Gov. M. Jodi Rell offered additional state police help to Hartford to address the increased violence over the Memorial Day weekend. In a letter Wednesday Rell said that Mayor Eddie Perez declined the offer. In his response Perez said he never declined the offer. At 10:30 a.m. Thursday, June 1 Perez was headed over to the state Capitol, possibly to speak with Rell. Keep reading to see what each of their letters had to say.
May 31 2006Hon M. Jodi RellGovernorState of Connecticut State CapitolHartford, CT 06106Dear Governor Rell:Thank you for sharing with me today the letter you sent out yesterday to the media concerning recent shooting incidents in Hartford. Though I was pleased to read about your concern about public safety issues in Hartford, I was shocked by your false statement that I had declined your offer of state police assistance at some point this year.Over the past 18 months I, along with many other Mayors have asked multiple times for assistance from your administration on a number of public safety issues including: increased investigatory resources to get illegal guns off the street, increased supervision of those on probation and parole, increased funding to hire police officers, additional funding for ex-offender transition and tougher laws to prevent the trafficking of illegal guns. I expressed these points once again at your February 14th meeting of Mayors on public safety (the only time this year you have discussed the issue with me) and to date, you have not made any substantial offer of resources of any type.In light of your new offer, I will ask Chief Harnett to immediately convey to Colonel Lynch the specific assistance he believes the Connecticut State Police could provide to assist the Hartford Police in their strategy to eliminate gun violence from Hartford. However, the points I have made to you for the past 18 months remain. Election year photo opportunities do not constitute a crime fighting strategy. I believe a comprehensive, robust, multi-agency effort of enforcement, prosecution, monitoring and support of ex-offenders are the surest way to significantly reduce violence in our urban communities.Sincerely,Eddie A. PerezMayor May 31, 2006The Honorable Eddie A. PerezOffice of the Mayor550 Main StreetHartford, CT 06103Dear Mayor Perez: I have received your response to my letter of yesterday offering additional State Police assistance with the ongoing violent crime problems in the City of Hartford. I was pleased to make the offer and I am gratified that Chief Harnett contacted Colonel Edward Lynch of the Connecticut State Police requesting “the specific assistance he believes the Connecticut State Police could provide to assist the Hartford Police.” For your information and at my direction Colonel Lynch immediately began to restructure State Police patrol and investigative forces in an effort to accommodate the Chief’s request. The State Police will work cooperatively with the Hartford Police Department – as it always has – to protect the citizens of Hartford. In your letter you state that “[o]ver the past eighteen months” you had requested state assistance with Hartford crime problems, but had received no “substantial offer of resources of any type.” Let me remind you that just ten months ago the Connecticut State Police assigned both a contingent of undercover narcotics officers and its Traffic Squad to work with the Hartford Police Department in combating violent crime and quality of life issues in the north end of Hartford. To do so, of course, came at the cost of reduced narcotics and traffic enforcement in other parts of the state. Nevertheless, your request was immediately granted. I might add that the funding for the State Police Traffic Squad also included a $75,000 grant at no cost to the City of Hartford. Moreover, over the past several months the Connecticut State Police have held numerous formal and informal discussions and meetings with the Hartford Police Department to offer additional assistance. To that end, the State Police have committed to certain enforcement actions which should not be detailed in writing, but of which you are undoubtedly aware. Furthermore, we had hoped to initiate such actions several months ago but we were asked to put such actions on hold.You also stated that you have received no response to your requests for investigative resources and “tougher laws to prevent the trafficking of illegal guns.” In fact, I fully supported legislation that would require handgun owners to report the loss or theft of any firearm. Unfortunately, after overwhelming approval in the State Senate, that measure was voted down in the House of Representatives. As to investigative resources, I proposed the creation of the Urban Violence Crime Task Force along with $500,000 of new funding to support its work. At my urging, the General Assembly amended Connecticut General Statutes Section 29-179f to create the Urban Violence Task Force. Unfortunately, the General Assembly approved only $300,000 of new funding for this initiative. I look forward to working cooperatively with you to combat the unacceptable and growing violence problem in your city. Thank you. Sincerely, M. Jodi RellGOVERNOR Click here to read Perez’s Tuesday press release on the violence in the Capitol City.