HAMDEN -- The Hamden Police Chief Community Input and Transparency Committee held it’s first of three community input sessions to help in deciding their next Chief of Police.
The forums are intended to help amend the qualifications for the next Chief. The discussions were held in small roundtable groups that allowed for more voices to be heard.
“They have a very real involvement in this process,” said Hamden Mayor Kurt Lang. “They have a very big and real voice.”
The roundtable discussions lasted for nearly an hour. Most residents in attendance felt the smaller group settings helped spark thoughtful discussion.
“It should also serve to help build trust between both the community and the town and the community and the police department,” said Mayor Lang.
Trust, transparency, accountability, and community policing were some of the common phrases spoken from residents during the discussion.
The room was torn on whether the next chief should be from within the department or from another altogether. The common consensus was that the next chief should have experience in a diverse community like Hamden.
“We need somebody who knows what’s going on and can move around and knows the culture of Hamden,” said Community and Transparency Committee member Elana Williams Rountree.
“The police chief should be out here in the community visiting the communities,” said Hamden District Five representative Justin Farmer.
Farmer was one of the youngest residents in the crowd. He felt tonight’s discussion was a good start but was disappointed with some of the community reaction. He feels that discussion shouldn’t end here but should be talked about regularly.
“If we aren’t having these conversations with our children, with our family members, with our cousins or friends then they won’t be here,” said Farmer.
After input from all three meetings is heard, the Committee will amend the qualifications for the next Chief of Hamden Police. From there, applicants will apply and then be interviewed by the Committee. The Committee will then pick their top five candidates to be interviewed by the Mayor.
“We are off to a great start,” said Williams Rountree. “We’re going to get it done and we’re going to get a great police Chief in the city of Hamden.”
Members of the committee mentioned that they didn’t hear much discussion about April’s officer-involved shooting but also pointed out that it still plays a role in the thought process.
Two more input meetings will be held in the coming weeks. The next one will be June 26th at Memorial Town Hall located at 2372 Whitney Avenue. The final one will be held on July 10th at the West Woods School located at 250 W. Todd street.