Sunday, November 20, 2016
HARTFORD POLICE MOUNTED UNIT RIDING OFF INTO THE SUNSET
One of the best, if not the Best, public relations tools available to the Hartford Police Department is on the chopping block if Mayor Luke Bronin has his way.
According to several sources familiar with the deal, , Bronin was prepared to sell off the equipment from the HPD mounted unit to the Rockland County New York Sheriff's Department for a staggering figure of $500.00. Yes, you read that right, Five Hundred dollars. That should put a huge dent in the City's deficit.
The sale includes a large horse trailer as well as at least 4 custom made saddles and two highly trained horses According to sources familiar with the equipment, the custom made saddles originally cost the City approximately $10,000.00 each and could most likely be sold for several thousand dollars each. The tires on the trailer alone are most likely worth well more than $500.00 .
NBC Connecticut confirmed the sale Friday through Council President Thomas Clarke, you can read their web story here .http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/local/Hartford-Selling-Police-Departments-Horses-for-Few-Hundred-Dollars-401973905.html City Council President TJ Clarke told NBC Connecticut on Friday that the horses and equipment were sold, but the city council was not aware of the sale until Friday. Mayor Bronin now appears to be back pedaling now that the poorly conceived deal has become public. Mayor Luke Bronin said Saturday that it’s not a done deal according to NBC Connecticut.
Now I am not an expert on City procedures, but I thought that any disposal of City property had to be approved by the City Council, which apparently was not done in this case. Bronin also stated to NBC Connecticut that disbanding the mounted unit would allow him to create more CSO or Community Service Officer positions. It is interesting he used the plural, because there is currently only one officer assigned to the Mounted Unit.
And although Bronin stated that "it wasn't a done deal", according to sources, the only thing missing was Police Chief Rovella's signature on the paperwork which was waiting on his desk.
I am not sure what the plan is here. Anyone that has seen the horses at events knows that they quickly break down the barriers between police and the community. People, especially childr3en that would never approach a police officer , flock to the mounted officer, asking if they can pet the horse. How do you put a price on those relationships?
Some days I think Bronin's crash and burn scenario is intent on removing anything that has helped given Hartford its identity. Riverfest and the July fourth fireworks, Winterfest was only saved after Bronin had put it on the chopping block through private donations, and now the Mounted Unit.. I am not sure if First Night celebrations survived the Mayor's budget ax
I would venture to say that the money spent on lawyers fees for the Ballpark alone and other legal issues would more than sustain the Mounted unit for some years to come.
I also know that there is large corporate support for the Mounted Unit , but no one is asking for it. I recently had a conversation with a high level leader of one of Hartford's Corporations, and this person said they would gladly adopt the unit or share costs if asked, but their communications with the Mayor's Office were very limited.
The "Sky is falling" scenario from Bronin drew attention at the beginning of his term, but now we need to start seeing a plan and some solutions. Cutting and slashing everything that has made Hartford what it is is neither a plan or a solution
It is inexcusable that Council President Clarke and the rest of the City Council were caught offguard by this latest move. Communication between the Mayor , the Council and residents is extremely important to the success of our community, and it is time for Bronin to be building bridges, not barriers