Federal Oversight of Bridgeport Police Department to End: Mayor

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Joe Stiglich

For 27 years, the federal court and a special appointee have overseen the Bridgeport police department after a group of Black police officers sued for racial discrimination and won.

That will soon come to an end.

U.S. District Court Judge Janet Bond Arterton on Monday said she will issue a written decision before the end of the year to end almost 30 years of federal oversight of the police department, according to Mayor Bill Finch’s office.

The decision comes just days after Finch named Joe Gaudett the police chief.  

“Judge Arterton stated her pleasure in being able to return full control of departmental assignments and discipline back to the Department,” Finch said. “Most significantly, the Judge acknowledged the effective leadership of Chief Gaudett in his capacity as Acting Police Chief over the past two plus years, and stated her confidence in the continuing leadership of Chief Gaudett and Assistant Chief Kerwin, both of whom were present in the courtroom today.”

In 1978, a group of Black Bridgeport police officers filed a racial discrimination suit against the city and police commissioners.  Fours years later, the court found that there was discrimination in assignments, working conditions and the disciplinary process and a special master was appointed, according court documents.

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