BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (WTNH) — Connecticut State Police started patrols Sunday night in Bridgeport after a wicked week of violence: three homicides and multiple people shot.
Lt. Brian Foley says the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection will have State Troopers from Bridgeport (Troop G) patrolling the streets on foot to increase visibility.
Foley told News 8 the Chief of Police and Mayor Joe Ganim collectively asked if CSP would be willing to step in and help patrol the area in response to the violence outbreak over the last week.
CSP officials say while the climate between communities and police has not been great, they want to help. They aren’t there to necessarily make arrests but show the community that they are there to support.
In this climate, Commissioner Rovella and Colonel Malékas aren’t looking for reasons to send their troopers into cities at this point but, at the same time, people are dying, people are being shot and how can you say ‘no’. So we were careful in selecting those who are going, they are those that are already in Bridgeport and we were careful in talking with them about their mission: safety and high visibility.– Lt. Brian Foley, CT Dept. of Emergency Services and Public Protection
Foley says it’s all about visibility.
“People are less likely to commit crimes right in front of a uniformed police officer than not, so the more uniformed police presence they have out in Bridgeport, the safer it will be,” he says.
Marc Donald is the Executive Director of the Regional Youth Adult Action Partnership in Bridgeport and tells News 8 he worries about how the extra patrols will be received in a community already on edge.
Bridgeport, like a lot of our communities, is very raw in terms of the impact of the pandemic, the George Floyd, Rayshard Brooks, and Ahmaud Arbery’s situation where police brutality has come to the forefront.
The whole concept behind community policing is to have a relationship and right now, that relationship with the Bridgeport Police Department is struggling, quite frankly, and to have State Troopers who the community isn’t familiar with on a human level presents a challenge.– Marc Donald/ Exec. Director RYAAP
State Police officials tell News 8 patrols began Sunday and they will likely reassess as to when they will pull back.