Ganim and Perez: Police presence to increase
BRIDGEPORT — Mayor Joe Ganim and Police Chief A.J. Perez said Thursday afternoon that Bridgeport’s future includes increased patrols throughout the city.
Ganim and Perez hosted a press conference in the Mayor’s Conference Room on Broad Street Thursday, where they addressed a recent spate of homicides and other crimes.
“We’re going to have increased manpower starting tomorrow,” Ganim said.
This increased police presence is enabled by the swearing-in of 24 new Bridgeport police officers scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday. Ganim said this makes a total of 52 new officers since Perez become chief. And the mayor said an additional 29 are in the police academy now.
The 24 sworn in Thursday evening are the second of three classes put in place in the city in just over a year as a part of a commitment to rebuild the police department, Ganim said.
“I know they’re ready,” Perez said of the new officers. “New, young officers are going to be hitting the streets with a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of pride.”
Ganim said the increased patrols will be throughout the city, with a focus on areas where shootings and increased incidents have been on the rise.
“I am not happy or satisfied with one shooting in our city,” Ganim said. “One shooting is too many.”
Ganim briefly addressed his presence in the area of an incident of shots fired Thursday morning.
“I was in the vicinity, there were shots fired,” Ganim said.
He said he was at a residence to offer his condolences to a mother that recently lost her son to gun violence when they heard shots being fired.
Due to the ongoing police investigation into the incident, nether Ganim or Perez provided more information.
“We have video; we have made progress,” Perez said of the incident.
“Shots fired anywhere in the city is against the law and will not be, to the best of our ability, be tolerated,” Ganim said.
Perez said he has been working on making adjustments to the department to manage the number of homicides in 2017.
“We have officers in strategic areas gathering intelligence and arresting people that are known to us to be involved in nefarious and criminal activity,” Perez said.
But beyond the increased police patrols and areas of focus, the city is working on more.
Ganim said $250,000 has been devoted to youth programs throughout the city, similar to programs that were held throughout the city last summer.
Ernie Newton spoke briefly about the importance of focusing on the youth to improve the future of Bridgeport at the press conference.
“We need to have parents and brothers and uncles talk to their relatives,” he said. “We need to do better as a community ... If we sit back knowing this stuff is going on and fail to do something, we’re just as guilty. It’s time for the community to rise up.”