Christine Stuart photo
The rats at their feet, the mold in the air, and the obscenely high lead levels had a group of Hartford Police Dispatchers crying foul Friday. Standing outside police headquarters at 50 Jennings Road, Hartford Police Dispatchers said they want a new place to work because the current building is unfit for humans. AFSCME Local 1716 President Clarke King said “we want the city to step up and address the health and safety issues.”
Shyrlene Chapman, a dispatcher who has worked in the building adjacent to the landfill for the last 18 years said while the city has provided rat traps its done little else to remedy some of the problems with air quality in the building. They’re done nothing to address the terrible smells, mold, fungus and dirt she said. She said she’s begging the mayor to intervene and find a new building for the dispatchers. Joyce Evoy, who worked in the building for 15 years said 50 of the 47 dispatchers she worked with developed respiratory problems they did not have as children. She said only six of them were smokers. King said while the city has plans to build a new Public Safety Complex downtown it’s still unclear if the dispatchers will be moved to the new location. He said he brought the situation to the City Council who seemed to be on board with it, but it’s still unclear where Mayor Eddie Perez stands on the issue. “I won’t be happy until the building is condemned,” King said. The city has yet to answer a letter the union sent last week. But it’s an election year so it’s likely if you ask you will receive as long as it counts as a vote for Perez.