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Task Force To Focus On City's Gun Crime

More Officers Will Be Put On The Street

By Jenna Carlesso

July 02, 2011

State and local law enforcement officials will work together to quell gun violence in the city, which has had 17 homicides so far this year.

City and state police, representatives from the Chief State's Attorney's Office and Hartford State's Attorney's Office and the Department of Correction will form a task force to investigate recent shooting cases in the city.

Officers from the East Hartford, West Hartford and Manchester police departments will also assist.

Mayor Pedro Segarra said he asked Gov. Dannel P. Malloy to help gather resources for the effort.

"The people who work, live and visit Hartford must feel safe," Segarra said at a press conference Friday in the city's North End. "We cannot reach a level of economic success if we are not a safe city."

Juliet Manalan, a spokeswoman for Malloy, said the governor is "very aware" of the challenges facing the city and "encouraged the city-state partnership to help address the problem of gun violence."

The 17 homicides in the city this year surpasses the pace for the same period last year, when 11 occurred. In addition, the city has had 70 shootings this year, compared with 64 at the same point in 2010.

Hartford State's Attorney Gail Hardy said Friday that she felt "concern and near outrage" over the city's gun violence.

"Law enforcement has an obligation to its residents not just to sit back and count victims," she said, "but to take some affirmative action."

City officials said they could not disclose all of the details and duties of the task force for security reasons, but said measures will be taken to avoid future shootings.

Asked if the effort would include more officers on the street, Hartford police Chief Daryl K. Roberts replied: "You will see a stronger police presence."

This is not the first time the city has teamed up with state officials. Three years ago, Segarra said, the city formed a shooting task force that included Hartford detectives, the Department of Correction, state police and inspectors from the Chief State's Attorney's Office and the Hartford State's Attorney's Office.

That effort yielded 72 arrests and helped police build cases on others who were already incarcerated.

"The results in the past have been very good and we hope it'll be very good with this one," Chief State's Attorney Kevin Kane said.

City officials also announced Friday that a new camera system called "ShotSpotter" would be implemented in neighborhoods that have experienced the highest concentrations of gun violence.

Whenever a gun is fired in areas with the sensor equipment, the sound is captured, located geographically and communicated to a command post for analysis, which cuts down police response time.

"For the next year we will measure the success of this tool through various metrics and qualitative analysis and expand if necessary through the addition of coverage area or augmenting with cameras," Segarra said.

The city used $150,000 from its emergency services fund to pay for the camera system.

Roberts encouraged residents to tell police information about crimes. Residents may call the city's anonymous tip line at 860-722-8477.

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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