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More Beat Cops, Fewer Chiefs Debated

August 7th, 2016 · 43 Comments · Law Enforcement, News and Events

From Brian Lockhart, CT Post:

Bridgeport’s four deputy police chiefs earn, in total, more than $715,000–money some City Council members and at least one key mayoral adviser argue would be better spent hiring more beat cops.

“When people are crying out for community policing, even though violent crime is down, you want as many people out in the street doing protection and prevention work as possible,” said Wilbur Chapman, Mayor Joe Ganim’s public safety adviser and an ex-Bridgeport police chief. “If they can convert the deputy chief salaries into police officer ranks, it would do a lot of immediate good.”

The deputy chiefs’ work could then be divvied up among the 10 captains, Chapman said.

Eventually that could happen. The police contract allows the city to leave the unionized deputy chief positions vacant or eliminate them, but only after the current deputies–Anthony Armeno, James Baraja, James Honis and Adam Radzmirski–retire.

Full story here.

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43 Comments so far ↓

  • Andrew C Fardy

    Here is a statement by Chief Perez that shows exactly why it is bad to have a chief from within the ranks leading the BPD.
    “These are the guys I rely on to help me run the department,” Perez said. “I back them 100 percent.”
    These are guys he came up through the ranks with.
    The history of these positions goes like this. Captain Fabrizi was making noise about retiring, Supt Walsh did not want him to retire so the Deputy Chief’s position was created, back then it was called inspector. Well favorites needed promotions and three more deputy positions were created. These positions are just pension-fattening positions and their work could easily be done by captains as it used to be.

    • Phil Smith

      The real question is whether the Bridgeport Police Department is administratively top heavy across the board with more supervisors than it needs. Anecdotal evidence and conversations with officers across the ranks suggest it is.

      • Phil Smith

        By my count it has been 157 days since our “Acting” Police Chief was appointed. So when are we going to have the mandatory civil service test for that position? Or is that another law the Mayor intends to ignore?

        • Ron Mackey

          Phil, when is the City going to give the exam for Civil Service, the position David Dunn has and what about the fire chief position? How long will it be before both the fire and police Chiefs are made provisional? Andy got it right, it’s more about the blue than the department and residents.

          • Phil Smith

            Ron, under the Charter the police and fire departments, the Acting chief takes the place of a provisional. There is no such provision for civil service.

          • Ron Mackey

            Phil, Rooney and Gaudett were both acting chiefs and then they were made provisional chiefs and then they both retired but kept their positions as the chiefs of their departments, thereby double dipping.

        • Joel Gonzalez

          What about the beat cops?

      • Andrew C Fardy

        At last count there were 105 supervisors.

  • The Phantom

    At the time I left, one of these four DCs was in charge of only computers. He sat behind a desk and spent money on worthless software and computers for the cars that never worked. I’ve been told he spends most days walking the hallways doing nothing with an assistant who is a full-time able-bodied cop as his high-priced secretary. This cop isn’t hurt and does nothing as well. Two salaries there that are probably $225k for no work.

    • The Phantom

      Called my friend still there. He says this same DC recently purchased software for motor vehicle accidents that is so horrible it takes a street cop over two hours to write a report. If that cop gets two accidents a day, that’s over half a shift off the street in the building typing. Multiply that by multiple accidents a shift. Wow.

  • Frank the Cabana Boy

    Fewer CAO’s would be a nice savings, too.

  • Andrew C Fardy

    The city should hire a consulting firm that specializes in police department operations. We need to know if we have the following.
    1. Too many supervisors
    2. Too many able-bodied cops working inside.
    3. Do we have too many detectives?
    4. With a dropping crime rate do we need as many cops as we have?
    5. Are our patrol methods the latest and the best?
    6. What kind of training programs do we have?
    7. Do we have sensitivity training for all officers?
    8. Do we have training in the proper use of firearms?
    The list goes on and on. I think if this study were completed you would find we are not up to date as a department.

    • John Marshall Lee

      And Andy, does it seem to you there is too little information shared with the public about how the City through Labor Relations is approaching negotiations with the PD? The 2012 contract, transferring personnel retirement matters from City Plan B to State MERS was completed in 2015. How did some eligible for Plan A retirement get eligible? Sorry to harp on costs all the time, but neglecting costs in union settlements and other areas in times of decreasing worth and revenue limits is totally foolish.
      Is Ganim2 working on labor contracts at this time? Police 2015? What’s the story? Time will tell.

      • Ron Mackey

        JML, you said, “there is too little information shared with the public about how the City through Labor Relations is approaching negotiations with the PD.” What you’re asking for would mean negotiations in public and that’s not what collective bargaining does. They could say in general what they might be looking for but that makes the union look like the bad guy and unreasonable if they don’t agree with the City.

        John, yes I did get the newsletter you and your travel guide dropped off. John did a real good job with the newsletters. I also want to thank you for your time and service for the NAACP.

        What most people don’t know about how the NAACP was started and by whom. Appalled at the violence that was committed against blacks, a group of white liberals that included Mary White Ovington and Oswald Garrison Villard, both the descendants of abolitionists, William English Walling and Dr. Henry Moscowitz issued a call for a meeting to discuss racial justice. Some 60 people, seven of whom were African American (including W. E. B. Du Bois, Ida B. Wells-Barnett and Mary Church Terrell), signed the call.

  • The Phantom

    Andy. The department sent all the command staff to Rhode Island about six years ago and sat with experts to do just that. Gaudett was Chief. They spent a load of cash on the study and were told they were top heavy. Of course the command staff in attendance were the “top heavy” personal and laughed off the recommendations. Spineless Gaudett did nothing and kept the status quo. The trip paid them OT to boot. Check the record.

  • Andrew C Fardy

    I WOULD LIKE TO SEE THE EXAMINING FIRM COME HERE AND STUDY THE PD, TALK TO THE PATROLMEN AND LOWER MANAGEMENT. THIS STUDY MIGHT SHOW WITH BETTER MANAGEMENT WE CAN HAVE FEWER SUPERVISORS AND STREET COPS ALTHOUGH I DOUBT FEWER STREET COPS. Sorry about the capital letters.

  • Bridgeport Vagabond

    No one’s mentioned the character of these men yet? Ah, it’s early.

    They’ll stay, just to F with the man. None of them have given a shit in the last 10 years.

  • Bob Walsh

    Eneida Martinez is once again showing real leadership and independence on the council. Keep up the good work!!!

    • Joel Gonzalez

      Bob, you’re so misinformed or just don’t like the Chief as he was appointed by Joe Ganim. Like you and many others, Eneida Martinez has an ax to grind with Chief AJ Perez. When it comes to grinding axes or guillotine blades, Martinez and many others pale in knowledge and skill in the art of grinding. Eneida Martinez suddenly wants to address the issue of top heavy at the PD while on the other hand she has been demanding Chief AJ Perez sweeps the allegations against Lt. Blackwell regarding his participation with the racist letter left in former P.O. Higgins in his mailbox. If AJ were to cave in to their pressure, Blackwell would return as another deputy chief making the PD even more top heavy. Does this make any sense to anyone reading this or should I go and take my medication?

      • Joel Gonzalez

        Let’s by clear, as a janitor at the PD, I will not sweep a serious allegation like the one against Blackwell under any rug. I doubt Chief Perez will either. Just in case I’m wrong I will make sure all closets with brooms stored in them are locked and will remove anything that may be used to sweep from the ‘top’ floor.

  • Joel Gonzalez

    I understand on the surface, it seems like the PD is top heavy. My definition of top heavy may be different than others. Are we talking about the Deputy Chiefs only? The same argument or concern has been raised with Sergeants. I’ve noticed since AJ took over, more sergeants and Lieutenants are on the streets or at least not in the building.

    “… money some City Council members and at least one key mayoral adviser argue would be better spent hiring more beat cops.” Lennie, this part is a joke or them trying a little OIB sarcasm like I do sometimes, right? These are the same people who haven’t noticed or refuse to do anything about the fact as far a city and BOE employment goes, we are and have been top heavy with family and friends of Democratic Town Committee, State elected officials, unqualified, underqualified employees and so on. Could anyone tell me this study looked into all City/BOE positions and departments? Has anyone realized despite more street cameras and increased police effort and patrol, criminal activity continues to occur? How many shootings have occurred on Maplewood, Howard, and Poplar alone despite the cameras and a fair amount of patrol? Joe Ganim needs to get rid of or move the official on his staff mentioned above. When the janitor in the police department knows a lot more than many on his staff regarding police and other city matters, it’s time to really step back and think about those he has hired and give advice to him, especially after the three-day retreat at UB.

  • Donald Day

    Two Chiefs, four Deputy Chiefs and a worthless Director of Public Safety, Wilbur Chapman. What a waste of Bridgeport’s resources, which would be better spent on the children’s education.

  • Andrew C Fardy

    Look for any one interested. The city should survey all city departments as to their procedures and processes. I will bet they will find their work product is not up to modern operation. I firmly believe whatever it costs will be worth it. I think the reason it has not been done in the past and now is too many political shitheads are on the payroll.
    Question for the PD. How many able-bodied people are working inside?
    When are you going to come out with the Blackwell decision? I know the investigation was completed in June. AJ, it’s on your shoulders. Be the chief. How many sick lame and lazy are on the force, let’s get the long-termers retired.

    • The Phantom

      Andy. I gave you at least one able-bodied patrol cop who is currently drawing a salary but has been a secretary for a DC for years. This cop does nothing but wander the hallways with him.

    • Joel Gonzalez

      Get rid of the long-termers and left with a bunch of newbies? Ever hear of combined years of experience? Let’s take the DCs alone and you have over a hundred years. Kiss the cold cases goodbye. I’m 51 years old and I know people who for 40 years have been involved in criminal activities. Ever heard of a career criminal? Can an officer or detective with 5 or 10 years on the force think of potential perpetrators of crimes when their identity is not known?

      Does anyone believe me if I told you it’s a fact when many officers stay beyond their retirement year, the city actually saves money? Let’s take Jimmy Honis for example. He has I believe 45 years, when calculating the years the city didn’t have to pay him his pension with today’s value of the dollar, the city actually saved about $1.2 million. I’m not including the value/cost of the years of experience or things like the money to train/recruit his replacement.

  • Phil Smith

    I absolutely agree about the reevaluation of the operations and procedures of city agencies. That is essentially what the management advisory committee studies Ron has referred to did in late 1989. That’s a long time ago, especially in light of the technological changes that have taken place since then.

    The key to the success of that effort will be the objectivity and professionalism of those conducting the studies.

    • Ron Mackey

      Phil, good point but even if it was 1989, that’s a starting point. I’ve noticed neither Dave Walker nor John Marshall Lee have shown any interest at all about the MAC Report.

      • John Marshall Lee

        Ron,
        As a writer on OIB for some years I recognize your contributions to the subject matter. I was a taxpayer/resident when Ukeles and the MAC report were on the front page, but until recently had no idea from your posts it had become a form of “civic scripture” with you. Have you mentioned it to me or others except in the past month or so? Didn’t the report make recommendations only, with no enforcement or control powers? Since that time were any of the recommendations reviewed and adopted by a Charter change group? Please assist all OIB readers with your thought process. (By the way, did you have any time to read the NAACP newsletter delivered to your door?) Time will tell.

        • Phil Smith

          JML,
          A number of the MAC recommendations were included in the charter revisions passed in 1989 and 1992. The civil service reform proposals were approved by the Charter Revision Commission and the City Council. They were rejected by the voters in 1991 based upon some unions and candidate Joe Ganim.

        • Ron Mackey

          JML, the Ukeles and the MAC report in combination with the financial review board together created positive and modern change in the fire department that greatly increased performance and safety. John, those recommendations are still there to be reviewed and changed or added to or to follow. How do you control something when you have not looked at what the problems are and what are the recommendations for correction? The problems that happened after the review left was there was no followup after those three years of a balanced budget and what was the outcome of the MAC Report. Bridgeport’s new dream after getting out of the red was a casino and not growing the tax base and Steve Wynn and Donald Trump made promises that Bridgeport bought into. At the same time there was no checks and balance on the running of the City. Most council members did whatever Ganim wanted because nobody wants a primary and Joe was looking good back then as the new young golden boy but nobody was taking care of City business. There were no John Marshall Lee and no OIB to truly get information to the public, the Bridgeport Post was to busy trying to become a statewide news paper instead of reporting and looking into the running of Bridgeport.

          • John Marshall Lee

            Phil and Ron,
            Thank you for the info you have provided showing how some of the issues dealt with more than 20 years ago have been addressed in subsequent Charter or administrative process.
            We all know today’s processes provide fewer checks and balance, fiscal oversight, routine monitoring to see that Charter and Ordinances are followed and not the OPEN, ACCOUNTABLE, and TRANSPARENT values I have pursued and Ganim spoke about during the campaign. Will we see any of this soon? Time will tell.

  • Joel Gonzalez

    Shit, it took me hours to find this part and it was at the very beginning of the contract:
    SECTION 1 – THE UNION AND UNION SECURITY
    ARTICLE 1
    RECOGNITION
    Section 1.1 – The City hereby recognizes the Union as the exclusive representative and bargaining agent
    for the bargaining unit, consisting of all uniformed and investigatory employees, including Police
    Officers, Detectives, Sergeants, Lieutenants, Captains and Deputy Chiefs, but excluding the Chief of
    Police, the Assistant Chief, and Deputy Chiefs, employed by the City of Bridgeport, in the Police
    Department for the purposes of establishing wages, hours, and other conditions of employment. Deputy
    Chiefs Armeno, Baraja, Honis, and Radzmirski shall remain in the Union until the end of their
    employment. The City shall have sole and complete discretion regarding the filling/replacement of these
    four Deputy Chief positions and the manner utilized by the City.
    Section 2.1-The Assistant Chief position shall be out of the Union when created by the City.

    In a nutshell, the City can’t do shit about the four Deputy Chiefs unless they agree to a buy-out. When each one of them decides to retire, die or are removed with just cause, the city can exclusively decide what to do with the positions. Anyone concerned with having more patrol officers must figure out a way to speed up the recruiting and training process. Keep in mind if the pattern of recently hired officers leaving to work elsewhere continues at the same level as last year, we’ll/you’ll have a problem on our/your hands. I believe one has recently left. I checked the list of those who left the BPD early and noticed a majority of them were Bridgeport residents and mostly minorities/Hispanics. See how simple it would have been for the concerned city official and councilmembers to educate/inform themselves before putting their worthless two cents in on this matter?

    www .bridgeportct.gov/filestorage/89019/96373/104098/BRIDGEPORT_POLICE_LOCAL_1159_AND_AFSCME.pdf

    • Ron Mackey

      Joel, the City can do away with those deputies chief and also the same for the deputies in the fire department. Both sides the City and the union would have to negotiate the impact of that change, this has a number of times before where they did away with a position but they had to negotiate the results and come to a win/win for both sides.

    • Bob Walsh

      Let’s start by changing the schedules so there is always at least one Deputy on during any and every shift. At least this way we cut out OT for these over-bloated positions.
      And we have Joel sticking up for the Chief just because he works in the building. Good job, Joel.

  • Ron Mackey

    JML, as for enforcement of the those recommendation by the MAC Report, the mayor had to make those changes in order to balance the budget, to reorganize departments to make them run better for less funding. It was in the mayor’s best interest to follow the MAC Report to get the state off his back.

    • Phil Smith

      The Mayor is the key and Mayor Bucci supported the recommendations and made sure they were implemented. Too bad we haven’t seen that kind of leadership in recent years.

  • Tom White

    I have often cited the Management Advisory Committee (MAC) as both the realization that changes in City government were needed and organized detailed recommendations for improvements.

    I have often lamented that many of the lessons learned during the second Bucci term, Moran administration and the beginning of G1 have been unlearned.

    In the last 25 years I have had experiences that point to the need to do things differently. I believe if you ask a City employee (including BOE employees) for suggestions on how they can be more effective and efficient they will have examples. In most cases, how City employees do their jobs is defined in their union contract and it is the union contract they must comply with.

    If my memory serves me correctly, the MAC did not focus on the police department. There had been another study by the Conroy group. (Anyone else recall?) Charter revision of 1988 introduced the process for appointing police and fire chiefs. Two ‘outsiders’ were appointed and (attempted) to introduce management change that was often opposed by the unions. Even if an individual City employee agrees with the need to do things differently, it is the union contract that defines their employment.

    • Phil Smith

      Tom, MAC Task Forces addressed a wide variety of issues and agencies including police, fire, civil service, development and others I don’t recall.

    • Ron Mackey

      Tom White, that is right, Superintendent (the title was changed to police chief) Joe Walsh at the time when he was the head of the police department didn’t want changes. The unions were concerned about someone from the outside coming in and cleaning house because the mayor told him to get rid of people because the chief’s boss the mayor would not renew their contract after it expired. Of course the union contract gives employees protection from that being done.

  • Bob Walsh

    Come on Joel, why don’t you defend the Boys in Blue on this one? From the CT Post:

    BRIDGEPORT — Police are saying that State Police have begun an investigation following a shooting in Bridgeport on Sunday night, and Bridgeport Police Chief Armando “AJ” Perez says that he’ll stand by the officers involved in the incident.

    The officer-involved shooting that took place on Sunday, August 7, 2016, in which a Bridgeport police officer discharged a weapon, injuring a civilian, according to reports.

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