As someone who was born in and grew up in Hartford, I have experienced firsthand the blessings and challenges of the city. As a law enforcement official, I take my responsibility very personally and feel passionately about my commitment to serve the public.
Events of the past month have brought national attention to Hartford, and raised questions about our city's integrity. Some of the crimestatistics that currently define our city have prompted some to declare us without hope. In fact, some interpreted my own words as an indictment of Hartford.
Let me be clear: I believe in the people of Hartford. The people in this city have raised, supported and empowered me to lead our police department. Given that charge, I will do whatever is within my power to protect them.
As the events of last several weeks unfolded, I've been reminded of one of the most important lessons the city has taught me — to rise above. The Torres, Carbone and other families have shown they know this lesson as well. I wish with all my heart they hadn't had to do so under these circumstances — incidents that should not and will not be tolerated by the Hartford Police Department.
As a whole, our community must take the same stance. We must come together and rise above the naysayers and those few who live without laws in our city, negatively affecting the quality of life for all of us.
Too often, some members of our community choose not to assist the police when crime occurs — out of a sense of loyalty, bravado, indifference or fear.
The last reason seems to be the dominant factor, and one that is difficult to reverse. However, by continuing to build on our community policing efforts, it is my hope that the people of Hartford will see this as their police department, one that exists to serve them and ensure their safety through strong relationships.
Last week, we announced the advent of Crimestoppers, a collaboration of business, community and law enforcement designed to provide a structured vehicle to help solve crime. Working with our judicial system, we will continue to enhance our efforts to get guns off our streets and out of the hands of young people. Last but not least, we will reinforce those partnership initiatives that strengthen families and promote nonviolent conflict resolution.
None of these steps can occur successfully without community input and support. The men and women of the Hartford Police Department are part of Hartford's fabric, and we stand united in our commitment to the city and its residents, business partners and visitors. I ask all of you to stand with us and rebuild and restore our city's promise.
Daryl K. Roberts is chief of the Hartford Police Department.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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