Examine Demographics Of Police And Fire Recruits

police department
City Police Department

Since Joe Ganim’s return to the mayoralty on December 1, 2015 he has added more than 100 public safety officers, 79 in the Police Department and 36 in the Fire Department. Several OIB readers have asked about the demographic breakdown in the respective departments during that period. Following an OIB request to the city here’s what we’ve learned.


Total hires:  79

Male: 63

Female:  16

White:  29 (36%)

Black:  15 (19%)

Hispanic:  32 (40%)

Asian:  2 (2.5%)

Unknown:  1 (1.2%)


Total hires:  36

Male: 36

White:  10 (28%)

Black:  6 (17%)

Hispanic: 19 (53%)

Asian: 1 (2.7%)

Among the numbers one that sticks out is no recent female recruits in the Fire Department. What gives? City officials say very few women apply for the firefighters exam asserting they are more attracted to police work. Two recent female firefighter applicants finished high during the testing process but failed background checks. OIB readers Ron Mackey and Donald Day, both retired city firefighters who spent years taking on the political establishment in the cause of opening up hiring opportunities for minority firefighter applicants, have their own take on the lack of numbers involving the testing process the city uses.

OIB has also asked the city for residence location of the public safety hires. That information is forthcoming. City residents receive extra points for entry exams.

On the 2015 campaign trail, following a spike in violent crime, Ganim promised to hire 100 new police officers to help replenish the ranks of dwindling department losses to retirements and suburban poaching. Ganim is expected to reach his goal later this year. But will his effort keep pace with department attrition?



  1. It is all about the number of candidates you start out with. If you loose some because of the physical, background checks and the other phases of the process you end up with less, simple math.

    The city has to make the fire and police departments more attractive to minorities. Given the climate of country with regards to the police some no matter what color you are might think twice about the job.

    Based on the other demographics of the other candidates, there was enough even with the numbers lost along the way. The city should show the breakdown of how many applied and how many we’re lost and why. The extra city points is nice but doesn’t mean anything if so few apply.

    Mr. Mackey and Mr. Day should take surveys and ask men and women if they want to join the police and fire departments. For those who say no ask why not? Then talk to Internal Affairs and Civil Service about the Black candidates that were rejected and why if they will give the reasons.

  2. Let me say this for the thousandth time, Bridgeport had absolutely No Problems recruiting and hiring of Blacks for the BFD or the BPD prior to Bill Finch putting David Dunn into the position of Director of Civil Service, a position he had No knowledge or experience. Bridgeport had never had a problem in 35 years recruiting or hiring of women for the BFD prior to David Dunn.

    David Dunn starting using psychological exams which effectively eliminated Blacks in huge numbers even though a Federal Judge said in the mid 70’s that it was illegal because it wasn’t used to get a better firefighter, but used to eliminate Black and Latino candidates. Same thing today. CPAT (Candidate Physical Agility Testing) was implemented and it eliminated women in huge numbers which resulted in no women being hired in the fire department for the first time in 35 years. Women have proven time and time again that they not only belong on the job, but that can do the job even though not one women in the history of the BFD had ever passed CPAT. As a retired captain in the fire service I had numerous women that worked for me and every one of them were great firefighters who I never feared putting my life in their hands, even though none had ever taken or passed CPAT.

    Lennie, What these numbers don’t tell you is how many of those hired were Bridgeport residents and how many are like David Dunn and fire chief Richard Thode, suburbanites taking Bridgeport tax money out of the city.
    Mayor Finch like Mayor Joe Ganim leave David Dunn in a position which he has No experience so that they can have access to jobs that they can use for their benefit without the need for Civil Service rules and regulations getting in the way of their political goals and aspirations and their need to pay back political favors.

  3. Don, let me say this for the thousandth time, here is just one part of the federal law that the City of Bridgeport is violating:


    Section 3: Discrimination defined: Relationship between use of selection procedures and discrimination.

    A. Procedure having adverse impact constitutes discrimination unless justified.
    The use of any selection procedure which has an adverse impact on the hiring, promotion, or other employment or membership opportunities of members of any race, sex, or ethnic group will be considered to be discriminatory and inconsistent with these guidelines, unless the procedure has been validated in accordance with these guidelines, or the provisions of section 6 of this part are satisfied.

    B. Consideration of suitable alternative selection procedures.
    Where two or more selection procedures are available which serve the user’s legitimate interest in efficient and trustworthy workmanship, and which are substantially equally valid for a given purpose, the user should use the procedure which has been demonstrated to have the lesser adverse impact. Accordingly, whenever a validity study is called for by these guidelines, the user should include, as a part of the validity study, an investigation of suitable alternative selection procedures and suitable alternative methods of using the selection procedure which have as little adverse impact as possible, to determine the appropriateness of using or validating them in accord with these guidelines. If a user has made a reasonable effort to become aware of such alternative procedures and validity has been demonstrated in accord with these guidelines, the use of the test or other selection procedure may continue until such time as it should reasonably be reviewed for currency.
    Whenever the user is shown an alternative selection procedure with evidence of less adverse impact and substantial evidence of validity for the same job in similar circumstances, the user should investigate it to determine the appropriateness of using or validating it in accord with these guidelines. This subsection is not intended to preclude the combination of procedures into a significantly more valid procedure, if the use of such a combination has been shown to be in compliance with the guidelines.

  4. Day, Ron this is why I tell you not to add Latinos in your afro centric cause. If you add up the total Black and Latino hires 60% for the police force and 70% percent for the fire department ,and if you compare them to Bridgeport’s demographic population (depending on what survey) it’s comparable to the makeup of the city. You can argue there’re more Latinos than Black though.

    Day I’ll agree with you on the CPAT test, not that I don’t think it’s a good Idea as long it’s doesn’t go beyond and far exceeds what a firefighter well physically encounter , to eliminate females. For you know it’s more about using you brain than brawns. But because it also age based . If every firefighter had to retake that test every year to be certified to keep their job at some point they will fail regardless of sex. How many current firefighters right now would pass that test? If they are using it as a why too eliminate women then they should make it a standard test every 3 year regardless of sex, age or rack. See how thing will change.

    Day not everybody born or raised in Bridgeport wants to stay and live in a city. I do think Bridgeport residents should be looked upon when the city is hiring city employees. I see you and your city pension are living out of the Bridgeport.

    Lennie what’s the overall make of the police and fire department?

  5. Bridgeport needs to be like Hartford when it comes to hiring both police and fire, you don’t have to stay a resident of Hartford, but you sure as hell have to start out as one. I started out as a Bridgeport resident and lived here for almost 25 years, and owned two homes prior to moving out. I’ve never hide from that fact and like I’ve said before when we came up with the idea and proposal that Bridgeport residents receive preference points that Don Clemons used to get the city council to adopt, I lived outside of the city.

    I had a stake in this city and I’ve done more to hire Blacks and Latinos than anyone in the history of the BFD unlike ya boy David Dunn and Chief Richard Thode.

    1. Don. When I got on the job in the early 80’s, you had to be a city resident. In fact, you had to fill out sworn affidavits after you hit the streets attesting to the fact that you still lived in the city. Sure residency went away and today you have too many cops from upstate that have no idea of urban living and are led around by supervisors of the same c loth. Hell a buddy showed showed me a Facebook page that showed an off duty captain out drinking and called a patrol car to taxi him and his buddies to another bar. These clowns are in positions of power and are worst than ever. I feel bad for my friends still there who look up and see the way that place looks at the top. Not many minority in these spots.

    1. If your wish about 30 years and out were part of Bridgeport’s practices, pray tell what would former Chief Honis have done in the most recent 18 years? And might it have cut his retirement income by 2/3 from $180,000 annually? Perhaps he could have written a book? Now all he has to do is keep track of his financial books. Future? Time will tell.

      1. That means going back to contract negotiations with the Bridgeport Police Union…and Joe Ganim is owned… lock,stock and barrel by the BPU. Nothing will change as long as we have Ganim as Mayor and a puppet City Council.

  6. Don, here is the reason that the City, David Dunn and Fire Chief Rooney decided to use CPAT, the July 24, 2010 Elmwood Avenue fire that killed Lt. Steven Velasquez and Firefighter Michael Baik. They had to cover their ass because of the finding of the cause of Velasquez and Baik death because they knew that the City would sued.

    The Connecticut Occupational Safety and Health Administration (CONN-OSHA) has cited the Bridgeport Fire Department for five “serious” safety violations from the July 24, 2010 Elmwood Avenue fire that killed Lt. Steven Velasquez and Firefighter Michael Baik.

    These include failure to perform hydrostatic testing on SCBA cylinders, failure to provide fit testing, failure to conduct medical evaluations for those who wear SCBA, failure to make sure firefighters wore SCBA during interior firefighting, and failure to follow mayday procedures. Each of the violations carries a $1000 fine.

    The Connecticut Post, which reported the story, wrote that these violations were cited by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, when the documentation shows these are state findings. As is often the case, CONN-OSHA meets the federal standards. According to its website, “As a State Plan state, CONN-OSHA adopts and enforces standards that are at least as effective as the federal requirements.”
    The initial report also indicated that the department failed to “ensure firefighters were fit”. In fact, the violation reads, “Annual fit testing was not performed on firefighters who wore self contained breathing apparatus while performing interior structure firefighting”.

    1. Ron you know that fitness tests have never been run or done on active members of the fire service. You know that the fire union has not pushed for this because if they did there would be a lot of fat ass firefighters gone. Ron you know that there is no age limit to coming on the job and that is wrong. The law states you can have an age entry limit on Public Safety jobs. In fact federal firefighters have to retire at age 57. I will also say this many of the osha laws could not be followed in firefighting. Ron I have many questions on that fire and what really happened but that was then this is now.

    2. Ron there is a certain amount of personal responsibility here. You know or should know what it takes to do this job. You should know you cant do this job not being in shape with out suffering the consequences of not being in shape.

  7. We have a big problem in the Bridgeport Police Department. The City of Bridgeport has not created a modern,independent police corps which is insulated from the year to year political swings that happen. The City of Bridgeport has failed to since the departure of longtime Police Chief Joe Walsh. The Police Department has become a Mayoral “plum.” We may have an “Acting” Police with A.J. Perez but the real chief of police is Joe Ganim. This was the case with all mayors after the departure of Joe Walsh. All Bridgeport Mayors since then have kept the Bridgeport Police Department as their own personal “fiefdom.” Maybe..one day in the future..some enlightened leaders of the community of Bridgeport will recognize that today’s police officers are specialists and need to be protected from the year to year vicissitudes of political fortune. We need a semi-independent police force,answering to community/civilian command(daresay,should I offer the possibility of a stronger,more active,independent Board of police commissioners). we are nowhere even close to that objective. To reach that objective,we would need a completely different cast of characters on the political scene in The City Of Bridgeport.

  8. In the report concerning the death in a fire that killed Lt. Steven Velasquez and Firefighter Michael Baik. The initial report also indicated that the department failed to “ensure firefighters were fit”. In fact, the violation reads, “Annual fit testing was not performed on firefighters who wore self contained breathing apparatus while performing interior structure firefighting”. This is the main reason that the City started to use CPAT but CPAT had NOTHING to do with Velasquez and Baik death, it was the City that fail to perform their duty to make sure that all firefighters take and pass their annual physical exam. CPAT is given to new firefighter candidates and they must pass but they are ONLY require to take just one time for their entire career, that’s right, one time. A candidate could be as fit as the Wayne Johnson “the Rock” on his first day on the job and one year later he could look like Governor Chris Christie, now what the hell did CPAT do to keep this firefighter fit?

    As for females, during the 6 years that Donald Day was he Firebird President and during the next 10 years when I was the Firebird President we NEVER had a problem recruiting female candidates. After we got the candidates to fill out their application we held training classes for all portions of the entry level exam. On aptitude test white females come out higher on exams but they are eliminated with the CPAT exam. In order for CPAT to work properly ALL firefighters of every rank must pass their CPAT exam every year and the City MUST make sure that EVERY firefighter pass their annual physical. exam.

  9. It looks like the topic has taken a different direction here. The issue was the failure for the fire department to hire women and the police department not hiring enough Blacks. The test and background checks are all the same and there are specific requirements to pass to get hired. None that I am aware of give the advantage one over the other. If you have a criminal conviction that disqualifies you or you fail the physical part, you are out no matter what color or gender you are.

    To use the example of some egg laying animals. Some animals for example frogs they lay thousands of eggs. These number assure that some frogs will survive and reach adulthood. This is because Mother Nature is cruel and many eggs or some that hatch will not survive. The more applicants apply the better chances more will be hired.

    The fire department has a standard too and rightfully so the job is more physical that the police in one aspect. Anyone applying for that job has to on their “A” game. They also need to remain in shape cause it gets harder as you get older. Perhaps the Police and fire unions could require and yearly or bi-yearly physical this would include a stress test. This would be the venue to catch any problems early before they become an issue.

    Just my two.

    1. You have must have trouble reading and understanding what you read, the issues of hiring females and blacks has totally been pointed out and the reasons why NO white women have been hired. If two firefighters are killed on a fire and one of the reasons is they were not fit means that there is a problem with the those firefighters who are CURRENTLY working well, what is the City doing to correct that problem for those CURRENT firefighters? CPAT given to new candidates does nothing for that candidate one month after they are on the job. Giving a CPAT exam once in a firefighter’s entire career does NOTHING to keep someone fit. CPAT, was not use when Andy Fardy was a firefighter and he performed his duty just like every other firefighter in the same and proud and professional tradition as all firefighters so why the change, it does nothing to make the fire department better.

  10. Obviously stringfellow works for the city because he/she is trying to confuse the issues by laying eggs and bringing your A game crap. The indisputable fact is that Bridgeport hired quality women for the fire service that distinguished themselves fighting fires, being promoted and receiving commendations without the need of CPAT. Now since the position of Civil Service director was just given to David Dunn without the benefit of experience or knowledge No women are being hired when every class in the 35 years prior to Dunn hired women.

    The job of firefighting is a team sport and no one person is required to bring more to the table than any other and the team depends on every member doing their part for the safety of the public, the other members of the team and the families that expect to see their family members cone home at the end of their shift. In my over 20 years of service and the last six as a Captain in the 2nd largest fire house in the city where I commanded one other captain, 14 lieutenants and 32 firefighters I’ve never had a woman that didn’t hold their own in the field or in the house and every one did so without the benefit of CPAT. CPAT was initiated to eliminate women and the psychological exam was used to eliminate Blacks and both did the job they were designed to do. I defy anyone to tell me how the BFD is better since the implementation of CPAT or the psychological exam. If it wasn’t broke what was the need to fix it? David Dunn is a pig and he bought his pigish ways to the civil service department to the detriment of women and blacks.

  11. The answer to all of this is the following:
    1. All candidates will be Bridgeport Residents.
    2. All candidates will be between 18 and 35 when taking the test and coming on the job.
    3.All candidates will retire at or by age 60 years old.
    4.All candidates will meet certain physical goals that will be established by outside professionals age and experience will be taken into consideration.
    5. Those that are on the job will be placed on disability leave based on their years of service.
    There is much more but it can be done.
    Will anything be done in Bridgeport? No because it makes sense.

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