Saturday, August 25, 2007

Connecticut is all about police, prosecutorial, judicial, and attorney misconduct

Greer cites report as proof of police disarray
William Kaempffer, Register Staff

NEW HAVEN — The consultant's report on the Police Department confirmed what detractors have been saying all along: That the Police Department, from the top down, is in total disarray.

At least that was the take of Eliezer Greer, a dogged critic of department leadership who launched an armed citizens' patrol earlier this summer.

Greer on Thursday renewed his verbal assault on department brass, quoting passage after passage from the 97-page study commissioned by the city as evidence of the "dysfunctionality" of department management.

"It's embarrassing to the city to read this PERF report," said Greer, referring to the Police Executive Research Forum, a national consultant hired by the city to review the Police Department. He said he planned to meet with Craig Fraser, the architect of the report, next week to share the views of residents.

Greer has been a vocal critic of the department and Chief Francisco Ortiz Jr. in particular for more than two months, claiming the city abandoned the idea of community policing and in the process abandoned the streets to thugs.

The PERF report portrayed a level of disorganization inside the department: a records division with a two-year backlog; lack of standardization and consistency in internal affairs; and a total absence of accountability in the former narcotics unit that helped foster a culture that led to the FBI raid of police headquarters and arrest of two investigators for allegedly stealing money and, for Lt. William White, running a longtime racket with bail bondsmen to take bribes in exchange for tracking down bail jumpers.

Greer launched the armed patrol 11 weeks ago, making good on a threat his family made to City Hall if crime issues weren't addressed in the community. The catalyst was an evening attack of Greer's bother, a rabbi. Both are sons of influential Rabbi Daniel Greer, whose nonprofit organizations own about 40 buildings in the Edgewood neighborhood, including the one on Whalley Avenue that houses the New Haven police substation.

After announcing his own patrol, he invited the Guardian Angels, the New York-based safety patrol, to New Haven. The group is now trying to establish a permanent chapter.

On Thursday, Greer set up his folding table and laminated Edgewood Park Defense Patrol poster board in front of the police substation on Whalley Avenue.

Alderwoman Elizabeth McCormick, D-24, attended Thursday's event at the Greers' request and stood off to the side. She said she's seen a change in the neighborhood since Greer started the patrols and highlighted his concerns in the media.

"A lot of the crime statistics in this neighborhood are way down. I'll credit a lot of it to what they started by getting everybody to the table, and they focused some attention on this neighborhood and that may not have happened were it not for the media attention this brought," she said.

But Greer also has his detractors. Some say he likes the publicity. Others attribute his activities as an effort to keep the neighborhood in the spotlight.

As Greer addressed the media, one passerby delivered a terse rebuke.

"If the New Haven Police Department is run that bad or run that poorly, why don't you run it yourself?" the passerby said.

City Chief Administrative Officer Rob Smuts declined to verbally joust with Greer.

He repeated the city's position: Police support any community effort to become engaged, whether as a Block Watch, the Guardian Angels or a neighborhood patrol. It's the guns that concern them.

He said he wouldn't comment on the individual opinions of any city resident.

"There are 130,000 residents. There will be a wide variety of opinions and a wide variety of temperaments," he said.

Police have seen a steady drop in crime in the Edgewood area over the last two months, which Greer attributes to his patrol.

But Smuts said the drop has been citywide and due to a number of policing efforts.

"We've seen a significant drop citywide, and I think that we've been doing a number of things specifically in that district and citywide that you would consider a police response responsible for that drop," he said.

©New Haven Register 2007

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Should Connecticut have a memorial on public property celebrating cop killers and terrorists? More:


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