Hartford community members, officials meet to address concerns

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HARTFORD -- State and city leaders are coming together in Hartford Wednesday morning, to combat ongoing tensions between residents and law-enforcement personnel.

Wednesday morning at Hartford City Hall, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin, Chief of Police James C. Rovella, and other local community leaders will meet to talk about how to solve the issues of ongoing tensions between police and the black community.

This conversation comes after the controversial deaths of two men at the hands of police, one in Minnesota and one in Louisiana.  It’s also in response to the shooting deaths of five police officers in Dallas and another three in Baton Rouge.

An initial gathering focused on the issue took place in Hartford Tuesday evening.  That’s when Hartford’s Mayor and police chief, along with roughly 150 people got together to share ideas about community policing and what can be done to keep both law enforcement and the citizens safe at these tense times.

"I think the conversation has to be not just about law enforcement and not just about law enforcement and community and not just about community and policing - as important as all that is - I think the conversation has to be bigger,” Mayor Bronin said.

It’s expected that Wednesday’s meeting will address the challenges for police right now as well as how the trust between police and the people of the city can be improved.

The discussion will also explore ways in which federal resources and programs may assist this effort to encourage greater collaboration and cooperation.

After the morning’s initial meeting, Senator Blumenthal and city leaders will visit two local barbershops, one in the city’s north end and one in the south end, to keep that conversation going and here from people there about what they want to see changed.