HARTFORD – The Hartford Police Department came face-to-face with the community after a contentious summer.
The city council and residents questioned top brass on trust in its officers.
The public meeting lasted over four hours and the first half was a Q&A between the council members and the Police Chief David Rosado. Some sided with the officers while others said they still fear them.
Chief Rosado and Assistant Chief Rafael Medina sat down on a table facing the committee as a whole and went into detail the PowerPoint that was put together.
Rosado said the number of complaints against Hartford officers has gone down over the years. In 2014, there were 126 complaints. This year, there has only been 43 so far, proof Rosado said the “culture is improving.”
Councilman Thomas J. Clarke III brought up diversity and why he felt like it is lacking within the department.
“Explain why we have zero black captains, zero black lieutenants, zero black chiefs that have been promoted during this recent round of 43?” said Clarke III.
Rosado responded back by saying his department is diverse.
“We have a very diverse department. Do we have room for improvement? Absolutely we do, but remember I can only pick from the candidates that actually apply,” said Rosado.
Councilwoman Claudine Fox read through a list of questions and she asked what happens if an officer refuses to show his badge number. Rosado replied by saying that should never happen.
As council members hounded the chief with questions looking for facts and figures, Rosado stood up for his men.
“Let’s not lose sight of the fact that there are times when they`re attacked physically, verbally, you name it. They’re spit at,” said Rosado .
After three hours of Q&A, public comment began.
Hartford resident Kamora Herrington expressed her fear when she is confronted by a Hartford officer.
“If we don`t understand that someone showing up in one of those uniforms might possibly make me feel not okay, clearly we need to continue having these conversations,” said Herrington of Hartford.
Meanwhile, well-known neighborhood activist Hyacinth Yennie said people should try putting themselves in the officers’ shoes.
“This new chief come along and he continue to work with our residents in the city. Yeah. Not all of us are going to want to work with our officers but you know what I`ve learned over the 40 years I`ve been involved in this city? Working with some department or whoever it may be,” said Yennie of Hartford.