Chief Jason Thody of the Hartford Police Department spoke to NBC Connecticut about his remorse after a detective was found trying to place bets on what would be the location of the first homicide of 2021.
"I think everyone is equally disturbed, disappointed, saddened. We’ve reached out to a lot of members of the community I think we’ve got a lot of work to do to make this right," Thody said.
Hartford Police said the detective, who made the suggestion for a betting pool via text message, is Jeff Placek. Officials said Placek is being demoted and suspended for 120 days.
The chief said Placek, who is a 16-year veteran of the force, had a pretty positive work record. The chief said he has no idea on the origins of the message.
"I have nothing for this one and I have no idea what would make anyone think that that was OK," said Thody. "That’s part of the reason that I ordered a fitness for duty evaluation psychological evaluation because I don’t know how someone comes up with that and doesn’t have something underlying going on."
The chief anticipates blow back from the community and said that he understands.
"This is not one of those there’s two sides to every story. This is so egregious that this is going to impact our relationship."
Despite that, Thody said he believes he and his department will regain that trust.
"It’s our responsibility to rebuild that and to reinforce the fact that it’s not representative of the Hartford police department."
Reverend Henry Brown, an active member in the Hartford community and executive director for Mothers United Against Violence, said he was disappointed to hear about the situation but he still believes in the mission of the law enforcement.
"To find out that that happened again very disturbing but we’re not condemning them because one guy's mistake," Brown said.
According to department, Placek was in the Major Crimes Division, which helps solves homicides, and Brown is thankful for that work.
"We still support major crimes for the work they do for our community. A lot of people are appalled. A lot of people are disgusted, but I’m here to tell you and I don’t know if people will receive this or not but I have a lot of respect for major crimes because they’ve brought a lot of closures to some of these families."