Hartford residents meet with leaders, police to improve community-police relations

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HARTFORD--Strengthening communication and understanding between police and the community is a top priority for many departments nationwide at the moment, and as been the point of roundtable discussions in Connecticut.

Wednesday, that critical dialogue happened in Hartford where police, residents and elected officials came together.

Hartford residents were able to have a conversation with Police Chief James Rovella, Senator Richard Blumenthal and Mayor Luke Bronin in the city’s North End at the Pro Style Barber Shop on Main Street.

The healthy dialogue centered around how to bridge gaps between police, government and residents in the capital city.

Earlier in the day, a roundtable discussion was held to open up the lines of communication between leaders.

"We need to engage our communities more, with very, very frank conversation,” said Chief Rovella, "I have a great group of police officers that want to perform their duties to the highest level."

Hartford police embrace community policing, but are dealing with a lack of resources, the city's financial hardship and a shortage of officers.

"In order for police officers to be out of their cars, walking the beat, and shaking hands, and visiting schools and being officer friendly and all of those essential elements of community policing, we need to have enough officers that they can not just be responding to calls,” said Mayor Bronin.

Wednesday’s discussion was productive, and one everyone would like to continue.

"I think there needs to be more,” said Hartford City Council President TJ Clarke. “It's about addressing the elephant that is in the room."

"I hope what's gone on in other parts of the United States never happens here, but it's good that we're trying to get ahead of that,” said Gail Hardy, the state’s attorney for Hartford County.

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