Budget battle prevents added police presence in Hartford - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Budget battle prevents added police presence in Hartford

Hartford Police Department Hartford Police Department

It was an especially violent night in Hartford with six people being injured in five incidents and now, residents want to know what is being done to combat violence.

Eyewitness News has learned some behind the scenes dealings could affect your safety.

There will be no added patrols or no extra resources deployed to these hotspot areas, simply because of a budget battle.

"I thought everyone was dead. I asked if everyone was OK," said a woman, who wants to remain nameless. "I heard my baby's father say I'm shot, I'm shot."

She watched as her boyfriend was wounded in a drive by shooting on Hamilton Street Monday night.

"We can't even stand on our own property and without getting shot at," the woman said.

That shooting was one of four in the city Tuesday night. There was also a stabbing.

All victims are expected to live, according to police, but those closest to the crimes are worried the violence won't stop.

"Police need to step up their game, honestly," the woman said. "They need to step it up and do something about this."

Eyewitness News went to learn more about the police's plan and learned that nothing will be done immediately.

That's because the police department is caught in the middle of a contentious budget battle at city hall. City councilors want to cut $2 million from their budget next year and are on their way to freezing police overtime this year.

"We're a city with not a lot in financial resources," said Hartford City Council President Shawn Wooden. "Everybody, including the police department, will need to be more efficient.

Wooden told Eyewitness News overtime for Hartford Police Department is available, but acknowledges the department is on track to max it out.

The council said it just wants the departments to be more judicious with how they spend it.

"We need to be very clear. They have the money to spend on overtime today," Wooden said. "If the chief is withholding resources from any neighborhood because he's holding it back for a parade that's coming up in the future, I want to know about it."

Officials with the Hartford Police Department told Eyewitness News they can't comment on resource matters because it's a city hall issue.

The mayor's spokesperson refused to comment on the ongoing budget, signaling they're at an impasse. The budget will be voted on at the end of the month.

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