Hartford Mayor Looks to Bolster Oversight of Police

Mayor Luke Bronin is laying out ideas to give more powers to a civilian board that oversees the department.

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Amid calls to reform policing in Hartford, Mayor Luke Bronin released a draft of proposed changes for oversight of Hartford Police.

“The City of Hartford has had a Civilian Police Review Board for a number of years. But it’s got some structural weaknesses,” said Bronin.

Among Bronin’s ideas is to give the board:

  • Professional, full-time investigative staff
  • Subpoena power
  • And a process to override the police department’s findings of misconduct

The board would be required to also release quarterly reports about certain complaints such as poor service or discourteous attitude.

“I think what we’re putting forward here are some really significant, structural reforms to the way the CPRB operates to make sure it really is an entity that provides for meaningful oversight and accountability of the police department,” said Bronin.

“I think he’s taking some steps in the right direction,” said Hartford City Councilor Joshua Michtom (Working Families Party).

Michtom says he’d like to still see other changes, including when it comes to the mayor’s power to appoint nearly all the members of the review board.

He also believes this proposal, among others, is only part of what is needed.

“Funding is what makes the department what it is in large part. So, yes I would like to see funding reduced, personnel reduced and accountability increased,” said Michtom.

Now the mayor plans to listen to feedback before sending his plan to the City Council for their meeting on July 13, which will then begin a long legislative process.

While some of this work has been underway since the beginning of the year, the mayor says people taking to the streets has had an impact.

“There’s no question the protests, the movement that we’ve seen nationally and simply our own desire to seize this moment to make real change has added to the urgency to make these changes,” said Mayor Bronin.

Hartford Police referred us to the Police Union for comment.

"At this time the Union does not have any comment we are reviewing the proposed changes with our attorney," Officer Anthony Rinaldi, president of the Hartford Police Union, said in a statement.

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