Residents rally for more police officers in New London

NEW LONDON, Conn. (WTNH) — In 2011, there were 99 sworn officers in New London. Now, there are 68 and only about 40 of them patrol the streets.

At a public hearing held at City Hall on Monday night, dozens of people came out to plead with officials to find money to hire more officers.

“The citizens have articulated that they’re concerned about their safety and a lack of police coverage in the city,” said Jay Wheeler, Chairman of the New London Neighborhood Alliance.

Wheeler, along with several other people who spoke out, says one of the biggest issues with a small force is response times that are taking too long.

“People are having to wait an hour, sometimes three hours, for an officer to come cause they just are being reactive and going from call to call. So, it’s not safe for the officers and it’s not safe for the citizens,” said Wheeler.

Related Content: Hamden police stepping up community involvement & patrols

“We don’t have the magnitude of officers that we used to have where we can address everything at once. Some calls take three, four, five cops and the other calls have to wait. The problem is if they’re both in serious nature then you run out of cops,” said Tom Lynch, President of the Police Union.

Mayor Michael Passero listened as residents voiced their concerns. In a written statement he said, “Mayor Passero firmly believes that due to the diligent efforts and outstanding professionalism of the men and women of the New London Police Department that this community is, at this time, safe and well policed.”

An ordinance passed in 2014 states the city needs to have 80 sworn officers. Passero and council members say the money just isn’t there to hire an additional 12 officers. Passero said they are working toward the goal of full staffing as resources become available.

“We’re not saying that the city is unsafe. We’re saying it’s not as safe as it could be with additional officers,” said Lynch.

Related Content: Watertown Police to add bicycle patrol units

Both the police union and residents are asking the city to take money that the city makes when police are hired for out of department work like traffic control for utility work or staffing at certain events and put that money directly into the police department. Right now those dollars are placed in the city’s general fund.

Residents are also asking the city to fund K-9 teams.

WTNH NEWS8 provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Also, you can now block any inappropriate user by simple selecting the drop down menu on the right of any comment and selection "Block User" from there.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s