A day after news broke about The Bridgeport Police Hispanic Society demanding the resignation of Assistant Police Chief James Nardozzi for racial slurs a college professor used in the context of ethics training, Nardozzi announced during a meeting of police command staff “I’m not resigning.” Some department members say the criticism directed at Nardozzi is more about his efforts to slash police overtime than a college academic making a point.
“Call my mother anything you want but don’t take away my overtime,” is how one police department member described the anger police officers have toward the overtime cuts made by Nardozzi who invited an academic affiliated with the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York to school sergeants and lieutenants in ethics training last month. Hispanic Society members claim Nardozzi stood by as the college professor William McDonald used racial statements to make a point. The words were insensitive remarks, but in the context of training.
Nardozzi was brought in about a year ago with a specific task to cut out-of-control overtime. And he apparently has done just that, reducing overtime costs by millions of dollars.
In fact when Mayor Bill Finch announced Nardozzi’s hiring last November he specifically cited overtime issues: “Dr. Nardozzi will be an excellent addition to the force, working with the Chief to rein in overtime and reduce expenses while ensuring the officers are deployed in the most efficient manner. His extensive police management experience as well as his work as a consultant to many Connecticut police departments makes him especially suited to assist Chief Gaudett in the day-to-day management of the department.”
Nardozzi is viewed by a number of department members as a hatchet man brought in to do the overtime dirty work. So, is the criticism directed at Nardozzi by the Bridgeport Police Hispanic Society legit? Or really more about the overtime issue?
Here’s the news release issued last November on Nardozzi’s hire:
Police Chief Joseph Gaudett today announced the appointment of James F. Nardozzi, Ph.D as the Assistant Chief of Police. Nardozzi, who most recently served as the Dean of Post College and Director of its Master of Public Administration degree program, retired in 2007 as Deputy Chief of the Waterbury Police Department, where he served since 1989. He will serve as second-in-command to the Chief coordinating daily business, operations and administration of the Department.
“Dr. Nardozzi will be an excellent addition to the force, working with the Chief to rein in overtime and reduce expenses while ensuring the officers are deployed in the most efficient manner,” said Mayor Bill Finch. “His extensive police management experience as well as his work as a consultant to many Connecticut police departments makes him especially suited to assist Chief Gaudett in the day-to-day management of the department.”
“I look forward to working with Dr. Nardozzi on moving the Department forward in a positive manner, keeping an eye on overtime and assisting me with the day-to-day operations and administration,” said Chief Gaudett. “He has a stellar track record in organizational effectiveness and policy development, which will be of great assistance here.”
While serving as Waterbury’s Deputy Chief, Nardozzi reduced departmental overtime by $2 million annually, implemented new fiscal controls and monitored systems and procedures to increase efficiency and effectiveness of various department programs and operations.
Nardozzi was chosen from among the top three finalists presented to the Mayor after a nationwide search conducted by Randi Frank Associates. The Assistant Chief position was approved and budgeted by the City Council in the 2012-13 fiscal year.
Nardozzi’s appointment is provisional pending his recertification by the Police Officer Standards and Training Council; he will be paid $113,220.
Dr. Nardozzi earned his Doctorate in Public Administration from Nova Southeastern University. He has a Certificate in Criminal Justice Education from the University of Virginia and graduated from the University of New Haven with a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and a Senior Professional Certificate in Forensic Science. He also holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy, the FBI LEEDS program, and the Connecticut Municipal Police Academy, and is a Certified Police Instructor in the State of Connecticut.