The New Britain Police Department does not have enough officers and the public has taken notice.
The department is now down by 40, a quarter of the previous force.
The city’s hands have been tied for years because of budget problems, but on Wednesday night, leaders said change is coming.
The New Britain Police Department has not hired anyone since 2009 because of a hiring freeze in tough financial times, but the police chief just got the approval to take applications and put more officers on the force.
“We want to hire more officers in the quickest possible fashion,” said Chief Jim Wardwell.
New Britain Police have done their best to make their presence known and have gotten into neighborhoods, but fighting crime hasn’t been easy being 40 officers short.
“No there are not enough cops on the street,” said Jose DeJuan, the owner of North Street Laundromat.
He claimed the problems in the area have been constant since he opened about a year ago.
“We have issues with prostitution. We have issues with drug dealing,” DeJuan said.
He said the problems have hurt his business.
“They scare our clientele. They scare people in the neighborhood,” DeJuan said.
It is time for New Britain to make a change, and start hiring police, he said.
“It's very unfortunate that we have to wait/ We are paying our taxes -- taxes go up, our services are going down,” DeJuan said.
Wardwell said he wants to fill the 40 positions and to be fully staffed by the end of the year.
“Full staff would mean a lot for public safety,” Wardwell said.
Neighbors said there was no question that more police would benefit this community.
“Their presence will make us feel better,” DeJuan said.
He also believe more police presence would allow his business to thrive.
The city is also trying to get a grant for an additional seven positions.
New Britain will accept applications for the 21st.
If you’re interested, call the New Britain Police Department at 860-826-3000.