HARTFORD — — City police Chief Daryl K. Roberts, whose four-year contract expired July 13, has been reappointed to his position. The appointment, which expires Dec. 31, 2011, includes an annual salary of $156,800. Roberts did not receive a raise.
Mayor Pedro Segarra said Thursday that he made the decision to appoint Roberts after the two had a series of meeting to discuss his vision for the department and coming to the conclusion that "we will be able to accomplish those things."
Segarra said that his vision includes working with Capital Community College to develop new police degree programs that focus on the "human side" of police work for current and future officers. He said that he would also like to see a similar degree program for firefighters. Segarra said the city and the department need to focus on youth initiatives and take a hard look at drug crime and domestic violence. He also said communication between the department and the mayor's office needs to improve.
"Not that it's been poor," he said.
When asked if any of the discussions centered on recent misbehavior by some officers, including the retirement of an officer caught on videotape assaulting a prisoner or the ongoing internal investigation of Officer Hector Robles, Segarra said the two did not discuss specific incidents.
Roberts is also being sued by a city police lieutenant who accused him and Assistant Chief Lester McKoy of maintaining a hostile work environment by making constant homophobic remarks.
"We had a general conversation about improving service delivery, improving the overall product," Segarra said.
Segarra also praised Roberts for his management of the department in his first four years as chief.
"He has a big love for this city and our kids," he said.
Roberts said Thursday that he would have liked to have been given a longer term but understood that Segarra wanted it to expire with his own term as mayor.
"No matter who is the mayor, if I'm doing a good job it won't make a difference," Roberts said. "I'm going to continue to serve the city as long as it will have me."
Roberts said he was proud of the department's progress under his leadership, especially in the area of community policing.
As for the lack of a raise, Roberts said he asked for one, which was denied, but added that he understood, given the city's financial crisis.
"I'm just trying to help out," Roberts said, adding that he was happy that his employment status was no longer a distraction.
""It's important for the department to know there is stability at the top," he said.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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