MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (WTNH)– The new head of the Connecticut State Police is pulling the plug on part of that controversial consolidation of troop barracks in Eastern and Western Connecticut.
It’s the first major change for the state police announced by new commissioner Dora Schriro.
The public outcry about this consolidation originally aimed at saving money brought an effort in the General Assembly to overturn it by statute.
She came there from the Bloomberg administration just a little over two months ago and her first major decision is to reverse one of the most controversial moves made by her predecessor Rubin Bradford.
“I have directed the restoration of 24/7 trooper coverage in all State Police Barracks across the state…effective immediately,” said Schriro.
The consolidation closed down barracks ‘A’ in Southbury and “B” in Canaan, as well as “D’ in Danielson, “E” in Montville, and “K” in Colchester, everyday after regular business hours.
There was no one on duty at night.
State Representative Mae Flexer says she and her colleagues received an avalanche of phone calls and e-mails like this..”The state has gone too far by not having a trooper available 24 hours a day stationed at the barracks. Why are they putting people’s safety at risk?”
“One of the main concerns my constituents had was that the police barracks was no longer accessible to the public, especially in times of emergency,” said Rep. Mae Flexer,(D) Danielson.
“There has been a need, the public has demonstrated that need and we’ve heard the message loud and clear,” said Maj. Michael Darcy, Commander, Eastern District.
As was reported by Tina Detelj last October, people going to those barracks after hours looking for a police officer were confronted with nothing but a call box out front.
“The call box is adequate to address routine requests but not emergencies warranting a safe haven,” said Schriro.
The troopers union has been raising a red flag about this for over two years.
“We applaud her decision and it takes a lot of courage to take this step,” said Sgt. Andy Matthews, State Police Union.
The union representing civilian dispatchers is also praising the move but thinks more can be done.
“They’ve been working double shifts, they’ve had very little time to get their rest to collect themselves,” said Larry Dorman, A.F.S.C.M.E.
9-1-1 and other dispatch chores will remain consolidated in the Eastern and Western Districts but the new Commissioner says that is also under review.