Waterbury residents, police discuss call response times

(WTNH / Renee Chmiel)

WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — Waterbury residents and police came together at a public forum on Wednesday night. There have been several community meetings like this one, but this was to discuss call response times.

Fahd Syed went to the meeting. Like some residents, he’s had to wait after calling the police.

“We did have problems. It took us at one point like a day or so for them to get back to us,” he said.

Residents spoke directly to police department leadership about their concerns.

“We waited 19 hours for a police officer,” one resident said at the forum.

Residents have addressed their concerns with State Representative Stephanie Cummings, and she wanted them to discuss it with the police.

“I think a lot of what needs to happen is for the public to understand what the prioritization of calls is and to have a better understanding of how the police department operates,” she said.

Waterbury Police Chief Vernon Riddick explained how the police department prioritizes calls. Certain situations need to be addressed first, and others sometimes have to wait.

“Emergency calls are always handled,” said Riddick. “It’s my understanding if there is an issue, it would be for lower priority calls – barking dogs, past larcenies and things like that.”

Police took information from residents, and promised to address their concerns. They want residents to feel they have a voice and that they are being heard.

“I’m not knocking our police,” said Waterbury resident Joe Perugini. “Our police men and women are fantastic. It’s the leadership I think needs a little tweaking.”

“It’s a big concern,” said Syed. “We have to make sure that the police get there. I know they’re busy.”

Residents also addressed other concerns at the meeting. They brought up noise, drugs and police staffing.

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