Hartford councilor criticizes police on Facebook, officers respo - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Hartford councilor criticizes police on Facebook, officers respond on social media

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HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

A city councilor and the Hartford Police Department waged war on social media after the councilwoman said officers helping people was a “rare sight.”

Hartford Police Chief James Rovella fired back and officers took to Twitter with the #HPDOfficersHelping.

The fallout in the capital city comes after a Facebook post by a Hartford City Councilor Rjo Winch, saying “A rare sighting. An officer who helps. Congratulations,” in a Facebook post.

The post is getting under the skin of many officers in the department including Rovella.

“It certainly stings a little deeper,” Rovella said. “I would expect more from an experienced city leader as the council person is.” 

Some are posting throwback Thursday photos of all the instances where officers are helping people, but Winch said she wants to see more action.

Winch was at a ceremony for Officer Jimmy Barrett, who went above and beyond. Barrett was recognized for helping the homeless on his City Hall beat.

“There's a young man who embraced his assignment and embraces those who live and work in his area, his beat,” Rovella said.

Winch told Eyewitness News that she stood by her comments.

"I stand by it, I think it is a rare sighting," Winch said. "I think rather than the police getting upset about it, maybe they should continue to say what great things they're doing. 

On Thursday, Hartford's Police Deputy Chief Brian Foley answered the councilor through a series of throwback Thursday tweets showing officers in action and helping.

“Occasionally we will change a tire, there are photos of that,” Rovella said.

Rovella said the notion that officers don't help hurts their image in the community, especially when those accusations are being hurled by a city leader.

“I'll talk to her a little bit, run into her at City Hall or when I'm out in the public and have a deeper conversation,” Rovella said. “She needs to be more informed about what's happening.”   

Winch said she would attend a meeting with police.

"Absolutely I'll take that meeting," Winch said. 

Winch said she will ask the chief for more community interaction, but admitted their social media campaign did open her eyes. 

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