With the Hartford City Council’s approval to reallocate money, a portion of the Hartford Police Department budget will now be used elsewhere.
According to the mayor's office, the passed budget includes 6 percent of reductions from and reallocation within the police department budget compared with last year. That amounts to $1.6 million cut and an additional $1 million reallocated within the police department.
“If it’s gonna end up back in the community and the community is going to reap the benefits, and it’s taxpayer's money, I mean it’s a no brainer to me,” said Jason Dee.
Reacting to the news, Hartford residents we spoke with embraced the idea of helping the community. The money is said to now be redirected toward social services.
“I think it’s a good thing because we need more funding in the social services,” said Lucette Tucker of Hartford.
People we spoke with were largely in favor of helping the community, yet there are some concerns where the money is coming from.
“Get the money from somewhere else,” said Lenny Tesidore of Hartford. “That’s what I think. Not from the Hartford Police. Come on. That’s the ones protecting us.”
The money reallocated within the department is set to go toward initiatives like creating a permanent domestic violence team, increasing beat officers, and additional training, such as racial bias screening, trauma counseling and career development training, especially for minority officers. The mayor said the money taken from the police budget will go to other programs, including DPW services and housing inspections.
One community leader said he’d like to see more change, but this is a start.
“It’s the beginning in regards to the change we need to see in our community and across the country,” said Sam Gray.
Gray is the president of The Boys & Girls Clubs of Hartford, which Thursday broke ground on a new facility to be built in Hartford’s South End.
Boys & Girls Clubs are just one of the many types of services that could potentially see additional money as a result of funds being pulled from the Hartford Police budget and moved into other areas of the community.
“To know that more resources are available for Boys & Girls Clubs and other organizations that are impacting young people who really need us most, that’s exciting,” said Gray. “That’s what we should be doing.”
The budget still needs to be approved by Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin, which he says he will do.