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Police Reorganizing Two Major Divisions
City Plan Recalls Community Policing Of 1990s

January 22, 2005
By TINA A. BROWN, Courant Staff Writer

After seven months on the job, Hartford Police Chief Patrick J. Harnett announced a reorganization plan of the department's patrol and narcotics divisions Friday. The plan places high-ranking commanders in charge of specific neighborhoods.

The plan, which will divide the city into four districts, was developed after the department looked at the 167,480 calls for police services last year, and the fact that residents are clamoring for an accountable community policing system, Harnett said.

Under the new plan, which resembles a community policing model used in the mid-1990s, the department will place more responsibilities on deputy chiefs, captains and lieutenants who will be responsible for specific neighborhoods. Those commanders will continue to work out of police headquarters on Jennings Road, Harnett said.

The patrol division, now called the Community Services Bureau, will be headed by Assistant Chief Andrew Rosenzweig, who joined the force last year after serving in Providence and New York City. Deputy Chief Daryl K. Roberts will take command of the northwest and northeast sections. Deputy Chief Michael J. Fallon will take charge of the southwest and southeast sections.

Harnett said the reorganization plan is phase one of the administration's shakeup in the department. Other major divisions, such as investigations and support services, will continue to be headed by Assistant Chiefs Mark Pawlina and Lester McKoy. Harnett did not specify what the other changes will be.

Both deputy chiefs Fallon and Roberts were appointed last year by Harnett. They grew up in Hartford, served on the force for about two decades and developed the reorganization plan announced Friday, Harnett said.

According to city records, the northeast district had the most calls for police services last year, with 52,460 calls; followed by the southeast district, which had 42,073 calls. The southwest section had 40,251 calls vs. 32,696 calls reported in the northwest section, Rosenzweig said.

Harnett said he hopes that once it is implemented Feb. 6, the new plan will result in reduced crime, more satisfied residents and quicker response times. By permanently assigning staff to certain neighborhoods, Harnett said, "we are changing the rules and the way we do business."

Mayor Eddie A. Perez, who announced the plan with Harnett on Friday, said "this [plan] increases the accountability of every officer in every neighborhood. Police and residents will own crime in their neighborhoods."

It was unclear Friday which lieutenants and captains will report directly to Roberts and Fallon. Many of the appointments of sworn patrol, narcotics and community officers are contingent upon next week's scheduling lottery, in which officers ask for specific shifts.

Other appointments will be made, Harnett said, once the department promotes new sergeants, lieutenants and captains. It could take a year before the reorganization plan is fully operational, Harnett said.

One of the major changes calls for lieutenants to replace community service officers who normally address specific neighborhood complaints, Harnett said. The plan also calls for narcotics, patrol officers, detectives and sergeants to be assigned to the four districts.

Neighborhood leaders, who had asked repeatedly for a change in community policing, had mixed responses to Friday's announcement.

Hyacinth Yennie, president of the Maple Avenue Neighborhood Revitalization Zone, which is in the city's south district, said she is happy that the plan calls for more accountability of commanders.

"At least someone is accountable," Yennie said. "I am happy, but how many years have we had a plan and it hasn't worked? We'll wait and see."

Yennie said that she hopes that the plan means that more officers will be walking the streets and will be more visible. Otherwise, she said, she won't support the plan. "I'm looking for someone who is going to be interacting with the neighborhood."

Steve Harris, a former councilman who lives in Hartford's North End, said he is pleased that Roberts will be commanding the north district. And he is also happy that Harnett is putting decision-makers into neighborhoods.

"There's nothing more frustrating than having someone at a meeting who can't make decisions," he said. "I find Daryl Roberts to be probably one of the most thorough officers in that department. He has practiced community policing all of his career."

"As long as I know that Daryl is at the top of that chain, the officers will be responsible. Daryl sets the tone," Harris said.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
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