“We Put Our Law Enforcement Officers Through Hell”

Jennifer Lynne, a chiropractor whose Backstroke business is located Downtown, works with law enforcement clientele on a regular basis. She’s also married to a Bridgeport police officer. She shares her perspective about the rigors of the job in this commentary.

It’s time we stop saying “he took his own life” when a police officer commits suicide. Spend one day with these officers and see what they go through. Listen to them reminisce about calls they went on, what they had endured and how they were affected. It’s numbing.

The Bridgeport Police Department lost one of their brethren this weekend at his own hand. Some will ask why, others will guess why. I’m here to tell you part of the reason why.

We put our law enforcement officers through hell.

We force them to check their humanity at the door and then we condemn them for being inhumane.

We expect them to represent the community yet the community represents that they aren’t worth a budget increase or being paid on time, if ever.

We force them to save the lives of others yet when they save their own we dissect it, we criminalize it and we judge them for it.

We expect them to bear witness to nightmares yet offer them a charade of support to help them sleep soundly.

Under our charge they are sacrificing their liberty, for when confronted day in and day out with the worst we have to offer there is no way to breathe free.

Under our charge we have imprisoned them to always look over their shoulder. Could be a bad guy, could be a politician with an agenda. Who cares, they are equally as dangerous.

These men and women are scarred because of the work they are doing on our behalf. And when one of these men and women commit suicide, we all have a hand in the taking of their life.

Do your hands feel dirty now? They should.

Proud police wife,

Jennifer Lynne

Bridgeport

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34 comments

  1. Maybe police officers in bridgeport should not use “Excessive force” and maybe the should be “truthful” I’m pro police 100% but lying and using excessive force us unacceptable!!!! 17 police officers not telling the truth and people wonder why the community does not trust them! Maybe bridgeport should have a residency requirement where they do not hire out of town cops who do not like people in our community (sending alleged racist text messages!!!!!))) Hire bridgeport residents!!!!!

    1. Jennifer Lynne: good letter. A police officers job sucks no matter where they work and ESPECIALLY in larger urban environments and ESPECIALLY where the politics are at the lowest of low -as in Bridgeport.
      When I was in Stamford where we had our own problems in the 70’s and 80’s I was the last person to see Officer Kenny Bateman alive, except for the scum bag who killed him when he answered a “routine” alarm call IN DARIEN!! We were having coffee together in the Stamford/Darien border on the midnight shift when his call came in. My point is that it doesn’t really matter the city- only the JOB. The Bridgeport cops need and deserve Professional leadership- not nepotistic practices. That’s my point on the other topic on Lennie’s blog. God bless.

        1. Wow Maria, that’s some revelation!
          However her letter rings true and is well put. The “job” is a difficult one and those who do it day in and day out need to be respected. Those who make mistakes can be corrected and those who abuse their positions need to be dealt with.

  2. Oh please, this is so much bullshit, but I understand that as the wife of a police officer she feel the need to offer an explanation.
    No one is forcing the police to check their humanity at the door and we should condemn them for being inhumane.

    We do expect police to represent the community because they are being paid a very generous salary to do so. Never has the community represent that they aren’t worth a budget increase or being paid on time, that comes from the Mayor and the City Council.

    We don’t force police to save the lives of others we Expect them to do their job to the best of their ability, yet when they save their own No one dissects it, criminalize it or judge them for it. That’s asinine in its self. If any police officer is unhappy with the job all one has to do is leave and find themselves another job which doesn’t carry with it all the problems that this officer’s wife believes it does.

    I think it’s a safe bet that very few if any of those involved in this reprehensible act are Bridgeport residents.

    1. I would only say the following to people that are critical……
      towards police………….
      ………anywhere………..
      You wouldn’t want the cop who comes to work diligently everyday and does his job to the best of his ability with honesty and integrity….which is what 99.9 percent of them do…..
      ……. to turn sour from the public’s comments and actions against them.
      The nature of the job itself will do that on its own. They need all the support and encouragement they can get. They also need THE BEST leadership that could be provided. A good guy does not necessarily equate to a good leader. In today’s world leaders need the education, experience and total integrity to be successful. Nothing personal.

  3. Don, all of this starts at the top starting with the mayor selecting the best candidate from a nationwide test and AJ Perez was the best choice that Mayor Ganim could select. C’ MON MAN, you have got to be kidding. The police department is still being run the same old way, poor training, lack of respect for the residents, there is no new direction and vision at all. AJ Perez is a nice guy but this department needs to go into a new direction and Joe Ganim does not care what direction the department is going. Lying and giving false reports shows that “the blue wall of silence” is still in place. Again, AJ Perez was the BEST candidate in America to be selected as the Bridgeport Police Chief, please, that shows poor leadership from Mayor Ganim.

  4. Being a Bridgeport police officer has to be one of most stressful jobs possible. Bridgeport cops are held to virtually impossible standards under virtually impossible conditions — trying to keep the peace and hold the city together with inadequate resources and support, as well as a lack of understanding between the community and police officers — and often, between the officers and each other.
    I hope that City and BPD leadership take the initiative to bring in outside counseling and organizational psychology resources to help the Department and individual officers deal with the particular stressors of being a member of the BPD… And it probably couldn’t hurt to bring back real community policing so that the community and officers could reestablish some real rapport and trust and mutual appreciation and respect…

    1. Jeff,

      I have to disagree with you. Bridgeport Police Department has one of the best fleets of vehicles, the newly implemented Shot Spotter system trashes away some of the unknown when responding to a shooting. They have the equipment, maybe the focus of the job has changed. With laptops, plate scanners, cameras, etc the dynamics of the job has changed.

      The other things you talk about are leadership issues. I would think that the rank and file would be okay with community policing if it were implemented.

    2. Jeff, you have really missed the point that everything starts at the top and flows down, the top is the leadership and direction from the police chief and this City needs a new direction with a vision and that type of leadership will not come from the current chief AJ Perez.

  5. 1. Youth birthday party nearing Halloween in the backyard of a private home on Colorado Avenue with perhaps 15 youth and a dozen adults present plus a DJ. A noise complaint (?) comes into the PD and officers are dispatched.
    2. According to one section of the official report released (Tape 1) the DJ shut off the music rather promptly, but that did nothing to stop aggressive persons in blue from pushing their presence upon the private party. Citizen resistance brought more call for backup including (10-32) such that up to 46 officers from two shifts were present on scene at one time or another within minutes it seems. (Think of the complaints we often read on OIB about the time it takes PD to respond to break in, damage to property, etc., How did noise issue rise to such prompt and impressive display of “officer power”?
    3. There is no report of gun fire or violence. There is reporting of the liberal use of force beyond training or department policy. There is evidence of lying. Again we get coverup that may be worse than the exact crime and part of the coverup is that this incident from October 2017 was investigated until report returned in November 2018, but, hey we are here in March
    2019. Outrage? Fear over past behavior? Suicides connected or not?
    4. I just completed reading THE THREAT by Andrew McCabe. He provides a very interesting review of FBI process, detail and investigation format and FORMS including 302 used in each interview. Looking at the way our department in similar fashion put together the report does not cause me to question the report (until I would finish reading and thinking) but it does have me ask, what sound equipment do officers carry, or have effective access to to determine whether the sound level when they arrived was excessive for the context (place and time) and when the DJ discontinued the cause of the complaint??? Obviously cameras, public and private caused support for determining truths from lies about what happened.
    5.) It would appear that there are a number of police officers, who despte the difficulty of their work at time, follow their training and department policy and should be recognized for doing good policing in our community. However, like the stories of recent years, Jayson Negron death, innocent deaths from weapons fired at will, departure of Captain Straubel for providing white supremacy statements in revealed communications, failure to control overtime budgets, and the poor and ill timed process to move AJPerez from Acting to Official Police Chief, we have less to be proud of than we should for a City Department that has a $100 Million current budget.
    6.) And who can provide a definitive answer to this question: Are annual reviews or evaluations part of the process for Police Officers so that files are maintained and become the major source of information for promotions or other employment actions in the future? How does such a system work? Who is doing the work? Time will tell.

  6. Eric: Where the BPD is lacking in resources is manpower — they are still severely short-staffed and rely on OT to close the gap… (Too much OT leads to burnout and diminished decision-making capacity, as well diminished ability to deal with general stress effects and the demands of the job…) There are also training deficits and field-leadership shortages — not to mention, critical, high-level leadership shortages/role-model examples… And there are intradepartment and community conflict issues that are unaddressed. These things make officers feel overwhelmed and hobbled, with respect to meeting the demands of Bridgeport’s violent/deadly streets… The restoration of real community policing would go a long way in ameliorating these problems/deficiencies, but outside help to bolster morale within the ranks and effective leadership on the force is also necessary and will take significant $ resources — as will recruiting enough capable officers to deal with our urban population of almost 150,000.

    1. I agree and everything you noted points to leadership. This is why the vast majority of police chiefs have an MBA, or advanced management training.

      There’s a recruiting problem since departments are switching to defined contribution over defined benefit. Add to that Bridgeport’s starting pay leaves a lot to be desired. Certified officers leave for more lucrative departments.

    2. Jeff,
      Who says we are so “SHORTHANDED” in terms of police manpower. Ganim has been about THREE YEARS of hiring,,and hiring,,,and hiring more…and …more..and more police officers. Bridgeport is going to be a police state with Ganim as Mayor. WHERE ARE THE POLICE????????

  7. Ron: From my statement,above, in acknowledgement of the department’s leadership crisis: “…There are also training deficits and field-leadership shortages — not to mention, critical, high-level leadership shortages/role-model examples… “
    Of course, the need for new, strong, enlightened leadership is needed, especially at the top, and in City Hall as well as in BPDHQ… Real leadership, in this regard, would include living among the people being “served and protected.”

  8. Jeff, are you really placing the blame for this reprehensible act on to much overtime? Part of the blame lies with the fact that they are bringing these young white suburban white males into Bridgeport bringing with them all the bias and misunderstanding in dealing with Black and Brown people. They seem to think that they should be respected for no other reason than because they are white and police. The public doesn’t have to respect you for you to do your job although that would be nice.

    Andy Fardy and I didn’t agree on much, but we were in lock step on this issue. He clearly understood that there would be a problem when a kid calls a cop a mutha fucker and they lacked the capacity to deal with this while understanding that profanity is covered by the 1st Amendment right of Freedom of Speech. Jeff, you do a disservice to all those residents that were abused by those renegade cops that took the law into their own hands to write this off as to much overtime.

      1. ‘Wingnut’ may be reacting to suggestions that the norms of behavior of urban people of color should change the expectations of police officers. Yes, Donald Day, white police officers likely were raised in an environment that calls for respect for authority rather than disrespect and defiance they experience in doing their job in Bridgeport.

  9. We have a problem. No one know’s what is going in the Bridgeport Police Department. We are all clueless. Two Suicides. The BPT Police Union remains silent. Shame on the head of the BPT Police Union.. whatever his name is. This leader of the BPT Police Union is nowhere to to be heard. What kind of person is this. Two suicides???????????????

      1. Chuck Paris has come out of hibernation and is defending his union members. Chuck Paris needs to be made more accountable for what is going on in The Bridgeport Police Department. There have been very few comments about Chuck Paris. THAT NEEDS TO CHANGE.

        1. Frank, no, his job is to represent his dues paying members, now if making statements to the media will help his members case then that’s what he’ll do but he’s nowhere near that right now if ever.

          1. I will say this completely up front. Chuck Paris is poorly representing the best interests of the members of the BPT Police Union. The contracts between the BPT Police Union and the City of Bridgeport literally allow for an anything goes labor/management situation. The theory is that the Police Contract for BPT is more liberal/freewheeling about police officers banking vacation,day off,sick time until they retire. I will now call this the “JAMES HONIS SYNDROME.” Some police officers,who happen to be human beings as well” might be able to sustain the pressure. Yet, this original posting claims significant human pressures. If that is the case,then BPT police officers shoul be taking more vacations and more time off to heal the wounds of the constant pressure.

          2. Collective bargaining is the process in which working people, through their unions, negotiate contracts with their employers to determine their terms of employment, including pay, benefits, hours, leave, job health and safety policies, ways to balance work and family, and more. Collective bargaining is a way to solve workplace problems.

        2. Excuse me. Like it or not it is any union leaders job to defend/represent the members. I vigorously defended my guys and provided the best representation I could. That was my job and that’s what I did and it’s no different for Paris or whoever is in charge of the Bridgeport Police Union.

          1. Come on,Rich. A leader of a group of people who are under constant pressure needs to take care of his people. Allowing a contract that is “anything goes” is someone who is not taking care of his people in high pressure jobs. TWO SUICIDES in the BPD.

          2. Rich, I’m in full agreement with you, like the member or not that’s the legal duty of the union President.

  10. Here’s it is. 🙂

    Day, Ron, and JML. what is you have to say about the black and brown cops who seemingly tried to cover the action of the other cop. Do your see the complicity or are you color blind.?

    “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.” MLK

  11. Donald: You’re being extremely simplistic/emotional in your interpretation of my (above) posts… You’re apparently only reading a fraction of what I said — and misinterpreting that part… Read them again. I think that you’ll find that I covered your concerns effectively in the statement(s).
    [Allowing your (understandable) anger to rule your intellectual functioning won’t lead to any solutions for our problems…]

  12. Jeff, be kind to Day, Ron, JML not many people like yourself are equilibrium driven. Day ‘s like a game needing an opponent. Hence the the game. And like the blue wall of silence they tend to over look what there side is doing wrong. Which creates progress to more slowly. Peace out OIB.

    P.S. John best of luck on the winning the board seat because half of the city budget goes to the BOE. and I’m sure a man with your talent and transparency the students will gain. Maria hope you are going to vote for John, a fellow OIB blogger. See how this works people. 🙂

    #silence
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9Dg-g7t2l4

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