Hartford Police Attend Church Service to Build Community Relations

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HARTFORD, Conn. (WFSB) – Hartford Police Chief says it’s been a really tough year, but they’re not giving up.

They plan to increase the number of times they engage with the community to try to make the city safer.

On Monday, three people were shot dead in Hartford during an attempted carjacking outside the Parkville Market. One person died after being shot multiple times.

“I think it’s just all gun violence. No one knows how to lay down their arms. Everyone needs to come together and stop doing this right now, you have younger kids dying,” Hartford residents Deshawn Campbell and Jaeda Benitez said.

On Wednesday, another shooting killed a 24-year-old man a block away.

“Sometimes it’s just young people who don’t have enough things to do in the neighborhood or don’t have the right influences and I think that’s basically what’s happening in the Hartford area,” said said Alicia Holliday, another Hartford resident.

Hartford’s police chief says community policing could be the answer.

This evening, officers attended a local church service as part of Faith and Blue week where religious leaders collaborate with the police.

“It’s one of the most effective ways I’ve seen for the department to interact with the community. We tried to have coffee with a cop. We’ve tried to invite people in for public counts, but these invite-only events, people are busy,” said Jason Thody, Hartford Police Chief.

As well as a church service, over the past two weeks they have been marching through the streets along the north and south ends with the aim of reaching as many people as possible and rebuilding relationships.

“The pamphlets that we hand out and each of those connections is a potential witness who might not have called us, who might not necessarily have cooperated with us before we met them that day,” said Chief Thody.

Chief Thody says the town has about 123,000 residents but only 375 officers, which is why they’re hoping to build that community relationship that he says has been disconnected because of the pandemic.

Faith and Blue events will continue this weekend. Another event will take place on Sunday.

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