But Bronin's dance recital didn't come during the awards ceremony, it came when he showed his total disrespect and trust for community members present and his lack of understanding of the word transparency. It came during a point when community members present were heaping praise on HPD Chief Rovella regarding his service to the City and his announcement that he would be retiring in February.
During that praise, community activist Hyacinth Yennie asked the Mayor point blank if the selection of HPD's next Chief would be an open and transparent process. Here is where the Bronin dance began. It is probably one of the worst kept secrets in Hartford's history that the next Police Chief has already been chosen. There was no public input, not one bit. The King has spoken and has made his choice.
Now Bronin is within his rights to do that. As Mayor, Hartford's charter allows him the power to select Department Heads, the Police Chief included. And those Department Heads serve at the will of the Mayor, with one exception. Connecticut Stater law governs the removal of a Police Chief " for just cause" only to avoid political retribution.
There is probably no more important Choice for Hartford's Mayor to make than his selection of Police Chief . In this current climate, that choice can make or break the City and how the City, more importantly its residents, work with the men and women of the Hartford Police Department. We saw what happened with the last Police Chief that was shoved down our throats without any public input. Patrick Harnett may have had a stellar career at NYPD , but he was a terrible fit in Hartford and never was accepted by the community and there was never any community "buy in" to his plans or his management style.
Harnett lasted a little over a year and never really moved HPD forward or gained acceptance from the community.
Compare that to James Rovella, who wasn't Mayor Segarra's first choice for Chief after Daryl Roberts left. If it was up to Segarra, we might have had a Chief that a national search produced. A Chief who had been charged with a DUI a short time before his introduction to us.
Luckily, we as community stood our ground and made our voices heard. After public interview's, some called them inquisitions, Rovella was eventually made acting Chief and then appointed permanent Chief of HPD by Segarra.
The public input was important in the selection. What Mayor Bronin doesn't seem to understand is that, yes the Charter gives him the power, but the public buy-in and participation in the process is extremely important. This Chief is someone that most residents need to feel comfortable with and see as a willing partner to further the relationships necessary for the trust and working relationships in our community. Community policing in Hartford is huge, and the reason it works is because of the trust and relationships between the Chief and everyone else from Lieutenants in the neighborhoods to the men and women of the Hartford Police Department.
Now, no one can ever accuse Luke Bronin of being a good communicator. He did it from the beginning with everything from our Unions to the community groups. His styl;e is that the King has spoken and as loyal servants we will blindly obey.
Now I understand Bronin's dance and his solid effort to avoid Hyacinth Yennie's question as to the selection and transparency. But it might have prepared people a little more if he were to say something like "I have already made the decision on the next Chief, it is someone I feel will be a good fit and will serve the Department and the City well. Furthermore, I have a candidate that I have confidence in that will hit the ground running and continue the great work of the Hartford Police Department without any interruption. There is no need to waste the time and expense of a National search"
Bronin's selection for Chief may very well be a great choice to run the Department and be a strong leader. Unfortunately, Bronin's lack of transparency has already put the next Chief at a disadvantage and he will have an uphill chore to catch up and gain the trust that transparency would have started him off with.
It would have probably also made sense, and shown some courtesy for Bronin to contact Hyacinth after Compstat . A simple call saying " Hyacinth, I have already selected the next Chief, I wasn't ready to announce it in COMPSTAT, but I will introduce you to the next Chief and make sure you feel comfortable with him. I know your partnership with HPD is critical for our success and I am not trying to hide anything from you"
That is called courtesy and communication Luke, it might not be in the Kings playbook, but it is how you need to treat your community partners.
Hartford's Next Police Chief, David Rosado
So in the full effort of transparency, please let me introduce you to your next Chief of the Hartford Police Department. I would hope that despite the Mayor's secrecy, we will support him and give him a fair chance to succeed. The future of our City and the excellent relationship we have with the Hartford Police Department is too important for anything less.
Lieutenant Colonel David Rosado is currently the highest ranking Hispanic Officer in the Connecticut State Police. Rosado is expected to assume the role of Hartford's Chief in March of 2018 according to numerous high ranking sources in Hartford government.
According to the Connecticut Latino News: "Rosado is a product of Hartford’s South End and is the son of Puerto Rican-born parents who came to Connecticut as teenagers. Growing up he said he had the “best of two worlds, speaking Spanish with his parents and English with his siblings. He said being bilingual is a big help in his job.Looking back at his boyhood, Rosado said it was a “different time” and “we could play in our backyards all day.” The game that most attracted the young Rosado was baseball. He played centerfielder at Bulkeley High School and for the University of Connecticut. After graduation, he remained active as a member of amateur league tceams and currently suits up for the Glastonbury team in a central Connecticut men’s league.
Lt Colonel Rosado will have some huge shoes to fill as Chief Rovella's replacement , but I would hope that he will be given a fair shot at success by us as a community and the men and women of the Hartford Police Department and not be treated differently because of the lack of transparency by Mayor Bronin.
And Mayor Bronin, it is not too late to begin to fix this to give Rosado a good start, and that means proper community involvement, oh, and some transparency.