News release from City Council President Aidee Nieves:
City Council President Aidee Nieves announces today the formation of a multi-stakeholder, working team to identify public safety innovations. During a summer of protests in support of racial justice, the City Council heard from residents and made a commitment to pursue new approaches to public safety. The newly formed Bridgeport Public Safety Collaborative will spearhead this effort.
“We heard from the public and had many conversations with residents over the past few months and it is clear that our community is calling on us to re-examine how we approach public safety in the City of Bridgeport,” said Nieves. “We know that change is needed, but the Council cannot do this alone. We need the help of stakeholders at all levels to identify solutions and generate ideas that will lead to lasting change.”
The Collaborative began its work in mid-November and will continue through March, meeting approximately every two weeks. Their goal is to produce a series of policy recommendations for public safety innovations customized to the Bridgeport community. The working team consists of a diverse cross-section of Bridgeport stakeholders including:
• City Council President Aidee Nieves
• Councilman and Co-Chair of the Budget and Appropriations Committee Scott Burns
• Lieutenant Manny Cotto of the Bridgeport Police Department
• Anna Cruz of the Bridgeport Board of Police Commissioners
• Cooper Mead of the Bridgeport Health Department
• Constance Vickers of the Mayor’s Office
• Rev. D. Stanley Lord of the Greater Bridgeport NAACP
• Jason Ayala of FaithActs for Education
• Gemeem Davis of Bridgeport Generation Now
• Iliana Pujols of the CT Juvenile Justice Alliance
Former Bridgeport City Council Member Maria Zambrano Viggiano has agreed to serve as a pro bono advisor helping to lead the implementation of the initiative.
The Collaborative will use a policy implementation framework developed by researchers at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government called Problem-Driven Iterative Adaptation (PDIA). Using the PDIA approach, the Collaborative will break down public safety problems into their root causes, identify areas where action should be taken, and search for possible solutions. The goals of the group align with City Council resolution 130-19, passed by the Council in July 2020.
“This team will not be another group that meets just to talk about the problem. This team will be made up of people who will work hard to investigate the reasons for the problems and find tangible solutions that we can implement right away,” said Council President Nieves.
Burns, the Budget Committee co-chair, agreed. “We expect this team to work hard, be accountable for finding solutions, and to be a voice for the various stakeholder groups involved,” said Councilman Burns. “From the budget committee’s perspective, we are always looking at ways to allocate the city’s resources in order to maximize the well-being of our residents. This will be challenging work, and I look forward to helping this team to make robust recommendations to push our city forward.”