Public Safety & Police Accountability Circle

Mission: The mission of the PSPA circle is to mobilize and work with the Greater Bridgeport community to elevate public safety needs through centering the voices of people, pursuing public safety through a public health lens, improving the quality of life in the community, and reducing the capacity of the police to cause harm.

We seek to reestablish transparency and partnership among Bridgeport’s residents and redistribute power and resources through community leadership, education, and policy change.

Core Members: Kacey Perkins and Takina Pollock Shafer, Co-Chairs alongside Cynthia Torres, Kyle Langan, and Julian Shafer

PSPA Policy & Research

2017 Police Accountability Research

2019 Public Safety & Police Accountability Research

2019 Policy Recommendations:

  • Strengthen the disciplinary power and modify the structure of a Police
    Commission to more closely reflect a Civilian Review Board
  • Research and purchase Law Enforcement Liability Insurance.
  • Increase transparency in budgetary decisions in order to find ways to give
    more money to Bridgeport’s schools and community programs.
  • Focus funding and policy on addressing and eliminating root causes of
    violence such as mental health, underperforming schools, high cost
    housing, homelessness, employment opportunities with livable wages,
    safety for immigrant communities, among others.
  • Stop rewarding the poor performance of the police department.
  • Raise the standard of conduct for officers, including implementing stricter
    disciplinary policies for those who commit violent crimes on or off duty.
  • Find funding opportunities and other ways to support existing programs
    like Street Safe to improve their efficacy.
  • Approach public safety from a public health perspective.

PSPA Webinars

PSPA Webinars

Investing In Public Safety

During this webinar, the PSPA Circle presented their 2019 research into violence as a public health issue and evidence-based policies for addressing and reducing community violence. They also analyzed the large and growing costs of the Bridgeport Police Department, as well as the cost of officer brutality, misconduct and corruption. Finally, the PSPA Circle presented the results of their Public Safety Survey. While the sample size of the survey was not large enough to be conclusive, the majority of respondants said that “more funding for education, a mentorship program for youth, recreational programs for youth and adults, and unarmed intervention teams” were practices that would make the city safer.

To see the slides from this presentation, click here.

 

A Timeline of American Policing

In September of 2020, Takina Shafer and Cynthia Torres led a webinar that walked participants through a timeline of the history of policing in the United States, opening up a discussion on the origins of American policing and the urgency of Black Lives Matter in Bridgeport. Strong distinctions were drawn between policing and racial justice. During this webinar, we also broke down the historical connection and its relevance to Bridgeport, today.

To watch this webinar on YouTube, click here. 

PSPA Forums

PSPA Forums

On July 12th, 2019 and November 19th, 2019 we led the two public forums to hear community voice on public safety, police accountability, restorative justice, and harm-reduction practices.

At the July forum, community members gave testimony on their experience with violence and misconduct with the Bridgeport Police Department. We have deep gratitude to all the Bridgeport residents who came and shared their stories, and the courage it took. There was a lot of emotion coming from the community, as we shared our experiences while confronting people who continue to do serious harm to us and to our neighbors.

Watch the live stream from the July forum here!

At the November forum, we reimagined public safety and shared what safety looks like to us through artwork and dialogue. We talked about how the process of community acountability and the presence of justice are pathways to safety. We defined accountability as a practice/skill that we all need to strengthen at the individual, group, and societal level.

The 2018 Police Chief Search

The 2018 Police Chief Search

“What we knew was a scam in 2018 was confirmed with the arrests of Perez and Dunn.”
On September 10th, 2020, former Chief AJ Perez and former Personnel Director David Dunn were arrested on charges of rigging Bridgeport’s 2018 police chief search to favor Perez. On October 5th, 2020, Perez and Dunn pled guilty to the charges.
For seven months during 2018, from May through November, Bridgeport Generation Now led and organized a coalition of community organizations, that included The Council of Churches, Better Bridgeport, ACLU of Connecticut, CONECT and former City Council members Pete Spain and Kyle Langan calling for Mayor Ganim to hold an open and transparent Police Chief Search.
Click the links below to read through our public statements and organizing:

Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter

The year to see things clearly: Racism, Abuse of Power & The Corruption of Policing

On June 12th, 2020, Gen Now released a statement in response to the murder of George Floyd.

“The murder of George Floyd is making clear to white people what Black people have known for 400 years. That Black lives have been under constant violent assault. And in the United States, it’s legal. Racism, abuse of power, and the corruption of policing is the root cause of the violence in our country. And right here at home, in Bridgeport, too.”

To read the full statement, click here

Our recommendations were:

  • Reallocate money away from the police department and into education, housing, and other community needs
  • Reform our Police Union contract to address unchecked power, fire abusive officers and hold others truly accountable
  • Reform our Policy Handbook to have zero tolerance for excessive force and other violent behaviors
  • Demilitarize our police department  
  • Remove police from our schools   
  • Establish Anti-Racism training for all of BPD
  • Organize real community forums
  • Reform the Citizen Complaint process
  • Retire Chair Daniel Roach from the Police Commission and return the commission to a true civilian review board

Our Budget, Our Values

Our Budget, Our Values

On April 23rd, 2019, Gen Now delivered a statement to City Council during a public hearing regarding the 2019-2020 City Budget.

To read the full statement, click here

Our recommendations were:

  • When the overall budget is flat, money for items that are growing can only come from shrinking other items.
  • From 2014 to this 2020 proposed budget, the Police Department’s budget has grown by 17% and the City Attorney’s budget has grown by 25%
  • Yet the city’s contribution to Education funding has remained flat. This means, every year our schools are forced to cut essential resources, in a district that has the highest needs and opportunity gap in our region. 
  • If these trends continue, in another 6 years, the public safety budget will grow another $35 to $40 million. 

Let's Build A Safe City!

Let's Build A Safe City!

On Mach 8th, 2019, Gen Now released a statement in response to an internal affairs report involving 17 Bridgeport police officers.

To read the complete statement, click here

Our recommendations were:

  • There is an unrelenting cultural crisis within the Bridgeport Police Department. In our September 2018 statement delivered to the Police Commission we cited no less than 10 incidents of police misconduct, violence, and corruption within the last year.
  • Our community deserves a police department committed to 21st Century policing; building trust, transparency and legitimacy, meaningful civilian oversight and policies, community engagement and policing, crime reduction, anti-bias and racial sensitivity training, mental health and trauma support, and officer and civilian safety.
  • Culture, leadership, values, principles, and vision all matter. We need visionary leadership, moral consciousness, and deep committed collaborations to heal our police department and our communities from the violence, corruption, racism, and trauma.

BRIDGEPORT POLICE COMMISSION

Since November of 2017, Members of Bridgeport Generation Now have attended the Police Commission meetings. The Bridgeport Police Commission meets the third Tuesday of every month at 6:30pm at 999 Broad Street.

The Police Commission is the only civilian oversight body of our Police Department. Our State Statutes and City Charter give the Police Commission strong oversight powers to discipline officers, as well as set department goals and policies. The Police Commission also reviews and makes rulings on all Citizen Complaints about Police brutality, violence, and misconduct.

To submit a Citizen Complaint, fill out this form: https://www.bridgeportct.gov/filestorage/341650/341652/346107/341670/341794/Civilian_complaint_report_v2.pdf

Para enviar un reclamo ciudadano, complete este formulario: https://www.bridgeportct.gov/filestorage/341650/341652/346107/341670/341794/Civilian_complaint_report_v2_(Spanish).pdf

To find Bridgeport Police Commission agendas/minutes, click here: http://www.bridgeportct.gov/content/341441/341399/351165.aspx

To get onto the agenda to speak to the Commission, you must submit a request by phone or email to Lt. Nancy O’Donnell by the Friday before the meeting by 10:00 a.m.

Lieutenant Nancy E. O’Donnell
Department Clerk
Bridgeport Police Department
300 Congress Street
Bridgeport, CT. 06604
Office: (203)581-5121
Fax: (203)576-7933
Email: Nancy.ODonnell@bridgeportct.gov

The seven members currently serving on the Police Commission are listed below. For more information about appointment and terms, visit the City’s website here.

Anna Cruz (R)
68 Perth Street
Bridgeport, CT 06606
Term Expires: 12/31/2009

Matthew Cuminotto Jr. (D)
320 Vincellette Street,
Bridgeport, CT 06606
Term Expires: 12/31/2015

Hector Diaz (D)
34 Arthur Street
Bridgeport, CT 06605
Term Expires: 12/31/2018

Edwin P. Farrow (D)
357 Pearl Street
Bridgeport, CT 06605
Term Expires: 12/31/2017

Thomas A. Lyons (D)
91 Jewett Avenue
Bridgeport, CT 06606
Term Expires: 12/31/2010

Daniel S. Roach (D)
19 Quinlan Avenue
Bridgeport, CT 06605
Term Expires: 12/31/2005

Valerie Quarles (U)
58 Herald Avenue
Bridgeport, CT 06606
Term Expires: 12/31/2018