on City Police Surfaces Some Say They Weren’t Given Ilg’s
November 12, 2004
By OSHRAT CARMIEL , Courant
It is a city document that has an air of mystery about it --
not because of what's in it, but because so few people have been
able to get it.
A $270,000 consultant report on
Hartford's police and finance departments has been guarded by
the mayor's office with a secrecy more understandable for the
Members of the city council say they never got a copy. So do
activists and spending critics who wonder why the council hired
a new consultant for the police department for $120,000 last
month, while this report, by former City Manager Albert G. Ilg,
never even got a public viewing.
In the end, Ilg's February 2004 report, which filtered out this
week, is less a bombshell than it is a compilation of common
sense management tips. It calls for decentralizing the police
department into several neighborhood districts; suggests higher
education standards for police officers; and theorizes that a
well-organized department could -- and this may be sacrilege
-- better police the city with far less staffing than it currently
And the report includes another finding: $2.4 million of lost
Ilg and his co-workers at Management Resources LLC uncovered
that amount sitting as unused balances from long-completed --
or never started -- capital projects, some dating back to 1979.
Many of those projects have been closed since Ilg's final report
was published, Finance Director Thomas Morrison said.
And so the louder whispering and
guessing has been about Ilg's police recommendations, especially
now that the council has approved a new police consulting contract,
this time with The Gordon Wasserman Group LLC, which is pledging
to improve "the efficiency and effectiveness'' of the police
As a result, Ilg's write-up, titled "Police Report for the
City of Hartford,'' has now become a must-have among the city's
Councilman Kenneth H. Kennedy, who sits on the council's public
safety committee, doesn't have it. He went so far as to send
city lawyers a formal freedom of information request to get it.
"People had not seen that report. [The council] did not get
a copy of the report,'' he said. "If we paid the amount of money
that we have, then we should get a chance to look at it.''
A reporter asking for it was told she would get it -- as soon
as officials could find it. They eventually did.
Carmen M. Rodriguez, a member of the police department's firearms
discharge board of inquiry, got her long-awaited copy Wednesday.
"I was having a hard time getting it and that was very difficult
to accept,'' she said. "I don't know why. Why?''
Matt Hennessy, chief of staff to Mayor Eddie A. Perez, didn't
shed much light on it. He lauded the report as a valuable tool
that has been given to recently hired Police Chief Patrick J.
Harnett, and other decision-makers, to use at their discretion.
"My recollection was that it was distributed to council members,''
he said. "I specifically remember that. We've asked the chief
to take a look at it. So the issues that have been raised in
this report the chief has been made aware of.''
The mayor, Hennessy said, "hasn't taken a full position on
it,'' though he disagrees with Ilg's assertion that the number
of police personnel is not related to the amount of crime.
For all its secrecy, shades of Ilg's recommendations have cropped
up publicly -- in the city's contract negotiations with the police
union and in a recent neighborhood cleanup initiative announced
by the mayor.
Ilg's key recommendation is this: Divide the city's police department
into five, six or eight neighborhood precincts. These precincts
would include police officers, rodent inspectors and housing
inspectors who could respond to many of the quality-of-life calls
that often go to police and slow down their response to other
serious crimes and reduce their ability to become familiar with
the community they cover. Dealing with the nuisances -- boarding
up abandoned buildings and picking trash up from the street --
could also help reduce crime, Ilg theorized.
"There are not enough police officers, courts or jails for
the Hartford police department to arrest the community out of
crime,'' reads the report. "Reducing crime requires reducing
the causes for crime.''
The city appears to be taking that cue. City hall is insisting
on creating a precinct system in its contract talks with the
police department, said police union lawyer Frank Szilagyi. That
matter is actually a sticking point in the contract talks, Szilagyi
said, because the city offered no specifics on how those districts
would work or how many there would be. He's never seen a copy
of Ilg's report.
The mayor also mirrors the report in his recently announced
"quality of life initiative.'' That plan will dispatch bands
of city inspectors to two different neighborhoods in a synchronized
attempt to combat blight.
Ilg's report makes other recommendations:
He updated the qualifications for police department jobs, the
descriptions of which have not been revised since the 1950s.
A key change: recommending that all sergeants, lieutenants and
captains have bachelor's degrees.
He also suggested -- although Ilg says this is a minor point
in the report -- that the city police force could get by with
about 323 police officers, down from its current authorized force
of 420. A shortage of officers was a frequent lament by the previous
police chief, Bruce P. Marquis, who was chief during the time
Ilg conducted the study.
The report says that number mirrors the staffing levels in cities
of similar size and scope to Hartford.
"Although there are often calls for more police, we found that
in Hartford, there has been no correlation between the numbers
of officers and the number of major crimes,'' Ilg wrote in an
addendum to the report.
Ilg said he is curious about whether the city will take on any
of his recommendations. Though in the end, he said, they are
just recommendations from a guy who is an expert in management,
not necessarily police.
"This was a management study from a civilian point of view,''
Former City Manager Albert G. Ilg's report:
* Recommends dividing city into five or six precincts staffed
by police and city inspectors.
* Says police brass should be required to have bachelor's degrees.
* Concludes crime rate not necessarily related to number of
* Suggests city could get by with nearly 100 fewer cops.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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