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Residents Cheer New Cop Squad For Bridgeport Housing Complexes

Bettie Cook, president of Bridgeport's resident advisory board, speaks with Mayor Joe Ganim about a new police initiative in public housing complexes. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness
James Slaughter, interim executive director of the Bridgeport Housing Authority, signs a memorandum of understanding as Police Chief AJ Perez, left, and Mayor Joe Ganim, right, look on. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — Bridgeport will beef up the police presence at public housing complexes this summer, thanks to a new initiative to stem violence and vandalism and spruce up the sites for beleaguered residents.

A new community policing partnership among the city, the police department and the Bridgeport Housing Authority (BHA) will fund a dedicated patrol of two officers and a sergeant at Trumbull Gardens, Charles F. Green Homes, P.T. Barnum Apartments and other areas, especially on weekend nights.

But don’t ask when they’ll be where, said Police Chief AJ Perez.

“We want to keep them guessing,” he said of potential ne’er-do-wells. “They’ll never know where we’re at.”

Residents greeted the news with relief.

“Yes, yes,” said Trumbull Gardens resident Karen Bracey, clapping at the mayor’s announcement. “This has been a long time coming.”

The BHA will provide about $160,000 in federal funds to cover police salaries and any overtime needed during the first phase of the initiative, said Mayor Joe Ganim. In addition to police presence, he said residents will see improvements to playgrounds and green spaces, fresh paint on exterior doors and new plantings.

It’s hoped residents will get to know the officers and will turn to them for help, such as pointing out a broken lock, the mayor said.

“The commitment to public safety has got to be paramount,” he said.

Perez, who has supported community policing and efforts to add new officers to the force, said he would like to see officers taking an active role in each complex’s community.

“That’s what we need,” said Bettie Cook, president of the Residents Advisory Board. “Having them sitting outside don’t mean anything to the tenants.”

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