As a 31-year-old candidate for mayor in 1991, Joe Ganim pledged to hire 100 police officers in his first term with crime a major issue. Now on the comeback trail at age 55 with crime a central theme of his campaign, he’s promising to do the same, if elected, in a letter to supporter police officer Chuck Paris, head of the police union, who helped line up the endorsement for Ganim a few weeks ago.
History is repeating itself on some level for Ganim with police staffing levels once again an issue. A taxpayer price tag comes with hiring 100 cops measured against the spin of a political campaign.
Mayor Bill Finch’s Campaign Manager Maryli Secrest responds that Finch “has doubled investments in public safety and, as a result, crime has dropped swiftly and sharply.”
Finch and Police Chief Joe Gaudett recently announced a goal to hire, train and deploy more than 100 police officers in the next two years.
Ganim, leveraging police union support, wrote the following letter to Paris after a Connecticut Post article chronicling public safety shortages in the police department.
In light of the recent Connecticut Post article, I am writing to you with the request that you forward this letter to your membership.
While I wholeheartedly respect the decisions of our city’s officers to step away from the police force for personal reasons, the recent string of retirements and the devastatingly low number of active duty officers is alarming.
I am urging you and the members of the Bridgeport Police Department to be rest assured that the failures in our current leadership will not carry over into my administration when I am elected Mayor. I fully intend to partner with officers again to reinvigorate, re-energize and reinforce our dedication to the safety of all Bridgeport residents.
When elected Mayor, I will move swiftly to authorize the following:
• Hire 100 new officers, with the goal of having close to 500 officers
• Secure new equipment and provide more training
• Reinstate community policing
• Open and reopen substations
• Properly man Narcotics, VICE and Traffic divisions
• Press the Housing Authority to fund their own authority police, or ask them to fund Bridgeport Police Officers for dedicated assignment throughout the city
• Work with the department to bolster the relationship between the police and the communities they serve
I truly appreciate and respect the years our city’s officers have dedicated to protect and serve Bridgeport residents, and the public in general. I look forward to an improved working relationship between the Mayor’s office and the department.
Statement from Finch Campaign Manager Maryli Secrest:
“If Joe Ganim hadn’t cost the city more than $100 million dollars in a pension kickback scheme we might have more money to deal with crime. Despite the difficult situation Ganim put the city in, Mayor Finch has doubled investments in public safety and, as a result, crime has dropped swiftly and sharply.”