CT police chiefs say self-assessment, outreach key to rebuilding community trust amid Chauvin guilty verdicts


HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — While the jury decided the fate of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin this week, many say they feel the trial on American policing has only just begun.

“I don’t think anyone looked at that video and that situation and thought it was right,” said Chief Jason Thody, of the Hartford Police Department.

RELATED: Activists, city leaders in New Haven react to Chauvin guilty verdicts

Chief Thody said, like many across the country and around the world, he watched Chauvin’s trial unfold in Minnesota. On Tuesday, Chauvin was found guilty on all three counts in George Floyd’s murder.

“With this one, it was clear to all of us,” explained Chief Thody.

Chief Thody said Floyd’s death sparked conversation and prompted change as the nation called for greater police accountability and reform.

“It provided an opportunity for us to be open, to look at our policy, to look at our training, to explain why we think things are different here, why we think that wouldn’t be the outcome here,” said Chief Thody.

RELATED: New Haven police launch program to avoid police violence

Police chiefs News 8 spoke with this week said self-assessment and outreach are key to rebuilding trust.

“What can we do to be part of the change?” asked Acting Chief Renee Dominguez, of the New Haven Police Department. “How can we work alongside the community, as we’ve done this entire time? And to make something positive out of this tragedy?”

Many departments have taken steps to bolster their training. In New Haven, police had de-escalation training this week.

In Waterbury, police have increased their training as well – putting an emphasis on the community.

“We cannot, as police officers, do our job without the support of the community,” said Chief Fernando Spagnolo, of the Waterbury Police Department. “We feel it’s very important to have an open line of communication with our community members to understand what their concerns are, and what they’re feeling, and take that into account as we serve our city.”

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