Protected by the Best and Represented by the Finest
Being protected from physical, social and economic harm is a right for every citizen in our community. To deliver public safety through a lens of efficient action and community trust, we must acknowledge the adjustments that are necessary to serve the largest city in the State of Connecticut. It is critical for Bridgeport to support its’ 147,000 residents by improving the overall working conditions of our public safety personnel. In addition, it is imperative to prioritize our ability to serve and have the public safety sector be fully integrated within the Bridgeport community. A top priority of this administration is to provide the best public safety practices possible, while being fiscally responsible with the hard earned tax dollars of our residents.
Revitalize the Structure of the Bridgeport Police Department (BPD)
The Bridgeport Police Department (BPD) is currently experiencing a crisis which directly affects the public safety of our community. The department is understaffed by over 130 police officers, with the possibility of more retiring by the end of June. We are operating under a massive shortage and increasing exodus of our public safety personnel. To attract and retain talent we need to address this crisis with an administration that thinks creatively, prioritizes sustainable growth and most importantly, supports our public safety personnel and our community. The quicker this is addressed, the less of a burden this will be on the residents and the more impact we will have on our city’s morale and safety.
When elected, the goal of our administration will optimize best practices with leadership and management. Initial recommendations include:
1.Wages and benefits, including maternity benefits, must be reviewed. 2.Prioritize recruitment initiatives through a dedicated personnel division. 3.Contract retired police officers to work 19-hours a week on special initiatives and non-emergency engagements to mitigate the temporary shortage of personnel including but not limited to: a. Supporting the traffic division to make our roads safe and focus on decreasing motor vehicle accidents and increasing both vehicle and pedestrian safety. b. Supporting the 911 dispatch center on strategic calls. c. Supporting overall recruitment and engagement within the community. 4.Optimize response time and maximize our resources by assessing current sector divisions throughout the city. 5.Reassess existing officer resources for our 38 schools district wide to continue to strengthen the relationship between students/teachers and the police. 6.Recommend a series of actions to bring forth police accountability through quarterly reviews, continued education, cultural sensitivity training and periodic check-in meetings with the Mayor’s Office. 7.Create a non-emergency portal for citizens to engage with personnel, making it easier for residents to report a specific grievance or observation. Revitalizing our public safety sector will have a direct positive impact on our community. Residents and business owners alike will be able to live and work in a community that maximizes our safety and security by increasing community policing, reducing response times and following up on systemic occurrences.
Improve Overall Working Conditions & Compensation for our Public Safety Personnel: Salary, Benefits, Retirement
Our administration is willing to sit at the table and not only be fair but take an active role when it comes to salary, benefits, equipment and services of our public safety personnel. As a community we will not take shortcuts with our lives and with our families. Currently, most of our public safety personnel are working under extenuating circumstances with depleted resources. For the City of Bridgeport to be competitive when compared to our peer and aspirant cities, we need to make sure that we are supporting our public safety personnel with an equitable contract.
Leverage our Facilities, Technology & Resources
Nationally, we have seen improvements when it comes to the building of new facilities and the adaptation of new technologies into our public safety practices. However, we need to maximize the potential of these resources in our own community and foster an environment of best practices and growth. We need to synergize public safety purchases across the city such as facilities, vehicles, and auto parts. A coordinated effort amongst departments will maximize our purchasing power and reduce overall waste. To address the rising cost associated with improving our public safety resources, we need to align efforts with the priorities of the Department of Justice (DOJ) to take advantage of funded programs. In addition, we need to approach our training needs more strategically. A new training facility for the City of Bridgeport and all neighboring cities was proposed in 2017. This state-of-the-art facility can provide comprehensive curriculum training with real event scenarios to our force that will make the City of Bridgeport a leader in state public safety training.
Integrate Public Safety Best Practices into the Community
We all benefit from the public safety operations within our city. Furthermore, we all have a stake in implementing best practices through community engagement and holding our departments accountable. Residents of Bridgeport need to feel included in the system and be able to provide a diverse voice to the allocations and improvements of the public safety sector.
This starts with our youth. Our children deserve to grow up in a safe and healthy environment. Prioritizing youth programs and engaging with our schools about the impacts of public safety and potential career opportunities will be an important way to support both our children and their families.
Addressing Crime and Increasing the Capacity of our Services:
Our public safety structures must address the realities of crime and public health in our community, including gun violence, hate crimes, property thefts, the rise of motor vehicle accidents and drug use. Our departments need to coordinate a response by increasing the capacity of our medical, counseling, training and social support services to work directly with residents and established social service organizations to improve not only our safety, but our quality of life.
Community Policing & Resident Engagement:
We will make sure that our public safety personnel are integrated into the community by reinforcing their presence and engagement. Community policing is when police officers are assigned to a regular beat and that is the beat that they work every day. This will allow members of the community to get to know the officers assigned to their neighborhood and build a rapport with the people who live there. This approach to policing gives officers a clear investment in the neighborhoods on their beat and allows them to work more effectively with the residents to better understand their needs. In addition, our administration will host monthly meetings to discuss public safety with the residents and small businesses. These meetings will be an opportunity for our community to come together and talk about our goals and achievements, overall areas for improvement and suggestions on how to respond effectively.
The Gomes administration will live in the City of Bridgeport and be invested in our public safety environment. We will experience firsthand what happens outside of the 9-5 workday and be empowered to engage as residents of Bridgeport. These priorities illustrated will have a direct impact with us, the residents of the City of Bridgeport. The more we optimize our resources the more we reduce and prevent crime and create a safe environment for public safety. Our public will be protected by the best and represented by the finest.
Demonstrated Strong Reputation for Support in Public Safety Projects:
The following are projects and initiatives that John Gomes led under his purview when working for the City of Bridgeport. These projects were initiated and implemented along with the Public Safety sector.
Radio Operability Project - $5MM
Electronic Ticketing Process
Mobile Data Terminal: computerized device used in emergency services to communicate with a central dispatcher.
Nexgen: A record management system that allows quality assurance reports between the Police Department and the 911 Emergency Dispatch Center.
Kronos: Implemented to reduce the City of Bridgeport’s policing overtime costs and maintaining accurate payroll information.
Dispatch/EOC Policies and Procedures
Grants for Fusion Center Improvements
New BPD Boat
Waterfront port security projects with EOC OT management
74 new cars with requested allocation for 10 new ones yearly
RTA: A fleet management software that manages parts, equipment and repair orders in an effective and timely manner.
Proposed new regional 12,000 sq ft state of the art training facility with models for training academy and recruitment center.