the city do then. Crime will spike this summer by the way. The council was and still are a bunch of clowns. No one in this City wants change, they just want to be the next one on the recieving end to handouts, steak dinners, and senseless entitlements.

Anonymous said...

"Never let a good crisis go to waste!" Isn't that what they say? The liberal Stalinist types love to exploit these types of issues to divide us. If they are speaking out about this, you can be sure that they probably hate cops too. Vote Bernie Clinton! Hate America First!

Anonymous said...

Kevin, you need to back off on HPD. Let the Chief at all times make the call. The internal affairs at HPD are handled by the Chief. Back off and go on to positive Hartford news. The capitol city needs positive news. All news stations are out of control. An hour and a half of daily news is crazy.

Anonymous said...

When is capt reathis being investigated for his 200 k a year, take home car ? What does he do around here ? This is larceny 1st!!!!

Anonymous said...

Where is our Union and their statement? Too busy working a J or teaching a cross fit class?

Anonymous said...

Make him write I'm a Trump Chump 100 times on the sidewalk in front of his house as "punishment"

Anonymous said...

If it was a Democrat sticker this wouldn't even be an issue. What do you expect from a sanctuary welfare city in a liberal state?

Kevin, why are you approving posts about who IAD should investigate? It has nothing to do with the topic of the post. There's better ways for the internal workings of the department to be exposed and dealt with. Those types of comments perpetuate hate for your blog and lowers morale within the department.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree 1:30 pm.

Anonymous said...

Really? With blaming the blog for Morale? You should blame command staff for the low morale in the department. And certain supervisors. Who treat officers on the street like crap. So don't blame the blog.

Anonymous said...

Call the supervisors out.....who?

Anonymous said...

Bet you if it was a "black lives matter" bumper sticker nobody would say S#%T ! Trump seems to be one of the only politicians who hasn't demonized cops this past year,if I was a police officer I'd have displayed it proudly too.

Anonymous said...

Trump for Republican Nominee 2016. We need someone to shake things up in Washington. Trump is the man. He has a plan.

Paid for by Clinton Democrats for Trump.

Anonymous said...

There are multiple reasons morale is low and posting our dirty laundry and complaining about each other on this blog is one of them. Anyone can say anything about anyone with no accountability here, so yes blog comments are contributing to our morale issues.

Also keep in mind this is a public forum. It's unprofessional and frankly immature to post here about how so-and-so needs to be investigated or slinging mud and hate at each other. Some of which have been outright lies posted from behind the saftey of anonymity.

Thankfully Kevin has cleaned some of it up.

Anonymous said...

I think you're missing the point Kevin. It is more serious than you make out for the following reasons: Trump is associated with racism and hate mongering. A police officer (representative of the City) who deals with minorities on a daily basis to show preference for a candidate such as this shows lack of common sense and is deserving of the backlash he is receiving.

Anonymous said...

Wow, a lot of deleted comments about foleys nonsense. I guess you have to protect your info pipeline.

Anonymous said...

Chief Rovella always has and always will bow down to the mayor and council....we all know that. Even though his days are numbered he still bows down. Hopefully the next guy will have a set.

Anonymous said...

Kevin.I find it funny and hypocritical that you had no problem with Chief Rovella marching with members of the "Black Lives Matter" organization! That chiefs uniform Rovella was wearing is city property and that bogus movement is political,so why no comment from you or a fire storm from the media?

Anonymous said...

Bronin and all the politicians will get what they want, your outrageous pensions. Bye bye pensions. The city will stop paying into the pension fund, past and present HPD pensions G-O-N-E! Not sustainable! Be prepared to work till your 65. You all got what you wished for and I think it's comical!!! Now you have to work like everyone else.

KEVIN BROOKMAN said...

8{32am

are you really that much of an idiot? Seriously

KEVIN BROOKMAN said...

8:15am

"racism and hate mongering", in your opinion. We still have rights to support whoever we choose. Some support the winner, some support the loser. We will see which is which in November I guess.

KEVIN BROOKMAN said...

9:00am

Just one of the problems. Can we really afford pensions for part time Council people? Many of them the same people that plunged us into this mess. I think Council people are vested after 6 years, with medical coverage also.....for life

Anonymous said...

Tis the season to hate cops in CT and across the country. Guess it's ok for some but not others. Difference is, cops actually work for their money and put their lives on the line.