Lamont says ‘more cops on the beat’ will help solve juvenile justice issues; Republicans call him ‘tone-deaf’

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HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Crimes involving teens seem to be escalating.

Republicans want mandatory fingerprinting, GPS monitoring, and automatic transfer to adult court
for repeat violent offenders.

But the Governor says “more cops on the beat” is the answer.

Marlborough Director of Public Safety Jay Kehoe told a crowd at a Safe Streets CT community meeting that they are “seeing a lot of predatory behavior.”

Residents are pushing policymakers for change.

“We need intervention, so that young criminals do not become adult criminals,” said John Porriello from Safe Streets CT.

⦁ In June, a New Britain marathon runner was allegedly struck and killed by a teen driving a stolen car
⦁ In August, a Wethersfield woman was carjacked in broad daylight outside a bakery in Rocky Hill
⦁ This month, a West Hartford victim was carjacked outside the post office in the middle of the day

Most recently in Marlborough last Saturday night, police say a 64-year-old woman was robbed at gunpoint and thrown into the back of her own car. A bag was put over her head and she was beaten and driven to Berlin, where she was thrown out of the car, according to police.

Authorities say the criminals set the stolen vehicle on fire. One of the alleged assailants glaring at a surveillance camera was captured in a photo while he uses the victim’s ATM card.

Police have not identified him yet.

“I think the most important thing, let’s see how getting people back to school, see if that makes a difference [and] gets those kids off the street. There [have] been a lot of high school age kids that haven’t been in school for a long time,” Gov. Lamont told reporters Tuesday.

Two days later, he signaled to city and town leaders that they should use federal dollars to solve the problem.

“I’d like to think that those who need to shore up their police force will use that money to get more cops on the beat,” Lamont said.

Republicans pounced. In a statement to News 8, House Minority Leader Vin Candelora said the following:

“The concept of simply telling towns to use federal pandemic money to beef up their police forces shows just how tone-deaf the governor is on the issue of juvenile crime…”

“Connecticut residents who are understandably frustrated by state government’s inaction on this crisis will view that as total surrender. If he’s simply going to throw money at this issue, the governor should use some of those federal dollars to create a compensation fund for victims who have had their vehicles stolen or their property damaged because the path he’s talking about will do nothing to curb the behavior of criminals who clearly feel like they can get away with anything.”

Juvenile Justice Oversight Committee members say a recent policy change in sharing teen criminal records has resulted in “three requests.”

“Protocol is out, the form is out there… police departments know about it,” said Gary Roberg from the State Judicial Branch.

State Police told News 8 Major Crimes is looking to see if the Marlborough incident is “part of a pattern.” No arrests have been made. The victim is recovering.

Juvenile justice matters are not on the agenda for the special legislative session scheduled for the end of the month.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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