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OBAMA ADMINISTRATION ACKNOWLEDGES CITY OF HARTFORD COMMUNITY POLICING EFFORTS

(May 19, 2015) The Obama Administration has named Hartford as one of 10 cities that have made “real progress” in community policing since the December 2014 launch of the 21st Century Policing Task Force, charged with examining how to foster strong relationships between local law enforcement and the communities they serve. The White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs (IGA), acknowledged the City of Hartford’s newly announced Public Safety Initiative, a collaborative effort to recruit young Hartford residents into public safety careers. The City of Hartford’s Public Safety Initiative directly addresses several recommendations outlined in a final report by the task force, including to:

  • Proactively promote public trust by initiating positive non-enforcement activities
  • Strive to create a workforce that contains a broad range of diversity
  • Collaborate to develop policies and strategies in communities disproportionately affected by crime
  • Embrace a guardian mindset to build public trust and legitimacy

The initiative is one component of Hartford’s community policing efforts including Project Longevity, Community Conversations, the Police Athletic League and several faith-based initiatives.

“We consider the Public Safety Initiative to be a long-term solution, one that also addresses the challenge of unemployment by preparing our young students for careers in public safety. We also need to continue policing ourselves, and create as many opportunities for positive interactions with our law enforcement as possible.  The more we work together the safer our City will be,” said Mayor Pedro E. Segarra.

“The City of Hartford isn’t just creating a program; it is establishing legislation to ensure future administrations guide young residents toward careers in public safety for years to come. This is a model that deserves national attention,” Councilman Kenneth H. Kennedy, Jr., said.

“Community policing is something we have been working on for years. The more people involved in our efforts, the stronger our police department will be and the better our City will be,” said Police Chief James C. Rovella. 

“Our initiative is an innovative approach to community policing. We’re helping Hartford residents find employment while simultaneously helping our police and fire departments reflect the communities they serve,” said Council President Shawn T. Wooden.

The City’s Public Safety Initiative has four components; outreach and recruitment, a five-week summer program for a minimum of 45 students, an extended year program and a post-secondary program. An ordinance establishing the initiative was referred to the Quality of Life and Public Safety Committee by the City Council.

For more information on the “10 Cities Making Real Progress Since the Launch of the 21st Century Policing Task Force,” click here.

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CITY OF HARTFORD ANNOUNCES PARK STREET IMPROVEMENT PROJECT, ROAD ACCESS WILL BE LIMITED

(May 13, 2015) The City of Hartford today announced that Park Street is being repaved between Main Street and Park Terrace starting May 17 through May 27. Segments of the street will be closed to motorists and to parking from 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. during construction, although sidewalks will be accessible. The areas under construction will be made clear through signage and barriers and police officers will direct traffic.

The Department of Public Works is collaborating with the Spanish American Merchants Association (SAMA) to inform Park Street businesses and landlords of the construction schedule. Depending on the schedule, deliveries to certain businesses will have to be arranged during daytime hours and Park Street residents must  plan for off-street overnight parking since there will be no access to any vehicles during the 12-hour construction periods. 

“We’re working with SAMA in order to communicate how this project will proceed in order to prepare businesses, visitors and residents on the street to reduce the inconvenience to them, that’s really critical,” said Jeff Coughlin, Project Manager, Department of Public Works.

Anyone with questions can call SAMA at 860-278-5825 or City of Hartford at 311 or (860)757-9311.

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MAYOR SEGARRA JOINS MORE THAN 80 MUNICIPALITIES NATIONWIDE CALLING ON CONGRESS TO FULLY FUND INFRASTRUCTUE PROJECTS

(May 13, 2015) Today, Mayor Pedro E. Segarra joined New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Mayor Mick Cornett of Oklahoma City, in a bipartisan effort of the U.S. Conference of Mayors urging Congress to renew long term federal funding for transportation infrastructure. The current federal transportation authorization bill, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), is set to expire on May 31st. Mayor Segarra and a coalition of more than 80 mayors from across the country joined the national Infrastructure Week effort, which highlights the critical importance of investing in and modernizing America’s infrastructure systems. Specifically, the mayors are pressing for increased, long-term resources with more locally directed funding to address the growing needs in cities where populations are steadily rising.

“Investing in our highways, roads, bridges, railways and other infrastructure systems is crucial for the safety of commuters who depend daily on these networks and it’s crucial to our ability to continue to grow economically competitive economies,” said Mayor Segarra.

In addition to mayors, a broad coalition of transportation providers, businesses, labor organizations, transportation system users, state partners and others are calling on Congress to pass a long-term transportation bill that increases investments in our transportation infrastructure. On the national level, a new analysis from American Public Transportation Association shows that more than $227 billion in economic productivity is at risk over the next six years without long-term federal investment in transit.

The nation faces a $160 billion backlog just to bring public transit and road systems into a state of good repair. The lack of a long-term federal funding bill creates local funding uncertainty, which jeopardizes infrastructure project planning and discourages private sector investment. The lack of a commitment on the federal level stifles local business investment and job creation in our city and nationwide.  

Federal investment has not kept pace with demand, resulting in an outdated, overburdened surface transportation system that is ill-equipped to handle current, let alone future, needs. Across the United States, our public transit maintenance needs exceed $77 billion, and the nation’s bridge backlog alone is an estimated $121 billion. The Highway Trust Fund, which funds most highway and transit spending, is almost depleted and the federal government is struggling to maintain the status quo, much less make new investments.

To learn more about Infrastructure Week, please visit: infrastructureweek.org

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MAYOR SEGARRA AND CITY COUNCIL ANNOUNCE NEW INITIATIVE TO INCREASE THE NUMBER OF HARTFORD RESIDENTS WORKING IN HARTFORD POLICE AND FIRE DEPARTMENTS

(May 12, 2015) Today, Mayor Pedro E. Segarra, along with the City Council, formally announced a new Public Safety Initiative intended to increase the number of Hartford residents with public safety careers in the City. The primary goal of the proposed initiative is to hire more residents in the Hartford Police Department by creating pathways for young people to the Police Academy, but elements of the initiative would also prepare residents for careers in firefighting and emergency medical response.

The City developed the initiative with help from the Hartford Police Department and the Capitol Region Education Council (CREC), which has experience running a summer program for students from the CREC Public Safety Academy and the Law & Government Academy at Hartford Public High School. The Public Safety Initiative would incorporate CREC's existing summer program and would add new components to reach Hartford students during the school year and beyond high school.  

The initiative calls for four programs:

  • Outreach and recruitment campaigns to inform Hartford residents of the Public Safety Initiative and recruit them as participants. 
  • A five-week summer program for at least 45 high school students from Hartford who have expressed an interest in public safety careers. The program shall include placement in Hartford Police and Fire Departments, training in first aid and CPR, physical fitness, team building and experience with practical law enforcement skills.
  • An extended year program offering mentoring, counseling and stipends during the school year for students who participated in the summer program. 
  • A post-secondary program offering mentoring, counseling, tuition assistance, stipends for books and activities between semesters for students attending colleges or high school graduates who plan to pursue a career in law enforcement. In addition, the program will prepare individuals for exams to enter the Police Academy and to apply for other public safety jobs.

The post-secondary program would fill a gap in support and services between high school and the age of 21, the age requirement to take an exam for admission to the Hartford Police Academy. The Police Cadet Program will continue to be an option for young people ages 18 to 24 and 50 percent of slots in the Police Cadet Program will be made available to participants in the Public Safety Initiative. The age requirement to take the exam for admission to the Fire Academy is 18.

“I’m proud to be announcing this new initiative, the benefits of which are twofold. It will support and guide Hartford residents toward fulfilling careers and it will help the Hartford Police and Fire Departments build stronger relationships with the community,” said Mayor Segarra. “I would like to thank CREC and the City Council for their help and input in creating this initiative, as well as all of our partners who will help us make this a reality in Hartford.”

“I’m happy to see that as a City we are able to address the long overdue issues that affect the Vaughn v. Cintron decree. I am also very pleased that we have established a pipeline for City residents to become public safety officials. This is very monumental for the City of Hartford to be able address the disparities of Hartford residents as it pertains to obtaining such jobs,” said City Councilman Kyle K. Anderson.

“Creating a pipeline for Hartford residents to careers in public safety is one of the most important pieces of legislation this Council and this Mayor will implement," said Councilman Kenneth H. Kennedy, Jr. “This will positively impact our City long-term. I look forward to the program growing and expanding and witnessing its success for years to come.” 

"When we provide our youth with a head start towards a career in public safety, it increases their chances of success. Our hope is that when more of Hartford’s youth pursue a law enforcement career in our city, the stronger our police department will be, and in the long term, the better our City will be,” said Police Chief James C. Rovella.

“This is nothing less than very bold and courageous move by the leadership in our city today. The Mayor and Council have earned the right to know they are moving toward a proactive position. We will save, change and restore hope in our city. This value-driven policy is a national model for other municipalities to follow,” said Pastor Sam Saylor.

"What's most appealing about this program from an educational standpoint is that it permits our students to see a very direct connection between schooling and future employment," said Hartford Superintendent Beth Schiavino-Narvaez. "Hartford also stands out as a community where residents and public safety officials work hand-in-hand to contribute to the city's growth."

“Under the leadership of Mayor Segarra and the City Council, this initiative will improve diversity in Hartford Fire, something that benefits the department and the community as a whole,” said Hartford Fire Chief Carlos Huertas. “I welcome all Hartford residents who aspire to be firefighters in our department and look forward to helping them reach their goals.”

“CREC is very pleased to be working collaboratively on this project with the Hartford Police and Fire Departments as well as Capital Work Force Partners.  During our first pilot year we saw tremendous growth for our Hartford teens and the development of mutual respect and appreciation between the students and our police and fire officers,” said Tim Nee, Assistant Executive Director at CREC.

Jahmeelah Bai-Grandson, Principal at Law & Government Academy said, "We have seen tremendous growth in our scholars involved in the Hartford Youth Public Safety Program. They have learned, first hand, the dedication and hard work that it takes to enter careers in law enforcement and public safety. Our scholars are excited about continuing their training and learning." 

On Monday, the City Council referred an ordinance establishing the Public Safety Initiative to the Quality of Life and Public Safety Committee. It will go to public hearing on May 18. Once approved by the City Council, the Public Safety Initiative will be implemented by CREC under the direction of the City. Other partners include Capital Workforce Partners, the Greater Hartford YMCA and Boys & Girls Clubs and the Police Athletic League. The Summer Youth Employment Program will move forward as part of the Hartford Public Safety Initiative with 46 Hartford residents who attend either the Law & Government Academy at Hartford Public High School or the CREC Public Safety Academy.

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