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Chief Makes Business Presentation
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 safer.

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 policing efforts.

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 solve crimes.

"We try to develop this sense of urgency when dealing with crime by demanding relentless follow-up and assessment," Harnett said.

"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. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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