People in New Haven got a chance to speak up about safety in their neighborhood, and they got the ears of the mayor and the police chief.
Both are looking to build trust with the community, especially after a man was left paralyzed while in police custody.
The first of three public safety town halls took place at Hill Regional Career High School on Thursday. The concerns ranged from police policies to quality of life issues.
“How many officers live in New Haven?” asked one person.
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“How are they assigned and can they be rotated?” asked another.
“Of course there are good cops and bad cops,” one person said.
Some raised concerns about the case of Randy Cox. He was left paralyzed after being hurt when a police transport van he was traveling in suddenly stopped.
“When incidents like Randy Cox happen I don’t blame you for not trusting us. So we are going to do everything we can to get that trust back and move forward,” said Police Chief Karl Jacobson.
Jacobson spoke to neighbors just about a week after being sworn in as the city’s top cop. He shared his vision for the force.
“The first four words I think about are transparency, accountability, diversity and stability,” Jacobson said.
Already, the department has announced extensive rule changes in terms of how police handle the transport of people in their custody.
Besides an update on the Cox case and letting folks get to know the new chief, the mayor said this is really about continuing a conversation with people about what public safety means to them.
“We have a lot of very, very successful programs and the spirit of community policing we believe is alive and well in the police department. We got more work to do,” said Mayor Justin Elicker, D – New Haven.
More town halls are scheduled for the coming weeks.
There’s one on July 26 at 6 p.m. at Family Academy of Multilingual Exploration at 255 Blatchley Ave. and Aug. 3 at 6 p.m. at James Hillhouse High School at 480 Sherman Ave.