Bridgeport police promises more transparency with media - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Bridgeport police promises more transparency with media

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The Bridgeport police and city officials met with reporters on Friday morning to enhance communication between the media and the department in Connecticut’s largest city.

Last week, some questioned the lack of transparency between the Bridgeport Police Department and members of the media.

"There was a story a week ago that intimated we weren't being transparent, so certainly this is us taking an attempt to be more transparent than ever before,” Bridgeport Police Chief Joseph Gaudett Jr. said.

Many have questioned the lack of press releases coming from the department. Some believed it was due to the upcoming November election.

 "Make them aware of the issues that are out there.  We do have issues here in the city," Gaudett said.

The biggest charge is coming from former mayor Joe Ganim who's trying to get his old job back. Ganim claims current Mayor Bill Finch was trying to keep a lid on crime news. The mayor and Gaudett said he's flat out wrong. 

"First off, I want to make this clear: No directive has been given by Mayor Finch or anyone from his office to keep information from the media that they were accustomed to receiving," Gaudett said in a release on Friday.

On Friday, the chief held a briefing and the department plans to continue this practice each week.

"Make them aware of the issues that are out there.  We do have issues here in the city," Gaudett said.

Bridgeport police told Eyewitness News they're making progress on its three most recent homicides, including an incident in Trumbull Gardens last month in which 9 people were shot, and one was killed. 

But Ganim, who wants his old job back, claims the new weekly press briefing has less to do with police work and public safety and more about politics.

"I think the question is what's been going on up until now,” Ganim said. “If it wasn't public pressure from you the media and the CT Post newspaper, I don't think you'd be seeing this."

Last week it was alleged by some, that with a hotly contested democratic primary on tap, Finch was trying to limit crime information. Bridgeport Communications Director Brett Broesder said it’s simply not true.

"There is no other issue besides a personnel one that we have someone here out on personal leave for issues related to his health, other than that, we pride ourselves on being transparent,” Broesder said.

Kevin Coughlin was also appointed as the interim public safety spokesperson on Friday. The police department's records office was ordered to make sure make reports were available for the media.

But with crime always a big talking point in elections, it doesn't appear the issue is going away.

"I think the damage has been done to as far as the credibility of this administration,” Ganim said.

"Politics aside, this is about good government. We've made strong effort to continue and enhancing it,” Broesder said.

As for the back and forth between the city hall and the former mayor, its likely that will keep going on until the primary as well.

For more information on up to date crime stats in Bridgeport, click here

To read the full announcement, click here.  

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