`A Son Of Hartford Becomes A Hero Of Hartford,' Says Mayor Perez
July 13, 2006
By ANNIE TASKER, Courant Staff Writer
Louella Tate had five meetings she could have attended Wednesday evening. Instead, she elbowed her way into Hartford city hall's crowded, non-air-conditioned atrium to show her support for Daryl K. Roberts at his swearing in as the city's chief of police.
"He was raised in Hartford," said Tate, the archbishop of Hartford's Walk in the Light ministry. "He goes to church. He has a lot of good moral qualities, and the young people need a good role model."
The Hartford native officially became the city's 21st permanent police chief before a crowd of city officials, neighborhood activists and citizens. They chanted his name when Roberts, 47, turned to face them after he was sworn in. His wife pinned his new badge to his jacket, and the crowd cheered.
"This is a great night for Hartford," said Mayor Eddie A. Perez. "Tonight, a son of Hartford becomes a hero of Hartford."
Perez said Roberts, the son of a single mother, raised and educated in the city, has earned the respect and trust of the men and women in the police department in his 23 years as a public servant.
"He knows and understands you, the people of Hartford," said Perez. Roberts, he said, is a role model for the city's children. "When they see Roberts, they will see that dreams do come true."
In his remarks, Roberts said he wanted to work side by side with the board of education, strengthen the police department's relationship with the community, and work to improve the quality of life by making neighborhoods safer. He will lead a department of 440 sworn officers.
He thanked his mother, who was in the audience holding a large mixed bouquet. Roberts said his mother never let him consider himself disadvantaged as he was growing up. He also credited the city of his birth for his success. "I am here because Hartford, the place where I was born and raised, never let me down."
Roberts didn't stop short of crediting himself. "I believe the mayor has made an excellent choice," he said.
The new chief was swamped by supporters as he stepped off the stage and into the atrium.
"I'm very proud of him," said his daughter, Danielle, standing beside her father. "He was born to do it. He's going to make a great police chief." She declined to comment on whether the chief of police has a strict curfew for his children.
Outgoing Chief Patrick J. Harnett, who led the police department the past two years, sat beside the mayor onstage, but made no remarks during the ceremony. After the new chief, mayor and speakers filed off the stage, Harnett said he's looking forward to vacationing on the New Jersey shore with his family in a few weeks.
The New York City Police Department veteran will return to his home outside the city, where he said he'll have a lot of catching up to do after living away from home for two years.
"My wife will have a lot of `honey-do' jobs for me," he said.
Harnett said he's happy with the way the transition between chiefs was made. "Better things are coming for the community under his leadership," he said.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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