Thursday, September 8, 2016
IF IT MATTERS, I SUPPORT CHIEF ROVELLA 100%
Chief James Rovella was the man to steer us then, and he is the right man to continue that course now. On Monday night the Hartford City Council will be voting on the resolution submitted by Mayor Bronin to renew Rovella's contract for two additional years. Common sense would say that the decision should be unanimous, but common sense is not always the strongpoint of politicians who are not driven by knowledge and understanding.
Chief Rovella, actually Chief Inspector Rovella assigned to the Office of the Chief States Attorney at the time, was sent to Hartford in July of 2011 to combat Hartford's problem of increasing gun violence. Through Rovella's creativity and experience the Hartford Shooting task Force was created and immediately had a strong impact on Hartford's crime.
Although much of the success of STF can't be measured because we have no way of knowing how many shootings were actually prevented by their efforts, we don know the large number of weapons and the arrests made by STF have had a huge impact on Hartford and its violent crime
Rovella's foresight was actually eventually copied in other cities such as New Britain and New Haven.
Chief Rovella was eventually appointed as the permanent Chief of HPD after the departure of Darryl Roberts.
I think one of Chief Rovella's greatest accomplishments was being "color blind" to the City's issues. For those unwilling to accept a middle aged white guy to command the City's Police Department, Chief Rovella immediately set about building bridges to the community and building the trusts and partnerships need to be successful treating everyone equally with respect and dignity.
That has been a tough balancing act to work with the community and his officer's who sometimes see things in a different way. Actually my wording might be wrong there, it is not an act, it is who James Rovella is. And he has been very successful at it.
Part of that success has been because of his insistence on transparency and including the community as partners in their Police Department. And with Rovella, it is not only transparency on the good issues, it is transparency on all issues, the good , the bad and the ugly. Public Compstat and his openness to the media are both examples of that. No one can ever say they don't know where Chief Rovella stands on an issue.
I know from personal experience, Chief Rovella has always been very candid with me when I ask a question, many times more candid than I ever expected. It is the reason I trust him, I don't think he has ever misled me and he has the same reputation across the community , from what I understand fropm those who have personally dealt with Chief Rovella and respect him.
So as the Hartford City Council contemplates their votes for Monday night, I hope they realize that every Police Department in the nation has the potential of being the next Ferguson or Baltimore. In Hartford, we are extremely fortunate to have a Chief like James Rovella who has building the bridges since day one to prevent that.
I would ask that Hartford City Council members, as well as Hartford Police Officers, to put their personal agendas aside and do what is best for the City of Hartford , the Hartford Police Department and most importantly the people of Hartford, Renew Chief Rovella's contract for two years.
And finally, I would implore the Hartford City Council as well as Mayor Bronin to fill the position of Assistant Police Chief at HPD. And fill it with Chief Rovella's potential successor so that in two years, there is a smooth transition to Hartford's next permanent Chief. As much as I would like to see the next Chief to come from within, I know that is a LONG shot. But leadership demands that a vacuum not be created by a lack of planning for October of 2018.