The Boss Lady Versus Hot Rod – The Politics Of Police Leadership

Left to right in 2022, Roderick Porter, Rebeca Garcia, Captain Lonnie Blackwell address City Council during police chief selection.

In the year Roderick Porter has served as police chief relative peace has imbued the department and community led by a top cop who conducts weekly Facebook live sessions to communicate with his constituency, something largely shunned by his predecessor Rebeca Garcia who is still meowing ad nauseum about the transgression by Mayor Joe Ganim selecting Porter over her for the permanent position.

“Politics, it’s all politics,” Garcia whines to anyone willing to listen. Of course no politics involved her selection as the first Latina to lead the department, albeit in an acting capacity, right? Of course not. The times she’d wedge herself out of the building to make community appearances she’d often pat herself on the back for being the “boss lady.” She loved being called that.

The Boss Lady became so dismayed by politics that a transformation overwhelmed, sprouting her candidacy for City Council supporting the mayoral run of John Gomes who hasn’t been bashful featuring and lauding her at campaign events, Garcia often lurking in the background for photo ops. Garcia lost her council candidacy but she remains a vocal Gomes supporter.

It’s also been about two years since the deaths of Black women Lauren Smith-Fields and Brenda Lee Rawls led to state legislation changing family notification laws. The sequence of events took on a life of its own and even went national, irrespective of how both died, according to medical examiners: Rawls cardiovascular disease and Smith-Fields an accidental death from “acute intoxication due to the combined effects of fentanyl, promethazine, hydroxyzine, and alcohol” after a hook up with a White male in her apartment she met on the Bumble dating site.

In the unfortunate accidental death of Smith-Fields, personal responsibility took a back seat to tardy family notification with many police critics fanning the certainty of wrong-doing involved in the tryst, even though the White male called police when she was unresponsive.

Lawsuits have been filed asserting race had something to do with the disconnect of timely family notification.

As was often the case during department controversies, Garcia punted comment to the mayor’s office creating the falsehood that somehow a gag order was in place. There was no gag order. Garcia simply did not want to deal with the heat. In fact at the height of the maelstrom, she went on vacation declaring she needed a mental health break. Entreaties from the mayor’s office to Garcia to be more community accessible were rejected, even when the narrative can by controlled via social media outreach.

While Garcia was in charge discrimination lawsuits filed against her by Black officers have cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.

In the high-leverage, high-stress world of policing, harmony is a rare thing, with police officers taking sides. Most Black officers were happy to see Garcia replaced, many Hispanic cops a different opinion. Community interaction under Porter has improved dramatically but he, too, will likely have his internal moments of resistance. It’s the nature of the dimension.

Meanwhile another Democratic primary for mayor is on the horizon January 23.

Whether they like it or not, a community bubble is building about police leadership: Porter or Garcia?

This comment to the Connecticut Post from attorney Darnell Crosland who represents families in the recently filed lawsuits adds to the discussion.

“I know that no amount of money in the world can ever make these families whole again, but we urge the City of Bridgeport to do the right thing in compensating these families for what they have suffered. And I thank Mayor (Joe) Ganim for his words and sentiments expressed to these families. He can’t solve this alone but has certainly been pushing for change and we are certain he will lead the council to resolve this matter expeditiously.”

Ganim’s comment to CT Post regarding the lawsuits:

“It is clear that our police department under the leadership of former acting Chief Rebeca Garcia should have handled the response to the untimely deaths better. Communication and timely notifications with the families was critical in this difficult moment for them. Chief (Roderick) Porter has assured me that something like this will never happen again.”

Porter’s response:

“Since taking over as chief, we have taken concrete measures in the department to ensure the timely and compassionate notification to families when incidents like this occur. By taking these measures, we are making sure that tragedies like these will not happen again in our city.”

Meanwhile, the politics will play out in the days leading to the primary do-over.





  1. “It’s all politics”. Everyone knows that!!
    I had said that Capt Porter should be the one made during the time the AJ was working his way into that position. Matter of fact I told AJ to get his pension and leave while he was “acting” chief. I saw the writing on the wall back then.
    Turns out that so far, Porter was the right choice and should have been made back then.
    Look what happened after AJ’s ‘annointment’!!
    It’s all politics all right and Ganim got away with another scandal.

    1. My bad, Chief. Here’s A Fun Earthly fact or not-so-fun

      “The age for boys having criminal responsibility is 15, but the age for girls at 9 is “extremely low” JS

  2. I think that Rich hit on the real “elephant(s) in the room(s)” — stretching tail-to-trunk from City Hall #2 to BPD HQ — that being the RIGGED POLICE CHIEF TEST SCANDAL (et al.), that has taken a place in the “hidden,” unresolved trunk full of scandals of the past 8 years. With “Ballot Gate” now occupying center stage in the SCANDAL CITY PLAYHOUSE, the world is starting for forget about SCRAP METAL GATE, POLICE CHIEF TEST GATE, and all of the other GATES swinging loose in the breeze throughout recent Bridgeport city history…

    It would be a good thing to have an edition of the Connecticut Sunday Post, with several pages dedicated to a review of the political scandals in Bridgeport during, say, just the past decade — in time for the Mayoral General Election Re-Do of 2/27/23… (Incredibly, it seems that even “Ballot Gate” is starting to fade into the background as part of the new Bridgeport “normal”…)


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