Mayor announces new police initiative
John DeStefano, Jr. City Of New Haven
Mayor PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Thursday Nov. 16, 2006
DESTEFANO ANNOUNCES PLAN TO RE-INVEST IN COMMUNITY POLICING AND BUILD LARGEST POLICE FORCE IN CONNECTICUT
COMMUNITY POLICING INITIATIVE WILL INCREASE POLICE FORCE BY 20% AND RESTORE WALKING BEATS
New Haven: Mayor John DeStefano today announced a major public safety initiative aimed at increasing police visibility, curbing violent crime among youth, and maintaining the City’s commitment to community based policing. Under DeStefano’s plan, over the next two years the City of New Haven will add more than 80 police officers and 26 civilian support personnel. These additions will increase the number of police officers by 20% - for a total of 490 - and make New Haven’s police department the largest it has been in recent history. The NHPD will also become the largest police department among Connecticut communities. Currently, Bridgeport has 415 police officers and Hartford has 420.
“Today we are making a renewed commitment to community policing,” said DeStefano. “Residents of New Haven will have the biggest, most visible, effective, and well trained police force in Connecticut. Our goal is to make New Haven the safest city in Connecticut.”
Over the last few years the number of officers and civilian personnel has fallen, due to early retirements and reductions in federal and state funding. Reductions in staffing levels have created challenges on the street and in support functions, such as the records room.
The DeStefano plan initially calls for 29 new police officers and 26 civilian support personnel this fiscal year, at a cost of $991,253. This funding request will be submitted to the Board of Aldermen Thursday evening.
“New Haven is a much safer city today that it was a decade ago,” said Mayor DeStefano. “We’ve cut crime 40% by investing in community policing, creating positive choices for our youth, and working with partners at the federal and state level. This year alone crime has been cut by 7%. Still, in the last few years the erosion of state and federal funding has created challenges for community policing.”
As part the plan, DeStefano detailed 6 public safety goals:
• Increase police manpower – more officers, consistent deployment in all districts, and adequate supervision
• Reinstitute problem solving model by district managers.
• Restore walking beats.
• Gain help of state and feds to reduce gun violence.
• Increase city investment in programs for youth.
• Use smart partners to reach the most troubled youth.
As part of the expanded youth outreach effort, the Mayor’s Youth Initiative will expand to six sites; offering safe, age-appropriate recreation homework assistance for six neighborhoods: Hill, Fair Haven, Dixwell, Newhallville, Dwight, and West Rock.
Mentor New Haven – which pairs mentors with youth at Open Schools and Youth @ Work sites – will work to sign up 200 more adult volunteers. The City will also continue to fund its youth employment program, which employed more than 1,200 teens this year.
The City of New Haven is also working with the Yale Child Study Center to understand the most troubled young people and tailor specific & effective interventions. This diagnostic initiative, which identifies youth most at risk, their common characteristics, and designs intervention strategies, will be announced by the end of 2006.
A new partnership with the Greater New Haven NAACP has also been formed. The pilot program, launched in September 2006, serves 100 of the most troubled, high-risk youth - ages 14-19.
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