Hartford Police Ramp Up Recruitment Efforts

The Hartford Police Department is hiring amid a violent stretch this summer.

The department is short about 100 officers from providing adequate coverage of the city and has been using overtime for existing officers in order to make up the staffing shortfall.

Mayor Pedro Segarra said the reason his budget included funding for several dozen positions and not the full 100 had to do to with the appetite for tax hikes in order to pay for the officers.

"We had an issue of trying to keep our mill rate stable," Segarra said. "One clear thing from our communities is that they could not afford and did not want to pay more taxes."

The city has experienced 20 homicides so far this year, slightly outpacing last year's total.

He cautioned that more police doesn't mean fewer shootings or killings.

"I think to call it reactive would conclude that more police officers would have prevented the homicides and I think the two need to be examined separately. The question being if there were more police officers would there be less homicides and I don’t think that that’s necessarily the case," Segarra said.

The mayor met with about 50 students who participated in the Hartford Youth Public Safety Academy this summer. They worked with police officers, firefighters, and other emergency personnel employed by the city.

Segarra said the academy for young people is key in getting Hartford residents interested early in becoming police officers and firefighters.

"Hartford is not alone in its police staffing challenges. Other major cities are having trouble with their recruitment efforts of police officers and firefighters so its very important that we get creative in the way that we seek to establish that pipeline," Segarra said.

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