MetroHartford Alliance Hears Harnett's Policing Plan
March 9, 2005
By TINA A. BROWN, Courant Staff Writer
After weeks of presenting the city's new community policing operation
to hundreds of city residents directly affected by a recent wave
of violence, Hartford Police Chief Patrick J. Harnett was greeted
by a friendlier crowd Tuesday morning as he presented the same
plan to business leaders with an interest in making Hartford
Harnett was as polished as a politician. He had shed his uniform
blues for a fancy blue suit, fitting attire for the business
breakfast for members of the MetroHartford Alliance, a regional
chamber of commerce, at the Bushnell Center for the Performing
Arts in Hartford.
Although Harnett claimed once
more that the city's new plan is "no silver bullet," he said it is designed to energize "police
managers," who have been ordered to become more actively
involved when crimes occur. The plan, devised in part by Assistant
Chief Mark R. Pawlina and Deputy Police Chiefs Michael Fallon
and Daryl K. Roberts, separates the city into geographical zones
led by captains and lieutenants. Harnett also placed his stamp
on the plan based on his 40 years of police experience, watching
police tactics evolve over time, he said.
Harnett used a screen presentation to demonstrate how the city
has become safer over the eight months he has served as police
chief. He cited figures showing that violent crimes and property
crimes have dipped, despite the uptick of violence in February
that claimed the lives of two teenagers.
"The last couple of weeks have been tough weeks," Harnett
said. "There are tragic, tragic circumstances. [Yet] we
have to look at the glass as half full" because overall
crime has declined, he said.
To control crime, Harnett
said, the city has to start to believe in the abilities of
its police force. "Cops do matter," Harnett
said, quoting a popular police slogan used to advocate his community
The new plan calls for police captains and lieutenants to be
closely involved in studying crimes in specific neighborhoods,
to use their expertise to help the department spot patterns and
"We try to develop this sense of urgency when dealing with
crime by demanding relentless follow-up and assessment," Harnett
"It's working." Harnett
said the plan was implemented a month ago.
Public safety is of concern
to executives such as Andy F. Bessette, vice president and
chief administrative officer for St. Paul Travelers, who said
before Harnett's talk that his company wants to be assured
that its employees can work in Hartford "without
fear" when they go to their cars, to ballgames and other
events held at night.
"The company's commitment is strong and getting stronger," Bessette
said, adding that no one in the corporation wants to move the
5,000 employees from Hartford. "We have no intentions to
empty out Travelers Tower. ... It's so important to improve the
business climate for our employees that work here."
But establishing a safe city is key, Bessette said. If the employers
don't feel safe, there won't be growth, he said.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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