NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — The New Haven Police Department is recruiting some new officers. This as the community continues to call for more programs and ways to curb violent crime in the city.
It’s no doubt a tough time to be on the police force, but recruiters are hoping to find young people who want things to change and will decide to be the change.
Over the weekend in the Elm City, 28-year-old Dayshon Smith was killed in a shooting incident that injured five others.
Smith was a family member of Darnell Goldson, a member of the New Haven Board of Education. Goldson says Smith was orphaned at “17 or 18” and “had to take responsibility for his two younger brothers…He never complained about having that responsibility.”
But the life of the local boxer with dreams of going pro was ended on a street corner in a mass shooting Saturday.
News 8 obtained the disturbing 911 calls as panicked people ran for cover.
“Did you see someone shot? A lot of bullets fired. I don’t know who’s been shot. There’s a big crowd 200 people here,” the caller tells the dispatcher.
Goldson wants Mayor Justin Elicker to do more to curb the violence in the city: “I don’t have the answers but I can tell you what, it’s his job to have the answers.”
The number of murders that have occurred in the city has more than doubled from this time last year.
Reverend Dr. Boise Kimber of First Calvary Baptist Church agrees, saying cuts to the police department means fewer officers on the street.
Both men want to see city hall focus on programs for young people, a push for economic growth, and jobs in corners of the city quickly filling with despair.
“Let’s talk about the real basic stuff,” Rev. Kimber said, “the basic needs that people need in this city. People need jobs…We need leadership in this city.”
One solution: New Haven police are adding to their ranks in one of its yearly recruitment drives.
Sergeant Dana Smith says he’s hoping the young people who want to see changes in policing will apply to work on it from the inside.
“You want the change? Be a part of it,” he said. “You’re from the community you can make a big difference because people will trust you.”
Another solution: city hall forging ahead with new solutions including a new crisis response team announced Tuesday.
Social workers and EMTs will respond to calls for addiction and verbal conflicts.
“I want police to be able to do the work that they’re trained to do: address criminal activity that threatens the wellbeing of our residents,” said Mayor Elicker.
If you are interested in becoming a New Haven police officer, you can apply online on policeapp.com/newhaven. You must be 21 years old, a U.S. citizen, and have a driver’s license.
New Haven residents who are applying must pay a $50 application fee, and applicants who live outside the Elm City must pay a $100 fee.
Applicants are also asked to read the New Haven Police officer applicant handbook before submitting their application.
Applications must be completed and submitted by Friday, Sept. 11.