And no, that title has nothing to do with the former Commander of the Hartford Police Academy.(Although it could)
No this posting is more about the incompetence that allowed HPD and the Hartford Police Headquarters to be plunged into darkness and a crisis situation last night. Now you would think that a Deputy Police Chief charged with the maintenance and operation of police headquarters would likely maintain a checklist for critical items,
1. Emergency generator tested and operational, check yes or no, if no schedule emergency maintenance
2. Uninterruptable power supply for radio system, tested and operational- check yes or no. if no schedule immediate service before radio system crashes during a power outage
I could go on and on, but that is why we pay Deputy Chiefs very large salaries to manage the PD. Any DC could probably call the smallest police department in the state and ask them to email their checklist and put it on City letterhead and it would most likely be much better than what HPD currently has in place by the looks of it.
Last night, disaster was averted in Hartford, but not because of any pre-planning or preparation. More likely we got lucky.
Due to a power outage last night because of several transformer failures by Eversource equipment, HPD's headquarters was plunged into darkness when the backup generator failed or provided very limited power to the Complex. The outage affected both telephone and radio operations and eventually, dispatchers were transported to East Hartford PD with portable radios to answer 911 calls that were diverted to our neighbor over the river. The dispatchers also carried with them a large amount of paper pads to keep track of what they were doing.
No case numbers or routine information could be provided to officers in the field until about 1PM this afternoon when the systems began coming back on line. Officers couldn't complete any reports as all of the computers at Headquarters were down.
According to one source at HPD, the generator may have been restricted to limited power by a vendor over unpaid bills. I will work on that Monday with an FOI request, but considering the City's financial situation and chronic mismanagement, it sounds reasonable, and I know the emergency generator has worked in the past.
Maybe it is time for someone to break out their City credit card and pay the bill before the power goes down again
I also have to wonder where was HPD's nearly million dollar command post that sits idle and rusting in the parking lot except for the one or two days a year it is currently used, Maybe the same Deputy Chief responsible for testing the generator should also loosen the grip on the keys to the Command Post and train a few more people how to start and set it up in case of an emergency. ..
According to HPD sources, numerous other problems arose during the failure. The access control system to unlock the entry doors into the building failed , and officers were instructed to come to the front lobby as those were the only doors they were able to unlock. But apparently locks on some other doors didn't have the same issue. Sources advised me that when the systems failed, all of the doors on the jail cells in booking did unlock immediately . Now how could that be a problem, they are only jail cells Hopefully whoever designed that system doesn't do any work in our prisons.
But then again it was a slow night in booking sine officers were advised to avoid making any arrests since the cameras and fingerprint scanners and booking computers wren;t working. I guess no one could find the ink pad and print cards and roll the fingerprints the old fashioned way. Modern technology.
But to be fair, the Deputy Chief who should have been supervising the systems that crashed last night, apparently is caught up in the investigation of the former Academy Commander, so he has his hands full. With failures like this , Acredidation seems like a long shot .