Hartford city leaders gathered at a special meeting to discuss rising violence in the capitol city, Monday. Police Chief James Rovella told the city council that shootings have risen by 9 percent between this year and last. He pointed to a cutback in police resources as a possible reason.
“We did have to convert several of our beats to cars to avert the overtime, and we had to make several adjustments, including the reduction in staffing levels at the Shooting Task Force,” Rovella said.
Council President Shawn Wooden brought up the point that the police department used more overtime this summer than last fiscal year, despite a cutback in the budget.
Rovella also pointed to the issue of attrition. The police department is expected to lose up to 67 officers in the next 12 months. Only 30 officers are expected to join the force next April.
“I need one year to make a full time officer. I need three months of recruiting, I need six months of post training, and I need three months if he’s successful with a field training officer,” Rovella said.
Just last week, the city saw its 20th homicide this year. Going forward, council members said they are looking to work with the chief to curb the violence.