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Thursday, December 19, 2019


A severe cold snap is upon us and there will most likely be more this winter. Last week the Office of Mayor Bronin announced the opening of a new/consolidated warming shelter at the former Milner School.

It seemed hopeful that at least Hartford's homeless would have a place to go other than under bridges and overpasses.

It was very disappointing last night to hear Hartford's Police dispatchers telling Patrol Officers over the HPD radio that as early as 10:30PM last night , the warming shelter was full and not accepting any new arrivals.

Is this the best Mayor Bronin and the City can do? I thought that school was a little bit bigger than that or is it that our homeless problem is bigger than that?

Wednesday, December 18, 2019


The City of Hartford has been ordered to pay 5 Police Captains an estimated $100,000 dollars in back pay.

 The award resulted in the City's loss due to a grievance filed in October of 2018 by Hartford Police Union President John Szewczyk, Jr. on behalf of his membership, specifically the 5 recently promoted Captains.

 According to the union contract, Szewczyk claimed, that wording required the City to promote the five Captains at the time the vacancies actually became available due to retirements that started to occur almost as far back as March of 2017. The City failed to fill the positions, an apparent violation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, for over a year. The positions were actually filled on September 23, 2018 , when five Lieutenants were promoted to the rank of Captain.

The actual Arbitration Award decision is below.

Thursday, December 5, 2019


Time for a Big Mack at the Farm

Is that the James Brothers before their next train hesist?

No, it is actually the The Cavanna Brothers, John (L) and Andy (R), and the Cavanna Family of South Glastonbury . 

They are are at it once again with the unveiling of the Grey Granite Railroad and their latest acquisition,
with  the arrival of “Mack”, a 1928 Vulcan Iron Works steam locomotive. Mack is a 0-4-0 wheel arrangement tank engine that is fired by coal. Mack carries 1,500 gallons of water in his saddle tank, weighs 82,000 pounds, is 13 feet tall, and is 28 feet long. The engine was built in 1928 at Vulcan Iron Works in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania. The engine was then purchased by the Jeddo Coal Company, where it worked until it was retired in the early 50’s. Mack was later purchased by Gramling Locomotive Works, and underwent restoration from 2011 to 2017.
Mack will be under steam and running on Saturday, December 7th and Sunday, December 8th. We will run on the 1,400 foot main section of rail laid at the Gray Granite Railroad located at Cavanna’s Farm: 80 Woodland Street, South Glastonbury, CT 06073.
We will be offering cab rides in “Mack” for 35 dollars. (Honestly, where else on earth can you ride in the cab of a working steam locomotive?) We may also offer the opportunity to run the engine from the engineer’s seat! Work boots, gloves and hearing protection are encouraged! And, if you’re riding, prepare to shovel coal!
The railroad will be open from 9 am into the evening. We will also have our Plymouth 35-ton locomotive on static display for kids to climb in, along with farm honey and “GGRR” apparel for sale. The farm will be open for Christmas trees, as well, and the crop is fantastic this year!
If anybody has questions, please reach out to John Cavanna at 860-398-8929. 

Stop by and check out their great selection of fresh grown, live, cut your own Christmas trees and experience the beauty of winter on a family owned farm that has been in the Cavanna family since 1903, raising several varieties of apples in their orchards, strwberries, maple syrup and of course Christmas trees.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019


No one can dispute that the Hartford Fire Department is rich in tradition. HFD has been part of many things that have resulted in huge changes to fire codes and regulations and the history of HFD.

The circus fire where many died, the fatal Hartford Hospital , the Greenwoods Nursing Home fire all resulted in changes to the way the City of Hartford as well as fire departments nationwide approach firefighting.

I think that is why the phone calls ramped up last night after word started getting out about the imminent closing of the Pearl Street firehouse. Although "firehouse" may be too general of a term.

I think most people think of a firehouse as that building down the street from their homes where that first fire engine responds from in case of a fire. The reality is that basic firefighting equipment is not housed at the Pearl Street firehouse for years. The only equipment garaged at Pearl Street is Tac 1, the heavy rescue truck, which responds to most incidents in  the City including accidents and structure fires. A district Chief or Tour Commander is also garaged at the Pearl Street building.

So to answer the questions , or fears, of downtown residents, there should be no delay or danger of longer response times to fires downtown . Currently, the closest responding fire apparatus for fires downtown will still be Engine ! from the South Green firehouse on Main Street or Engine 2 from the Main Street firehouse near Albany and Belden.

Hartford Fire Chief Reggie Freeman has been very transparent for several years with his plans to shutter the Pearl Street firehouse. Freeman has also been very open regarding the "deplorable" conditions of Hartford's Firehouses. Those conditions include rodent infestations, code violations, structural deficiencies as well as lacking gender specific locker and shower area and sleeping areas for both male and female firefighters.

The Pearl Street firehouse pretty much fits into all of those deficiencies above, and the construction of the Public Safety Complex a few years ago moved Hartford Fire Administration Offices out of the Pearl Street HQ and into a much more modern structure at 253 High Street. For some odd reason, there were no plans included in 253 High to accommodate fire apparatus and alleviate the money pit at Pearl Street. HFD dispatchers were housed for many years at Pearl Street, but they were moved into the 911 Dispatch Center many years ago.

The time has come to shut down the "garage" that houses Tac 1 on Pearl Street and use the money wasted in the upkeep and operation of thousands of  square footage  and should be put into repairing the deplorable conditions of Hartford's firehouses where out first responders live ,work and sleep everyday of the week.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019


The newest resident at 253 High Street, in the HPD lobby

I think we have become pretty immune to the political rhetoric that spews from Hartford City Hall and the lips of "our" politicians. They all want to talk about homelessness and how they need more money to correct the problem, some of them even make good money for their organizations by benefiting off the homeless problem.

According to sources, a homeless female has taken up residence in the lobby of the Hartford Police Department for the last couple weeks.

She has apparently moved in with several pieces of luggage and has pizza delivered for her meals.

We need to do better than this. Now I know, that some homeless people don't want to accept any help, but the lobby of a public building is not an acceptable alternative , especially when we have so many buildings sitting empty that could be used.

As an example , the Hartford YMCA still sits empty to this day after we fell for a grand proposal for the property that never happened.

There needs to be an effort for  more dignity for all of our citizens.

Monday, November 25, 2019


Hartford County States Attorney Gail Hardy

This mornings special meeting by the Criminal Justice Commission  into the performance, or more accurately the lack of performance , by Hartford County States Attorney Gail Hardy is long overdue. 

Gail Hardy's failure to perform her job points out several problems. The main one being that even though there is a Chief States Attorney, the individual States Attorney's for the Geographical Areas, really don't answer to the Chief States Attorney, and the Chief SA has no direct supervisory accountability or responsibility for them. 

Gail Hardy's failure to complete mandated Police Use of Force investigations brought this issue to light. Some of the cases that have been sitting on Gail Hardy's desk collecting dust for almost a decade, according to documents received from the Connecticut State Police pursuant to an FOI request.

There is no excuse for that. 

The system to have State's attorneys investigate Use of Force allegations was created to build the Public's trust in the credibility of these incidents. Gail Hardy's actions have done the total opposite.

Instead of people having confidence in the reports, whether good or bad, they must now be suspect. 

Most of these incidents appear to be justified, but the delay will only raise more questions. Officers involved in these incidents, as well as the families of  the "victims" deserve a timely conclusion.

To conduct an investigation and then potentially conclude that the actions of an officer were unjustified but the statute of limitations for any accountability has expired will not lead to any greater trust of a system that is often called into question.

It is not fair to the public or the officer's and agencies involved for that cloud of question to remain over the incident for potentially years without Hardy's reports being completed.

Gail Hardy has shown for years that she is out of touch with the communities she serves and continually refuses to accept invitations to community meetings  to interact with the public.

The Legislature needs to look at correcting this antiquated, broken system of States Attorneys  and bring us into the current day Judicial processes that work much better in other states and provide better accountability to the system of Prosecutor's in Connecticut

Sunday, November 3, 2019


It is widely acknowledged that one question from Candidate Ronald Reagan turned the course of Jimmy Carter's re-election bid in 1980.

The Presidential campaign was capped by only one debate between the two candidates. Many polls showed a dead heat between the two Presidential candidates. During that debate, Republican Ronald Reagan sealed the fate of that election and the future of Jimmy Carter with one simple question to voters.

Reagan asked "are you better off than you were four years ago?" That was all it took.

Hopefully this Tuesday as Registered voters in Hartford prepare to vote, they can ask themselves the same question.

Are our streets any better than four years ago as Luke Bronin promised they would be? Definitely not. Hartford repair garages and body shops are still reaping the benefits of our streets every
time they re-align another front end victimized by our canyon sized potholes.

Resurfacing City streets this summer was almost nonexistent with the exceptions of a handful of streets, far short of the milling and paving we usually see every summer-

Is trash on our streets and bulky waste piled at the curbs any better, as Candidate Bronin had promised in 2015? Nope. The rats love the furniture and mattresses thrown at the curbs, they make for some great rat harborages. The overflowing dumpsters that are never inspected or cited at many apartment complexes and businesses are loved by the rats also, it grows their families big and strong.

And I think the rat inspectors and additional housing inspectors we keep hearing are coming must have gotten lost or are broken down after hitting a pothole.

Do you feel safer in your neighborhoods than you were four years ago when Pedro Segarra was leaving Office and as Candidate Bronin promised? The reality is you are not any safer.  As of today, Hartford's homicide rate is 67% ahead of 2017, and the year still has a ways to go, so we can add more.  Shootings are almost an every day occurrence. Shots fired from illegal gun activity are almost an hourly occurrence and two more people were shot on the streets of Hartford  last night.

Our schools are still a mess, even though the Mayor appoints the Majority of the Board of Education , He often ducks the issue of failing schools by saying he has no control over the BOE. Isn't that convenient.

Hartford's finances are still a mess despite the State of Connecticut bailout. Actually, Bronin tries to make it sound like he did a great job of arm twisting at the Capitol to get the bailout. What he should be calling it is the first installment on the past due bill the State owes us for underpaid P.I.L.O.T. funds.  But chances are good we will be revisiting this issue in a couple years, probably before the term of the next Mayor ends.

And that basaball stadium deal? Yes, it opened but it is still a drain of $5 to 6 Million dollars a year on the City budget for debt service payments.

Is the toxic environment of City employment gotten any better in the last four years? Definitely not. Instances of attempted suicides, actual suicides , numerous CHRO complaints filed against the Police Department and other City Departments are keeping some politically connected law firms profitable at the taxpayers expense. All due to mismanagement and lack of leadership or accountability by Bronin Department heads.. So no, that is no better than it was four years ago.

Those are probably enough examples to get you to honestly answer President Reagan's question as it pertains to Hartford.

But as you prepare to fill in that little bubble on your ballot, also keep in mind the general version of "insanity". Insanity is doing the same old thing and expecting a different result. I know Tuesday I am unwilling to settle for insanity, if we are honest with ourselves and really do care about the City many of us claim to love.

Saturday, October 26, 2019


He wasn't "unavailable" then

This week has been an extremely violent week, but actually there have been plenty of violent weeks since Luke Bronin has been Mayor, and plenty of violent weeks during the tenure of Interim Chief Jason Thody.

Lets do a quick flashback for a second to 2015. That is the year Luke Bronin showed up on the scene to challenge Mayor Pedro Segarra. Most people in Hartford had never heard of Luke Bronin and most would never recognize him, but Bronin proved you could buy an awful lot with a million dollars. You could buy both name recognition and the Hartford Mayor's Office.

Now Pedro Segarra was a nice guy, but a terrible Mayor. I think many people, A/K/A Hartford's political insiders figured out quickly Segarra was more of a Social worker than a solid leader and they were able to steamroll him for their own needs and Segarra produced lackluster results.

Bronin's arrival on the political scene coincided with a very violent pre-election summer. Bronin quickly capitalized on that violence and made political hay from the dead bodies piling up due to gunfire and violence.Segarra was slow to make changes, especially in the Hartford Police Department. HPD was without a permanent Chief at the time. Segarra wasted months selecting a Chief and at one point he conducted an expensive national search spending upwards of $75,000 only to appoint Chief Jim Rovella as the right choice for Hartford's Police Chief.( Not only the right choice, but a great choice)

Bronin capitalized on all of that, especially the dead bodies of homicide victims, making it point to have the Television cameras in tow as he went to vigils and visited the survivors homes of the homicide victims. It worked, he promised to make Hartford a safer City and he was elected as Mayor. And it only cost a little over a million dollars.

I remember the day Bronin showed at at a playground on Cornwall street to use  the prop of a deadbody lying on a basketball court, the man shot in the head during a basketball tournament, to capitalize on the corpse 50 yards away to convince us why we needed change and oust Segarra. What has changed except the Mayors ?   Let me answer my own question...nothing

But, as Eddie Perez's corruption trial revealed the "Gospel of Perez", the felonious Mayor's staff had put together a PowerPoint display to build Eddie's little corrupt empire, or so he hoped. One of the slides stated "Voters in Hartford have very short memories". That is never truer than right now.

I was disgusted yesterday by media accounts that when they tried to approach Luke Bronin for comment on Thursdays street shootout and the killing of 71 year old Grandmother Yvonne Smith, Bronin was conveniently "unavailable" Of course he was unavailable he doesn't want to have to answer for his "efforts" or more appropriately his failures and broken promises.

He doesn't want to have to answer for his revolving door of Department Heads at City Hall and the lack of stability in his Administration. The only Department head who has remained I believe is Fire Chief Reggie Freeman. All other Departments have numerous turnover in Department Heads, including HPD. DPW went without a permanent head for months, actually well over a year, because Bronin was able to use the Fire Chief as an acting DPW Director Luckily Freeman was able to do both , and surprisingly both Departments functioned well, no thanks to Bronin. MHIS, the City's IT Department has been without a permanent director for years.  It is only the City's computers and technology, why should we be concerned about that being managed properly by a permanent Department head?

I think Luke Bronin has a higher turnover rate in his Administration than the Trump Administration, seriously.

It is only the City's computers and technology, why should we be concerned about that being managed properly?

And while Bronin was "unavailable" for comment on the violence this week, his Police Chief was lounging in Chicago at a conference. As the Mayor of a violent City that just experienced a tragedy and several shootings in a 24 hour period, I would think if I was in Bronin's position I would see the value in telling my Police Chief, his presence in the City to maintain calm and hopefully instill confidence and leadership was more important than hobnobbing in Chicago with other Police Chiefs.

But that would take leadership on Bronin's part,

And I am not sure anyone  should believe Bronin's promises that if elected he will serve out the full 4 years of his second term. This is the same guy that was willing to take almost a year off from his full time job as Hartford's elected Mayor to zig-zag across the State in his failed bid to be Connecticut's Governor. How much could have been accomplished during that year if actually focused on the job the taxpayers were paying him to perform. Did he ever offer to give back the salary for the time he was being paid to run Hartford and he wasn't? I never heard that offer being mad.

Does anyone really believe that if John Larson  or (oh please God please) Richard Blumenthal announced  their retirements next spring that Luke Bronin wouldn't be the first one in line to get those positions., despite his promise to the people of Hartford.

Hell, Luke Bronin can't even tell us  the truth about where he is living now, why should we believe anything he says.

Enough is enough, as a City we deserve so much better and not be accepting  the highest bidder for our voting rights.

Friday, October 25, 2019



 I normally don't do this, but this vigil is of special importane  due to the nature of this senseless act and the purely innocent victim who died. Please attend if you can to shpw support for Yvonne's family and as a community to let our Mayor and Councilpeople that we are fed up with the nonsense on our streets

Mothers United Against Violence will conduct a Candlelight Vigil on Saturday, October 26th, at 4:00 pm, at Garden & Nelson Streets, Hartford, where the life of Yvonne Smith, 71, was taken by being hit by a car driven by a youth fleeing a gun fight in the streets.
For the family, this is a loss like the loss of the life of any family member.
Yvonne has been recognized by many as "a guardian of the neighborhood" and spent most of her life in Hartford and never wanted to be anywhere else. So for her, the family is asking for help to make the streets safer.
All who want to do that should feel welcomed to be part of the human presence trying to bring calm to the community and be strengthened by taking part in this vigil.


The perfect storm.That is how Hartford Police Officer Dom Agostino described yesterdays events on Westland Street. Officer Agostino called me this morning to describe his actions to me after numerous comments had been made on this Blog critiquing his actions during the incident.

I have never met Agostino, but I was aware of who he was due to an Internal Affairs investigation regarding him from several years ago.  That may have been a bad start when I began hearing he was the officer who first arrived  on Westland Street yesterday to an active shooter scene.

Agostino asked if he could talk to me and address his response. Since I( am still trying to unravel the situation in my own mind, combined with the numerous phone calls I have received with all  of the different theories and scenarios as to how it should have been handled in a perfect situation.

The problem is nothing about yesterdays incident was routine or complying with any Academy role playing scenario.

Agostino seemed to be troubled by all of the events, but then again, who wouldn't be. He said he hadn't been able to get much sleep last night as the slow motion events kept playing over in his mind.

Agostino described it as the "perfect storm" for chaos. He heard the shots fired call, responded to the area and as he turned onto Westland street he saw two SUV's racing directly toward him. He said the front seat occupants of one car were wearing masks and one of the SUV's threw that car into reverse to elude him and backed up Westland Street. The scene was unraveling in split second timing at that point and Agostino was trying to comprehend everything in the greater picture and making sense of a senseless situation.

Agostino , driving forward up Westland St. was pursing the second shooting vehicle as it backed up the street quickly. At about the time he saw the grey car at the curb with two more shooters taking aim at the fleeing SUV. In a split second he saw the subsequent victim, later identified as Yvonne Smith, entering the street into the path of the fleeing car.

He explained the couple of seconds we can see in the video where he is stationary alongside the standing shooters. At that moment the fleeing vehicle hit Yvonne Smith and propelled her body into the air and through the intersection .Agostino recalls quickly looking from the flying body to the shooters along side him, trying to process what to do next. A situation hopefully none of us are ever in and having to witness and make those decisions and hopefully none of our trained police officer's have to either.

I know it is easy to criticize Agostino's actions, I did it myself. I am not sure even a computer or the best trained Police Officer could process the events that quickly and make the perfect decision. I had the  video on a computer screen and it took me several views to make sense of the silver vehicle by the curb and the two occupants going into their shooting stances and figuring all the threats out. Imagine a Police officer coming upon a wildly confusing situation unwinding in real time before your eyes and trying to control that situation perfectly while analyzing everything happening, trying to chase the suspects, not crash your cruiser, not get yourself shot and if you return fire not to injure any innocent bystanders out in the area. As you human brain is processing all of that information , you see a body hurled into the air by the fleeing car.

I am not sure even the fastest computer could analyze all of that information and come up with a perfect scenario in the quick time frame  that Agostino had to make the same conclusions .I am not sure it is necessary, but I would love to sit down in a room with people, or even a group of Police Officers and play the video for them and see how they would process their solutions and the "what if's". Hopefully this will be a learning tool for our Police Officers to prepare them for the next time a similar situation occurs. And sadly I think the next time will not be too far off unless we get a handle of the violence on our streets.

Finally, I think I did look at the video and drew conclusions as to the situation based upon my knowledge of previous incidents with Officer Agostino. This was a perfect storm situation and I am not sure even the most seasoned, well trained officer could have or should have acted differently. And I honestly pray that none of my police officer friends, or any police officer find themselves in similar situations.  And I don't think I have ever done this before or actually felt the need to do it, but to Officer Agostino, I apologize for judging your actions in the comfort of my computer screen hit play rewind and pause reviewing the video in slow motion, unlike what you were confronting in split second real time.

I appreciate your calling me and having the opportunity hear your version and your sincerity seemed to come through for me. I hope your department will help you and other officers dealing with similar situations to process these events properly.

Before we were done, I asked Officer Agostino a question and told him if he didn't want to answer me I understood. I asked him as the scene was unfolding, did he ever  stop to think or delay his response because of liability or what would happen if he fired back or even rammed the car with his cruiser . His response was a quick "No".

Thursday, October 24, 2019


It is an election year so you aren't supposed to know this, but Hartford is out of control.

Last night was a very violent night in the Capitol City, shotspotter activations were constant, . Two people were shot in the area of South Green Park, another shooting victim showed up this morning at the hospital for treatment and told Police it happened in the area of South Green Park.

And now it continues on today.

A shootout occurred in the area of Garden and Westland Street. Numerous gunfire was reported. Most op the shootout was caught on the Hartford Police Department's C4 Command Center video.

As the shootout was occurring an HPD black and white cruiser came around the corner. Two vehicles were driving up the street apparently shooting at each other and at a 3rd vehicle at the curb , where that vehicles occupants were returning fire.

The first vehicle being chased continued past the police cruiser. the second vehicle following that one, threw their vehicle in reverse and backed up the street, past the car at the curb that was still firing at them.

What appears to be an innocent bystander trying to cross the street to get away from the gunfire is suddenly struck by the vehicle fleeing in reverse at high speed. She is launched and thrown through the air for approximately 100 feet. She also reportedly had a bullet wound to her head from what sources at the scene have told me. Her condition is unknown at this time, but I am being told unofficially it is not good.. Please keep her in your thoughts

It is also interesting from the video that the HPD Officer appears to continue driving and is not seen exiting from his cruiser or returning fire.

It is definitely, I am sure, an unnerving situation to come around a corner and find yourself in the middle of a firefight, What would the response be? Who knows.

But this is the reality of life in Hartford these days, And the reality is that innocent people are being killed as long as this continues.

We will have to see how transparent  HPD and City Hall are and if they have the courage to actually release the video of the real street life in Hartford. It is very disturbing video, but it is reality

Wednesday, October 23, 2019


After I posted this afternoon about the Investigation underway by the Hartford County State's Attorneys Office, the following statement was released by Interim Chief Jason Thody


A veteran Hartford Police Detective is under investigation by the Hartford County States Attorney's Office  for an incident that may result in criminal charges against the Officer after allegedly assaulting a suspect who was under arrest and handcuffed.

UPDATED 3:00PM- The entire incident was properly documented according to a conversation I had by phone with Detective Pillai. The breakdown, from what sources have told me is the failure of the supervisor to properly document the incident and review the body cam footage, that is where the problem began. When the video came to light , HPD command staff felt it was best to go to an outside agency to review the matter and remove any suspicion or conflict of interest


On 5/22/19 at approximately 1309 hours, Detectives from the Vice & Narcotics division were conducting a narcotics investigation and warrant operation. The investigation led detectives to 577 Prospect Avenue, West Hartford.

 As officers attempted to conduct a motor vehicle stop to effect an arrest, the suspect for the investigation, intentionally rammed into a police vehicle, eluding and evading the police stop. The suspect vehicle then fled from the rear parking lot, intentionally ramming into a surveillance vehicle being operated by a V&N Detective.

 Upon impact, the airbags deployed trapping the officer within the vehicle. A 10-0 was radio broadcast, with numerous units responding from all divisions, including Officers and medical providers from West Hartford. Due to the disabling damage, the suspect vehicle came to a stop on scene.  


Apparently, the May 22, 2019 incident and the alleged assault of the suspect was not reported until it was uncovered by a high level supervisor reviewing HPD Use of Force Report that the body cam footage had not been reviewed or preserved  in compliance with the required review after the departments Use of Force Policy. According to several HPD sources. During that review it allegedly shows Detective  Abish Pillai striking the suspect in the head after the suspect was handcuffed and under arrest. Pillai can apparently be seen on the body cam footage striking the suspect in the head with the bottom of his department issued portable radio.

Sadly, several HPD Officer's referred to Pillai as a "good , good, guy" one Officer stated Pillai "is one of our best detectives'  and the accusation "is totally out of character" for him and that he is usually totally in control and a calm demeanor.

 It is unfortunate that this incident has the possibility of ending with Criminal charges and HPD  losing one of  their best detectives. Adrenaline is a terrible thing once it gets flowing, but so is assaulting a handcuffed suspect) i also points to several problem areas that aren't unique to HPD.

Where were the other Officer's at the scene? No one else witnessed this alleged assault, even the officer whose body cam captured the footage. (and there may be more than one recording)  Where was the supervisor who signed off on the Use of Force report and why did they not comply with the Use of Force policy to retain and review any body cam footage. Will there be any  one held accountable for these failures.

Monday, October 21, 2019


Many of the good things the Hartford Police Department does go unnoticed. This past Friday was one such time.

 On Friday, the Hartford Police Activities league went on a "field trip". Two school buses loaded with youth that partake of the daily PAL program loaded two buses and headed to a South Glastonbury farm in search of the perfect pumpkin.

The farm is owned by the Cavanna Family, the farm was established in South Glastonbury in 1903 and has remained in the Cavanna family since. Two members of the Cavanna family are currently Hartford Police Officers, Sergeant John Cavanna and his younger brother, Officer Andrew Cavanna, one of the newest additions to HPD.

Friday the Cavanna family, Parents Paul and Kathy , along with their sons John and Andy, daughter Kate and several Hartford Police Officers volunteered to host  the PAL program with hayrides to the fields to select pumpkins, take a ride on a diesel train locomotive on the farm and enjoy pizza, cider and all the apples they could eat along with candy treat bags provided by Officer Cullen and his family for all the kids.

Apples, strawberries, Christmas trees and even Maple syrup are the main items produced on Cavanna Farms

Pumpkins aren't normally grown on the farm, but this year Paul and John and Andy planted a field specifically to give to the PAL kids, free of charge their own pumpkins as part of the pre-Halloween event.

It was great to see the excitement on the children's faces, many of them who had never held a pumpkin of their own. It was also great to see them interacting with the Police Officers who volunteered their time. It was interesting to see Lieutenant Lauren Cox explaining to kids what was inside a pumpkin and the seeds that could be toasted..

The locomotive rides were a huge hit as the kids lined up for their turn in the cab of the massive machine. Next up will be the Holiday hayride through downtown for the PAL kids held before Christmas
Pumpkins fresh from the Cavanna fields
Two of Hartfords Finest volunteering their time for the kids
The trainmaster explaining safety to the kids before boarding

"All Aboard" the Grey Granite Railroad

Friday, October 18, 2019



An officer, a Police Officer actually, a gentleman and a great human being. That is the best way to describe Hartford Police Officer Jim Barrett.

Jim Barrett is a Hartford Police Officer assigned to the area around the Hartford Public Library and City Hall on Main Street. On Monday Barrett was at his assigned area on bike patrol. Barrett heard a radio call for a potentially suicidal male who was threatening to take his life by jumping from a bridge near the riverfront.

With a limited description of the mans clothing, Barrett rode toward the area of Riverfront Plaza. He observed a man matching the description climbing over the rail of the pedestrian bridge over Columbus Boulevard near the Science Center. Barrett reacted quickly and was able to grab the man before he was actually able to jump from the bridge. A short struggle ensued and Officer Barrett, with the assistance of a couple bystanders , was able to restrain the man until medical help arrived.

For anyone that doesn't know Jimmy Barrett, this selfless act was not an anomaly, it is one type of act helping people that he conducts everyday to different degrees.

Barrett is not just a Community Service Officer  for City Hall, he fills a void  by helping people that are down on their luck or just need a little help getting by.

Barrett regularly organizes collections, and distributes footwear , shoes, socks, etc. for the homeless. His City Hall Office some days looks more like the shoe aisle at Walmart than a Police Office. His winter drive also usually has health care professionals available to address foot issues with the people that come in for help.

Officer Barrett is the original "Re-entry Center" at City hall , often helping recently released from incarceration members of the community or others trying to obtain employment with clothing, footwear or even coaching or setting up job interviews. Many times people stop by Officer Barrett's office looking for a snack or something to eat.  Barrett always has snack, energy bars or even canned items like spaghetti-o's that can be eaten on the go

Barrett really understands and takes his oath literally, to serve and protect.

As of the last check, the man threatening to jump was receiving medical attention.

Barrett has also served as a member of the US Army and has been deployed  over seas on several occasions.

If anyone would like to assist Officer Jim Barrett in his efforts, donations are always welcomed and accepted. Officer Barrett's office is located on the ground level of City Hall at the rear doors.

Great job Officer Barrett.

Friday, October 11, 2019


This is definitely a bizarre story. What makes it even more bizarre is how this has been handled from the start by the HPD Administration and Interim Police Chief Jason Thody. Read the attached Internal Affairs reports and you will probably be asking yourself "why was this Officer allowed to remain on duty after the first incident?".

Is it another example of the "good old boy network" that many still believe exists within HPD? Why was Officer Joven Gonzalez able to be involved in what the IAD investigator called an "ON-duty Domestic incident" and still remain on duty and not be suspended and his police powers, department weapon and badge be confiscated. Instead Gonzalez was able to remain on duty and keep his weapon, only to use that same weapon to pistol whip and seriously injure his victim  in a hotel room he had rented for his juvenile sex partner.

There are many good men and women serving the City of Hartford as Police Officer's and the Administration needs to deal with the bad apples promptly instead of coddling them to discredit HPD repeatedly.

Another issue, detailed in the IAD reports, is the question of why The Hartford County States Attorney Gail Hardy and retired HPD Deputy Chief, now Hartford County States  Attorney Inspector Emory Hightower refused to pursue Criminal Charges against Joven Gonzalez when requested by Bloomfield PD. Instead Hightower declined and punted the  matter to HPD to handle internally. More of the "good Old Boy" protection network.

Efforts should already be underway to terminate Gonzalez and the paperwork should already be in the works to decertify Gonzalez through POSTC (Police Officers Standards and Training Council) for his documented lies in his official capacity and falsifying records.

Joven Gonzalez I-File #1  on Scribd

Friday, October 4, 2019


Vintage B-17

This weeks Vintage B-17 crash pointed out what we do right as a regional community, and also the negative sides also.

Within seconds after the crash, the Greater Hartford Regions Fire, Police and EMS services were being coordinated for a massive, hopefully life saving response. These events are rehearsed for and practiced  regularly, in the hopes that the real test will never happen.

Wednesday morning, a little after 10:00AM the tests became reality.

It all happened very quickly. I received a call from my friend Len Besthoff , the Investigative reporter for NBC Connecticut. He asked me if I was listening to my scanner because they were getting word of a plane crash at Bradley.  I told him I thought I had heard the Windsor Locks Dispatcher calling for aid from surrounding towns , both Fire trucks and Ambulances. I didn't really pay attention because it sounded like one of their regular drills of the region's "Red Plan". The red plan is the playbook for the emergency response to major disasters.

Since my mother lives very close to the Bradley, I called her and asked if she could see any smoke or heard anything that sounded like a plane crash. She sounded shaken on the phone and her response was "Oh my God, I hope it wasn't the plane that just flew over"

Apparently, her and my sister Sheryl were both in her front yard when a vintage bomber flew directly over my mothers house in what wasn't the normal flight path for aircraft landing at Bradley. They both paid attention because the engines were loud. My mother noticed the four propeller's and my sister said she wished she had her camera close by because the plane was beautifully restored and was flying so low it would have made for some great photos. They could clearly make out the glass bubbles for the nose gunner and belly gunner.

What drew their attention though was the "popping" sounds coming from the engine.

I called Len back and told him what5 Mom had just told me and he said they were just getting calls that a vintage military aircraft had crashed and they could see a plume of smoke on their Bradley camera..

By that point things were becoming very chaotic. Ironically, right before Len called, I was on the phone with retired HPD Deputy Chief Brian Foley, now working in the Commissioners Office at Public Safety,  he quickly  cut our call short telling me that Governor LaMont's Office was calling, word of the crash was spreading, quickly.

As the day progressed, I was proud to know so many of the professionals involved in unraveling the incident. Initially, The Connecticut State Police had control of the situation and Commissioner Rovella did a great job, as he usually does, putting a sense of order to what can be the chaos of a fast moving situation.  Rovella has always been striving for transparency, and between Rovella, Foley and the CSP command staff details were flowing quickly without the usual misinformation these tragedies tend to generate.

Rovella's demeanor and professionalism had to be reassuring to the families and anyone watching the live press conferences as well as instilling confidence that the investigation , at least on the States part, would be thorough and orderly.

Rovella alluded to the acts of heroism and the related stories that would be coming out. Those stories will only help to let people know there are still good people out there and we can count on our neighbors and each other when it really counts. Just the number of volunteer firefighters and EMS people that mobilized in minutes, many putting their own lives in danger or disrupting their work day to respond is gratifying....

And now to the ugly. While watching the live news conference and the first briefing I was extremely disappointed in someone that is supposed to be the elder "statesman" from Connecticut, Senator Richard Blumenthal. Governor Lamont was respectful and actually seemed very emotional during the briefing, his test  for his first major disaster as Governor. I Give Governor Lamont a grade of "A" or even "A plus".  Senior Senator Blumenthal gets an "F"

For some reason Blumenthal saw the need to even be in the room.  He nearly elbowed Airport Authority Executive Kevin Dillon away from the podium so he could get control of the microphone. It then became a chest thumping "guess how important I am " moment for Blumenthal he had to go on to tell that he had ordered the response from the NTSB and that he was so important and NTSB answered to him as a member of the Transportation Committee. He went on to say that he would be looking at Legislation to hold these  vintage aircrafts to legislative accountability and safety.

Senator Blumenthal, as soon as the first  part of the landing gear on the B-17 touched a lighting stanchion at Bradley, the NTSB protocol's already had staff grabbing their "go bags" and they were t destined for Bradley. Your call was unnecessary, other than to boost your political ego. People just died and were injured, the last thing those families need  was some politician trying to gain political points immediately after a tragedy.

Commissioner Rovella, Airport Authority Director Kevin Dillon and Governor Lamont's staff already had the situation well under control and your presence was more of a nuisance than anything reassuring.

Maybe your presence in Washington D.C. actually dealing with issues like health care and gun control would be more beneficial than running for the nearest Television camera to bolster your own self image.

Enough of that rant, Congratulations to every one that brought out what is good, actually great, about Connecticut Even though a tragedy occurred and lives were lost, you all made us proud of your efforts

Thursday, October 3, 2019


How time flies.

Forty years ago today I was right in the middle of a tornado. October 3, 1979 is a day myself, my late grandfather and many others will never forget.

After graduating High School in 1977 I had started a small landscaping business. My grandfather used to love tagging along with me, even if it was just riding in my dump truck. I had found an old 1950 International dump truck from a farmer in East Granby. It was a tank, air brakes, no power steering, a split rear axle and it would go though anything. I remember the day I went to DMV to get my class 2 license, the inspector had to go for a test drive  on the road. I remember when he got in the truck and started out, he remarked that if I could handle that truck, I had already passed my road test.

So back to the tornado. It was a rainy wet, humid day. Typical summer weather when you just new the afternoon would be filled with thunderstorms. There wasn't much landscaping to be done in that weather, the lawns were all too wet to mow. My grandfather and I gassed up the dump truck and headed to a sawmill in Granville , Mass to haul back some bark mulch from the mill. The rain was heavy on the way up and even worse on the return home. We had passed an area in East Granby where the rain was washing mud and dirt across Route 20 it was raining so hard. As we headed back into Windsor, we got onto Rainbow Road, just south of the Airport. I had grown up in that area and I was very familiar with the area. We were on Rainbow Road, right near what is now Browns Harvest Pumpkin Patch.

The rain was still heavy and the sky became a strange color, almost jade green. It was chaos around us with the strong wind and sudden green almost darkness, just then trees started snapping and electric poles began snapping off and laying across the road blocking our path, the power lines were popping and arcing all around us.

At the time, long before cell phones and text messaging, we had no idea.what was going on. The 1950 International Dump didn't have an AM radio in it. It was a work truck. The thought of a tornado hitting Windsor never even crossed my mind. Tornado's were things that happened out in the Midwest, not Connecticut.

I am glad we were in that tank of a truck, otherwise  who knows how we would have ended up. With all the debris around us, there was nowhere for us to go. We just had to sit there and try to figure out what had happened. Later that night, much later, utility workers and I think a couple of State DOT workers were coming up behind us clearing a path in the roadway.

We were eventually able to turn around and head back through East Granby to get home. The direction we were headed in , south on Poquonock Avenue in Windsor was the epicenter of what we learned from the Utility crews clearing our path was actually a tornado.  The road ahead of us was closed for some time afterward and there were concerns that there was structural damage to the Poquonock Bridge over the Farmington River.

There were other stories in that truck with Gramp, luckily he had a good strong heart with some of the near misses as he sat in the passenger seat, and that was before seat belts. I still miss you Gramp, but I will always remember the times we spent together


Sunday, September 29, 2019


Joven Gonzalez


 HARTFORD, CONN.  September 29, 2019  Hartford Police officer arrested, held on $150,000 bond.

On Sunday September 29, 2019, at approximately 07:20 a.m., the Hartford Police Department was notified of an off-duty incident involving a Hartford Police Officer. The case was assigned to a supervisor of the Major Crimes Division, as well as members of the Internal Affairs Division. The investigation alleges that Hartford Officer Joven Gonzalez had assaulted a former domestic partner, as well as her acquaintance at a motel within the city in the early morning hours. The male victim sustained head lacerations as a result of being struck by a firearm and had sought medical attention prior to calling police. The female victim sustained minor injuries from being assaulted.

During the course of the investigation, probable cause was developed to arrest Joven Gonzalez. He is currently being held on a $150,000.00 bond, and is to be arraigned on Monday, September 30th. 

Mr. Gonzalez has been subsequently suspended without pay and stripped of his police powers and badge of office. The Internal Affairs Division will be conducting a parallel investigation into the matter.

 Arrested: GONZALEZ, Joven  01/11/1993 20 Willowcrest Dr, Windsor CT

Charges included:
Assault 2nd Assault 3rd Reckless Endangerment 1st Threatening 1st Criminal Mischief 3rd

MY thoughts-

This should have never happened. Gonzalez should have been suspended immediately by Chief Thody after the accusations of a sexual relationship and alleged assault on a female juvenile he admitted to having a sexual relationship with. He also admitted that it happened while he was on duty and took his cruiser to Bloomfield , where the alleged altercations occurred.

Instead Chief Thody opted to put him in Booking, with full Police powers and his department issued weapon, which he apparently used to assault the male and the pistol whipping may have fractured his victims skull from what sources are telling me. I wonder what the settlement will be for that one to be paid out by the City. Gonzalez still had full access to Police computers and police facilities.

You can't make this stuff up. What are we paying for here, not leadership at HPD, that's pretty clear. This should make resident's proud of our Mayor and the way he leads this City.

At least he is now suspended and they have taken his department issued weapon   so I guess he can't use that to bash in anyone else's skull

To read the incident reports about the first Bloomfield incident here

Thursday, September 26, 2019


I am not sure what Mayor Bronin is waiting for, but maybe he has become accustomed to the revolving door of Department heads in his Administration I hope it changes if he is fortunate enough to get re-elected. He needs to start a search for a stable leader for HPD. Officers are starving for it, and resident's deserve it.

I would normally advocate for hiring from within to fill administrative vacancies, but I think one key position needs to be filled from the outside. I would encourage Mayor Bronin to conduct a national search to fill the position of Police Chief. That goes contrary to what I have believed, but I don't think there is anyone p0resently at  HPD capable of providing the proper leadership to move HPD forward. Morale at HPD, especially among the rank and file is probably at the lowest I have seen it in several years. One person that I thought was more than capable to lead the Department and actually had "Rovella style" vision to build and kick HPD out of neutral (or even reverse) and into overdrive was Deputy Chief William Long. Chief Long was driven out, I mean retired, yesterday.

One other person I think would be a good choice is Assistant Chief Rafael Medina. Medina is a retired CSP Lieutenant and came in with Chief Rosado. I think if Medina put together a good team around him, he could do the job . I think his heart is really in the Patrol Division which is sorely needed right now.

Patrol is the backbone of any Police Department and Medina is not afraid to talk to Patrol Officers or even go out on Patrol with them and more importantly, he respects everyone, no matter their rank. Medina also is a strong believer in accountability and following policy. Now isn't that a novel idea?

I have to admit, I was very disappointed when Chief Rosado left. I felt that Chief Rosado was moving in the right direction and I would have loved to see where HPD would have been after another couple years under his leadership, but we don't always get what we want. I think HPD was culture shock coming from CSP and encountering the HPD culture. I think Medina had the same issues, but he has proven to be fair and consistent in dishing out discipline, something long overdue at HPD.

The first night I met David Rosado, before he became Chief, we had gone out privately and had a great conversation. He asked me what I thought HPD officers were looking for in a Chief. I told him the number one thing Officers had told me was that they wanted accountability. If they did something wrong, they expected to be held accountable and they expected discipline to be fair. I think Rosado did that during his short time here. I still say that Medina was brought in as Assistant Chief to act as Rosado's  "hatchet man" someone that could set a strong tone of accountability as well as showing common sense and fairness.

Much of Medina's time here has been occupied with discipline issues, hearings and internal investigations. We can only hope that if he became the permanent Chief, that tasks would lessen for the next Assistant Chief as the rank and file would realize they had to get with the program and the days of game playing were gone. Don't get me wrong, I am not painting the picture of a Department full of rogue cops, a small minority can cause the majority of the problems which paint the Department in a poor light. Proper leadership would eliminate many of those problems.

Many of my readers might be asking "where is you support for the Interim Chief?" It has dissolved for several reasons. One is truthfulness and honesty.. It is just not there in my opinion. A simple example, OK. When I asked the current interim Chief why HPD was not buying the Ford Explorers for Patrol vehicles rather than the higher priced Chevrolet Tahoe's, he told me the Explorers (all wheel drive vehicles) would require mandated 8 hours of  mandated driver training for all Patrol Officers  operating Explorers.

Mandated by who? No other town or agency I contacted was aware of any training requirements besides the initial training given in the Academy. I asked one Officer from another Department who I knew was driving an Explorer. I asked him what "mandated" training he received before being allowed to drive an Explorer. He laughed and said "NONE, they just handed me the keys". There are other examples, but once you lie to me , you lose my confidence quickly.

The Department is also a disorganized mess. People are more concerned trying to figure out who my sources are and where I get my information instead of admitting the information is correct and doing something to fix it. When I knew there were 20 cars deadlined (broken down and inoperable at the DPW garage) there was more of an effort to figure out who gave me the accurate info rather than putting a push on  DPW mechanics  to get the cars repaired and back on the street in the Patrol Division ( as a side note, there are 21 cars on the deadline tonight and not enough vehicles for every officer in Patrol to have a cruiser). But on the positive side, all of the Command Staff have , or will be getting brand new vehicles for their daily commutes

Despite the highly touted use of body cameras, many officers still have not received training in the use of Body cameras, nor have they been issued. Many uniformed officers still are not wearing the body cameras and  with the exception of ,I believe, traffic  Supervisors, no Supervisors are wearing body cameras, detectives are not being issued or trained in the use of the cameras, even though many of them work private jobs or road jobs where they come in contact with residents. At the very least, every Supervisor should already be trained and wearing body cameras since they are the most likely to be involved in situations where the body cam footage would be very helpful when any complaint might be made.

To show more mismanagement, very few cruisers, if any, have dash cameras in operation. Oh, they are here, they have just been sitting on a pallet wrapped in plastic in the basement of HPD for months, un-installed, collecting dust. You might be given the same excuse  I was given when I asked the Interim Chief about it. They were waiting for new cars to come in before they installed them. Were those the new cars the Interim told me would be arriving in July? I guess I'll have to give him a pass on that one because he didn't say July of which year. No new cars have arrived yet , except the Command Staff Tahoe's

We should be demanding more from our Interim Police Chief, and the next Chief should be tasked with mentoring the numerous capable officers who should be in line for consideration the next time there is a Chief's opening. This is not a position that the taxpayers of Hartford should be paying over a quarter of a million dollars a year for and getting these type of incompetent results for our money.. But then again, we pay that kind of salary for the Superintendent of schools and get dysfunctional results, so why not the Police Department.

I was going to wait until next week to write this post until I went to HPD for the Public Compstat meeting tonight. Once I arrived at HPD we were informed that the Public Compstat meeting that was posted and advertised on social media had been cancelled. Why you might ask?  Because the Mayor was having a Community meeting and he wanted "everyone" there. I can probably recite his canned message better than he can.  Do you think maybe they could have posted the sudden cancellation on social media, nope. Typical

Oh well, I think you get my point, but as a City , our Police Department is too important for us and our future to accept such lackluster results.

Sorry Jason, I  was willing to give you a fair shot, but you have lost my trust and confidence.

And Deputy Chief Long, congratulations in your retirement, our loss is the State of Connecticut's gain, sadly

Tuesday, September 24, 2019


It has taken several years to reach this point, but we are about to be reminded of the incompetence of former Hartford Fire Chief Carlos Huertas and Assistant Chief Scott Brady.

I think as a City we have become accustomed to the Hartford Fire Department being run properly under Chief Reggie Freeman, no major controversy, no daily embarrassing news stories, just a professionally run organization. That wasn't the case under former Chief Carlos Huertas .

Back in 2015, Captain Thomas Dalton was attacked at a fire scene by a subordinate, Lieutenant Michael Patterson. The ensuing Hartford Police investigation resulted in findings that Patterson was the aggressor and was at fault for the incident. The Hartford Police investigator for the incident actually pursued an arrest warrant for Patterson for his involvement .

Despite the fact that statements and the Police investigation appeared to substantiate that Patterson was the aggressor, the incompetent Fire Chief Huertas and Brady pursued disciplinary action against Captain Dalton.

While Patterson, the aggressor, received a two week suspension, Dalton, the victim of Patterson's aggression received a 3 month suspension.

Dalton subsequently filed a lawsuit against the City of Hartford , the Hartford Fire Department and Huertas and Brady.for the treatment and discipline.

That trial begins today before a jury in Hartford Superior Court, unless the City smartens up first and tries to minimize their losses before it hits the jury.

The original HPD arrest warrant application and incident reports are below. The actual lawsuit documents have been sealed on the judicial website while Jury selection was underway..

Bring your own popcorn, this should be more entertaining than a Hollywood comedy..

Dalton eventually retired in good standing as a District/Deputy Chief.. P:atterson is still employed by HFD Patterson Dalton Incident R... by kevinhfd on Scribd

Monday, September 23, 2019


A male teacher at the Achievement First Hartford High School has become the subject of an investigation by the Hartford Police Department. The investigation was begun after a 16 year old female student from the school,  made adults aware that she was having an ongoing sexual relationship with the male teacher. Because the teacher is in a position of authority over the student, by Connecticut State law it rises to the level of a sexual assault.

Apparently the male teacher has been placed on unpaid administrative suspension pending the outcome of the investigation.

The teacher has not been  named by HPD  and he is reportedly out of State at this time.

According to sources, HPD has not interviewed the teacher as of yet, but they do anticipate an interview tomorrow.

No information has been released by the Hartford Schools and HPD is expected to release more information as the investigation proceeds

Friday, September 13, 2019



Homicide of Ricardo Rivera - Hartford - October 21, 2015

Ricardo Rivera was shot to death in Hartford on October 21, 2015. The State of Connecticut is offering a reward of up to $50,000 for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the homicide of Ricardo Rivera, who was fatally shot in Hartford on October 21, 2015.

On that evening at 10:16 p.m., Hartford police were called to the area of 7 Cherry Street on a report of shots fired. The caller reported hearing three gunshots, saw a “man down” and a silver Acura leaving the area with three males in it.

Officers arriving on the scene found Mr. Rivera, age 19, suffering from a gunshot wound to the head. He was transported to the hospital where he died the next day. A second man also shot was taken to the hospital in a private vehicle before police arrived on the scene. He has since recovered from his injuries.
Only minimal evidence was recovered at the scene of the shootings and to date no witnesses have come forward.  Investigators are hopeful the reward may lead to a successful conclusion of the investigation.

Anyone with information about the homicide of Ricardo Rivera is asked to contact Hartford Police. Tips may be left anonymously at (860) 722-TIPS (8477)  or