Head Of Bridgeport Guardians Urges Appointment Of Lonnie Blackwell To Deputy Chief

Davon Polite addresses City Council.

Davon Polite, president of the Bridgeport Guardians, an advocacy group for minority police officers, addressed the City Council Monday night about Rebeca Garcia’s promotion to assistant chief while recommending Captain Lonnie Blackwell’s rise to deputy chief.

First and foremost I personally would like to congratulate Assistant Chief Garcia for her promotion which was well deserved.

The Bridgeport Guardians support the decisions that Mayor Ganim and Chief Perez have made to diversify the City of Bridgeport and the leadership of the police department.

However, I’m here today advocating on behalf of meaningful diversity with the appointment of black officers to leadership positions at the upper ranks of the police department, which we haven’t had a Black Officer at the position of deputy chief in about 20 years.

From my understanding Police Chief Perez and Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey (city consultant) selected Captain (Lonnie) Blackwell’s resume along with Captain (Ray) Masek and Captain Garcia to all be promoted to the executive level.

I have been receiving tremendous pressure from the community and guardian members for the promotion of Captain Blackwell to deputy chief.

I personally haven’t seen any indication that the selection process is being acted upon.

Please be advised that Captain Blackwell is the first African American to run our regional academy. He attended chiefs school and all leadership schools such as PERF which is Police Executive Research Form. Captain Blackwell is well rounded and extremely qualified. Captain Blackwell holds a masters degree in Criminal Justice and a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and has taught at the collegiate level as a professor for several years. Captain Blackwell continues to stay connected to the community implementing the six pillars of 21st century policing.

The police administration and the city of Bridgeport have stated they want the police department to represent the demographics of the city of Bridgeport. Currently we have 3 Hispanics and 1 Caucasian at the Executive level and no African American representation.

As the president of the Bridgeport Guardians I would like representation at least at the deputy chief position. There hasn’t been an African American at that level in 20 years.

Finally, it is my duty to keep the city council informed that we do have a very qualified African American who should be promoted from within.



  1. (RE: New Three Minute Format – Eight people signed up to speak by the previous Thursday deadline at City Clerk office – Two more three minute time slots were available, but the sign in sheet present at Council speaking sessions closes at 6:30 PM when public speaking begins. Five of the eight people presented themselves for comments using 15 of the available 30 minutes.)

    City Council address: 12-16-19
    Greetings to those who have held office for years. Special welcome to those who are new to the experience of serving the public on the Council. I have addressed the Council regularly in past years to question City actions, often about finances, and to call attention to areas where more OPEN, ACCOUNTABLE, TRANSPARENT and HONEST governance can improve the quality of life for all.

    You have continued the 30 minutes preceding each Council meeting for public address. The time slots have been reduced from five minutes to three minutes. The explanation is that you would like to hear from a larger number of citizens, presumably on more topics of import to the City? I hope so. Sincere interest in having an OPEN platform for folks to speak up might serve to encourage more people to vote, rather than to talk about how their vote means nothing.

    Is there a way for you to indicate that a reasonable topic worthy of pursuit has been raised for attention? If five minutes does not allow for a back and forth conversation, then patently, a three minute limit does not. However, there must be a way that questions raised can get assigned to a subcommittee for attention? And the subcommittee chairpersons might allow a subject to be raised by a member of the public with explanation including print materials?}

    Within the last 12 months the City, after the City declared a matter closed on two occasions regarding the wrongful tagging of a motor vehicle as abandoned and subsequent destruction of the property, the City paid $5,000 for the vehicle and around $3,000 for attorney representation. The facts did not change. But taxpayers spent an additional 60% unnecessarily. That was real money.

    What about citizen civil rights? During that same time period a “returning citizen” from the New York State prison system to Bridgeport after 25 years behind bars came to tell you his story. It was compelling to me. He wished to attend a City event during Black History Month, at City Hall, with no admissions fee, addressing history, urban violence, hip hop music and more. He found his photograph in the hands of multiple police officers who prevented him from entering. He asked for an explanation on more than one occasion and did not receive a response. He left peacefully.

    You will hear him tonight. He will use his personal three minutes, seeking an answer. (At least one member of the City Council has written about this injustice on social media under a name other than what she is known as in this body.) And she has encouraged the limitation of the free rights we all enjoy to this specific “returning citizen”. Perhaps it is time to ask what are her interests? Time will tell.


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