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Bridgeport Pledges $1 Million To Put Community Policing In Public Housing

Bridgeport Mayor Joseph Ganim, center, announces the new Community Policing Task Force, while Police Chief AJ Perez looks on.
Bridgeport Mayor Joseph Ganim, center, announces the new Community Policing Task Force, while Police Chief AJ Perez looks on. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — A new community policing initiative will mean an immediate, permanent police presence and future tenant patrols, youth groups and security enhancements at all city public housing complexes, Mayor Joseph Ganim announced Monday.

The Community Policing Task Force includes two sergeants and 16 officers, who will be deployed over two, eight-hour shifts each day. The officers will patrol inside the buildings and around the grounds and form partnerships with tenants.

The Bridgeport Housing Authority has committed $600,000 to the effort, with the city funding at least another $400,000 in bonding for infrastructure improvements and beautification in all five housing projects and other key locations, the mayor said.

Ganim said he believes all city residents deserve to feel safe and secure in their own homes. The renewed emphasis on community policing will offer residents a chance to work with police to stem the tide of violence.

“We’ve gone to too many funerals,” said Ganim, who made the announcement in a police substation on Reservoir Avenue.

He had opened the “unofficial” substation last July during his run for mayor, in the wake of one of the worst shootings in the city’s history.

On June 11, three gunmen opened fire at a late night gathering in a nearby Trumbull Gardens parking lot, killing Savonnie McNeil, 37, of Shelton, and injuring eight others, including a woman inside her apartment.

On Monday, Police Chief AJ Perez agreed to make the substation a permanent official police post. The city’s mobile command center will be deployed, as needed, to areas where a physical presence is needed, he said.

Though the plan was announced near Trumbull Gardens, it will also cover Charles F. Greene Homes, P.T. Barnum Apartments, Marina Village and Harborview Towers.

City Council member Denese Taylor-Moye, who lives in Marina Village, said she hopes the initiative will lead to more youth programming and deter gangs.

“More young people are doing time. Everyone needs to be educated,” she said. “This is for all. This is not just for some.”

The funding is expected to cover the initiative through August, when a class of 29 new police officers is expected to graduate and be sworn in. Ganim and members of the Housing Authority said they hope to then begin Phase 2 of the plan.

“We’re very excited about what’s going to happen,” said Housing Authority Chair Dulce Nieves.

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