Who Has The Upper Hand To Be Top Cop?

The next top cop will come from tri-candidates Acting Chief Rebeca Garcia, Captain Lonnie Blackwell and retired Captain Roderick Porter.

Mayor Joe Ganim has announced a timeline for a public vetting where the candidates will be sized up for arguably the second most influential position in city government, a transparent action compared to the opaqueness of the last search four years ago when Ganim tapped his long-time friend A.J. Perez who would resign in disgrace two years later for meddling with the testing process that provided him an unfair advantage.

Ganim’s selection was a self-inflicted wound.

This is a chance for the candidates to show their stuff in what could very well be disquieting situational questions during community forums.

Ganim wants someone who can manage the building, but key also is how the chief responds when community heat is turned up. Garcia, who Ganim appointed to replace Perez, has been largely loathe to visible community presence in the face of controversies irrespective of the social media tools available to communicate with the public.

This was evident in the police notification controversies involving two Black women that received national attention particularly the case of Lauren Smith-Fields who a medical examiner determined died of an accidental overdose following a night of drinking and drugging with a Bumble date in her apartment.

What clearly was a case of personal responsibility morphed into a tornado of public torrent, some investigative community groups fanning the flames of demagoguery that placed the police department on public trial. Cops didn’t cause Smith-Fields death yet that’s the way it was portrayed, something sinister had to be at hand. Timely family notification became a pawn in the yarn of race-baiting, community marches and political posturing.

The department was put in a tough spot yet Garcia ghosted community dialogue. This is a chief who feels no obligation to be present when the time is at hand.

Garcia must shine publicly over the next several weeks or Blackwell and Porter flop in the community forums for her to receive a five-year appointment from Ganim. Community interaction should be strength areas for Blackwell and Porter.

The last thing Ganim wants in a reelection year is a phantom chief during a summer spike in crime.

Other factors will be in play. Management skills, deployment, favoritism, morale, budgeting.

If you’re a proponent of advanced degrees Blackwell and Porter check that box.

What’s the politics of this police chief choice?

The last two chiefs have been Hispanic. Blackwell and Porter are Black. Both Blackwell and Porter feel they’ve been marginalized during Garcia’s time at the top. All three have their supporters and detractors inside the building and out.

Look for Ganim to make a selection in mid November.

Meanwhile the candidates prepare for a public examination.



  1. Do we have this right?
    At this moment there are three candidates who were at or near the top of a list of candidates seeking employment in Bridgeport as Chief of Police, presumably for a five year contracting period. The three applied through the process outlined by the IACP, independent of City government, and professionals themselves with wide experience working with cities where poverty in the population, relative decrease in youth school results and after school activities, and City resources likewise stretched from past administrative and legislative choices present as background.
    These folks are relatively known to at least some of the public from their police activities. They also have service time during challenges including City and Police leadership acting outside the law and spending time behind bars for their corrupt choices. They are not perfect. And specific grades as assigned by IACP only separate them from the lowest scores that somehow were derived with some subjectivity in addition to objective components.
    How do they propose to meet their neighbors, make their case, and cause possible trust to sprout where there may be none presently? What will Ganim2 use as criteria? Does he care to share that with us as a first step towards renewing trust and moral authority in the Police Force? Will he care to comment on seeming stagnation and dormancy in his chosen Police Commission? Time will certainly tell shortly.

  2. Granted, I have not explored this Police Chief national search as thoroughly as others in this discussion. I’ve relied mostly on CT Post reporting. Nor do I have any personal relationships within the Department or inside knowledge.

    That said, two observations.
    1. After a seemingly above-board national search, the three finalists are all from Bridgeport? And one candidate seems to have a checkered past. Are police chief pickings so sparse or Bridgeport so undesireable?
    2. With no slight intended to anybody, it would seem logical to bring in an outsider with no favors owed or allegiances.

    Hoping for the best.

    1. With those in charge, there is no hope. And everyone who knows how Bridgeport operates knows that. Arguably, the mayor and then, the head of the party , Mario, are the two top importantes. That being said, only then is the above true as far as the “2nd” most important position. The best of a “nation wide” search correct? Yeah ok. Not many applicants. Those in the police field who are at the top of their game would not even consider applying. They “know.” So does everybody with just a bit of knowledge on how things work in Bridgeport.
      Good luck.

  3. We have attended the hearings where the IACP representatives including Dr. Lee told us what they were retained to do. And the steps of their process have been followed narrowing the field of those who responded to about one dozen candidates.
    What has not been revealed is what happened to this list? Where were folks from? Were there any instructions or extra points added to candidate scores for having served in the Bridgeport Department previously or lived in the community, factors which could possibly skew results when looking at the final three? What weight was given to different levels of educational achievement?
    Finally, in an exit interview, did the IACP have any comments on underlying community issues they found which they may wish to point out to the citizen, taxpayer, voters, as we have to deal with such issues going forward with whichever Chief the Ganim2 selects? Time will tell.

  4. Well well well, we finally may be getting some type of transparency within this so called “Nationwide Police Chief Search”. I’m still at a loss of words that Garcia a woman with only an “Associates degree” who can’t apply to any other police department in the country is allowed to compete for the largest city in the state’s top cop job. Not to mention that Garcia has a lot of skeletons in her closet. Had Garcia who early on in her career had been involved in numerous domestic violence incidents with her ex-lover and who also threatened a woman over that ex-lover who was on the job as well had been arrested and not “TAKEN CARE OF” by her boys in blue. I wonder the path her career would have taken or if it would have even lasted.
    Time will tell if Garcia’s reckless behavior in her personal life and career that not to mention has cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars in lawsuits will come to an end within the next few months. What will Joe do? I wonder who will, have Joe’s ear this time around?


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