OIB Poll: How Would You Fix Racial/Ethnic Disparity In Police Department?

Bridgeport's police force is 56 percent white, 15 percent black, 27 percent Hispanic and one percent other. What should be done to correct the imbalance?

  • Who cares, as long as the most qualified candidates are hired. (60%, 108 Votes)
  • Give Bridgeport residents the highest hiring priority. (27%, 49 Votes)
  • The city's discriminatory hiring requires court intervention. (13%, 23 Votes)

Total Voters: 180

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  1. Jimfox, I hope Lennie is able to provide those real numbers so we can track those numbers by mayors. When the Guardians and the City agreed to get rid of the court-ordered Special Master who monitored the police dept to make sure what is happening doesn’t happen. There has never been a problem in America hiring white males to the police and fire department. Recruiting means targeting females, blacks and Hispanics to be members of both departments. There is a built-in mistrust by the black and Hispanic community so cities have to find ways without lowering the standards to recruit these groups. Bridgeport knows how to do this and in fact the information is right in the file cabinet in David Dunn’s office.

  2. What make anyone think an entry-level exam can determine whether or not you have the most qualified candidates for hire? It can’t measure honesty, it can’t measure integrity, it can’t measure one’s ability to be a team player nor can it measure whether one will come to work every day.

    Those cops who violated the Latino man’s rights in Beardsley Park all passed the exam but would one say Bridgeport hired the most qualified?

    Jimfox, while I can’t speak for the police department because I have followed the fire department almost exclusively, under Mayors Joe and John, the fire department hired and promoted more blacks and women than any mayors in history and under Finch and Dunn they have hired and promoted less than any mayor in the last 40 years. We had a process that worked in diversifying the police and fire departments and there was no reason to change unless you weren’t happy with the status quo, the hiring and promoting of blacks and women.

  3. Jimfox, I ask the question of what happened with white females not being hired or even passing those exams. Does that mean white female residents of Bridgeport are not smart enough to pass these exams or does it mean white males are all smarter than these women? The answer is NO to both questions, the problem is in the process, the testing and the lack of leadership from the police and fire chiefs and Mayor Finch to make sure those departments look like the residents and to make sure they are Bridgeport residents and taxpayers.

    1. Ron, it’s not the case of being smart or not. If the people failing are failing the oral portion of the exam then we know the fix is in. Do we have stats that show which section of the test is failed most often?

  4. There are some very good reasons we need better diversity on the police force, not the least of which is officer effectiveness in communicating with the demographic in this City. It just makes sense to protect and serve the population with an accurate sampling of the population. It’s better for all the stakeholders. It’s just better.

    Has civil service done research on other city models that have a similar population and demographic and maintain police forces that have employed a demographic that is more positively correlated with the racial demographic in that city, and attempt to parrot the selection criteria and hiring processes? I am left to assume they have because if I am coming up with this thought, they must have. Just a thought.

    I am very much in favor of increasing the weight Bridgeport residency has on the selection process. It’s a safe way to increase minority recruiting numbers and not create a discriminatory hiring practice. Plus the demographic included in the Bridgeport candidate pool will inherently take care of some of the racial disparity.

    1. Gabrielle Anna Parisi, all they have to do is to look in their own file cabinets to find the answer to your questions and to look at the past court decisions.

      As for the fire department, in the late 1990s until Bill Finch became mayor, the Firebird Society of Bridgeport had more of its members who were of the rank of Lieutenant and higher than New York City and Buffalo NY together, that’s right, at that time the Firebirds had 24 of its members in those promotional positions and that’s not counting the members of the Hispanic Society of Bridgeport Firefighters. What changed? David Dunn and Bill Finch.

  5. Did I hear on Channel 12 within the last few days 2,000 applications have come in for public safety positions in Bridgeport?
    Guess these jobs are looked at as good jobs. Also guess there are a number of folks looking to get hired into those good jobs. Does the Mayor TWITTER about jobs? Does he get any reports from MBE on those looking for positions in Bridgeport?

    About those Civil Service procedure changes: Can anyone point to a Mayoral address to the City Council, to the GBRBC, or a report of any kind as to why processes have changed? In the recent case of Bernd Tardy and oral exam, is there a lesson for the City to take seriously when Tom Bucci, as Tardy’s private attorney questioned the fact at least four of five people on the oral panel knew and/or were a part of the administration and was joined by the City appointed outside counsel, John Bohannon, who said the City had nothing to defend itself with. He spoke the truth of the matter.

    Jobs for City residents are critical. If we subsidize almost every new deal that comes to town in the name of “economic development,” shouldn’t we be bending over backwards to admit City residents, and if they need it provide them with some extra education, training, or whatever is missing at this moment? They will have a sense of the City, hopefully a fuller vision of the diverse groups living in this City, and stay as residents as the City turns the many corners necessary to blossom as most hope. Time will tell.

  6. JML, these jobs are transformative and can and will change your life for the better. I am living proof of that transformation. Of the eighteen or so blacks who were hired from the 2011 exam, 12 has purchased homes in Bridgeport and all of those individuals still live in the city. We need to quit transforming the lives of suburbanites and start transforming the lives of Bridgeport residents.

    We need to do what Hartford does, you have to be a Hartford resident to apply for police or fire positions and you have to be a resident six months prior to an announcement for employment. This discourages people saying they are residents after an announcement comes out or using phoney addresses. In Hartford you can still leave the city after you’re hired. They have found you will lose a few people to the suburbs, but no suburbanites who were hired in the past ever moved back to Hartford. None.

  7. These numbers are a circumstance of the economic times. People are looking ‘down’ to jobs because they are willing to take what they can get. Someone who would have in better economic times been a bank manager is now looking to be a cop. Someone who would have been a cop is now looking to be mall security. People are taking jobs below what their education and skills would normally provide. This is why BPT residents are being pushed out. A person with a four-year degree is looking at a police job because that is what they can get. The education allows them to pass the test with a higher score than the person from BPT who, statistically speaking, does not have a post-secondary education.

  8. The reason Bridgeport residents are not being hired like they have in the past is because there is NO effort or DESIRE by the mayor to hire Bridgeport residents. Mayor Finch could have a win-win by hiring just Bridgeport residents, after they are hired and live here before taking the exam, then they can move out, this is what Hartford does. By doing this Mayor Finch is creating a jobs program for the taxpayers and voters who pay for those salaries and benefits for those police and firefighters, a win-win.

  9. BOE, yours is but a hypothesis without any facts whatsoever. I have been actively involved in the hiring process since 1992 and the only problem with hiring blacks in Bridgeport is Mayor Finch and David Dunn. It was done prior to these two and after they’re gone it will be done again, no doubt.

  10. While some people think their past experience makes them an expert on organized labor (hiring), others think their retired status makes them members of “organized capital” (pensions) and unfit to make judgements on current practices. That’s why we have OIB polls.

  11. Did somebody just attempt to say something? I guess not because they couldn’t give their name and people are supposed to believe them with their no-name self. What a joke.

  12. My doctor has past experience in medicine so I believe what he says, my attorney has 30 years past experience so I listen to him, my accountant has past experience doing taxes so I listen to her. My bad, what the hell was your point?

  13. Experience and facts are overrated while new perspectives and opinions are understated.
    ps–RM, I didn’t address you and you promised you wouldn’t respond to me.

  14. Paul,
    When you write on OIB you are in a free for all, truly. You must have observed that in the past.

    So whether you address one other reader or not, your comments are open to all. Think how this helps the “class average” in terms of understanding.

    Regarding the other issue you raise, I really have forgotten who has made promises to whom about responding to or even reading their comments. Do you keep track? And where is your enforcement sheriff? Don’t think Lennie or Ray care for the most part, do you?

    And remember what Ralph said: “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” There now, Ralph Waldo Emerson had some great observations to make way for lifetime learning, didn’t he? Time will tell.

    1. I’ve reached a new low. I’ve been dissed by JML! My foolishness exposes a “small mind” and he enlists Ralph Waldo Emerson as my judge and jury. Stronger men than me have been thrown to the curb and never heard from again. My only chance is to overcome fate.

      1. LE,
        Not much of a ‘dis’ I suggest. Disagreement maybe but nothing really personal. You have shown a mind that can contemplate more than many, but sometimes have trouble expressing it as directly as some would wish. Have faith and be not fateful. Time will tell.

  15. Their new perspectives aren’t working, their opinions don’t matter, the only thing that matters is we used to be able to hire blacks and women and since Mayor Finch and David Dunn we can’t. In seven years they destroyed what it took 40 years to build. And that ain’t an opinion, Mr. Legend. Lennie’s words, not mine.

  16. Memo to my detractors: I’m the pitcher and you’re the batter. Translation: This is hardball, I’m controlling the tempo and agenda while you’re just reacting to my latest pitch.

  17. This issue is much bigger than civil service exams and Bridgeport. Our retired firefighters have first-hand experience in the competitive promotion process, but the Finch administration has not provided a factual account of the process they are using. Everything they share is a Finch administration ‘Bridgeport is getting better every day’ media promotion.

    1. Tom White, you are correct, the ball is in Mayor Finch’s court, let him give the voters the information so we all can see the facts and not the spin.

  18. Another fact that cannot be overlooked is if our police are Bridgeport residents they are going to care more 100% of the time. When it’s their neighborhoods that are being vandalized, when their homes are being burglarized, when their cars are being broken into, you can be sure they will be a lot faster to try to get to the bottom of it, or at least show up in a timely manner on calls. That alone speaks to hiring our own neighbors for the job.
    I once filed a complaint about the amount of time it took for someone to show up when my house had been burglarized and ransacked (1.5 hours), and I asked the sergeant on duty if he would have expected a faster response to this type of call had it been his own home and his answer was, “that’s why I live in Stratford.” Nice.

  19. Once Stratford becomes the epitome of a crime-free city, I must agree with North End Neighbor. To localize the police force is a good idea. The law can be changed but just like HB 5886, legislators must unleash their transformative powers.

  20. Has anyone ever noticed most of the high-ranking minority officers have inside jobs? When has there ever been a black female or Hispanic female working as a road supervisor?

    To the rest of the public it has the appearance there are no black or Hispanic supervisors.

    You have to ask why.

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