One week from the application deadline Acting Police Chief Rebeca Garcia isn’t saying if she’s going to apply for the permanent top cop position.
According to the timeline established by the city and International Association of Chiefs of Police, three finalists for the job will be presented in September to Mayor Joe Ganim for selection.
The organization representing black police officers that has been at odds with Garcia during her tenure as acting chief doesn’t want her to apply.
Leadership of the Bridgeport Guardians has been harsh critics of the acting chief accusing her of favoritism with Hispanic officers causing a “racial divide” in the department. Garcia is the first Hispanic female to lead the department appointed by the mayor nearly two years ago after the resignation and subsequent conviction of Armando Perez for rigging the top cop test in his favor.
Garcia has a reputation as a tough disciplinarian but the Guardians assert she’s not egalitarian in the approach.
In a news release the organization accuses her of “a pattern and practice of creating a hostile work environment and retaliation against Black and White officers by launching frivolous complaints and internal affairs investigations against Black officers she dislikes while favoring Hispanic officers with high regards and respect. For example, Acting Chief Rebeca Garcia has handed out minimal to no discipline against Hispanic officers and, in some cases, have personally removed their discipline from the process of a mandated Loudermill hearing while unfairly targeting certain Black officers of this organization, along with White officers, for unfair discipline by utilizing the office of internal affairs to control the outcome of these illegal investigations, which fall under the guidance of the Mayor and Board of Police Commissioners.”
Garcia’s had a frosty relationship with Ganim so even if she applies and lands among the three finalists, it’s hard to see that he’d select her. That, of course, would depend on the other finalists.
The City Charter empowers the mayor to appoint a chief to a five-year contract approved by the City Council. The mayor has the option to extend the chief another five years.