Waterbury already benefitting from city’s violent crime task force, police chief says

Waterbury's violent crime task force already benefitting the city
Published: Nov. 16, 2022 at 8:27 PM EST
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WATERBURY, CT (WFSB) - Thanks to state funding and a partnership with state police, Waterbury police have a dedicated violent crime task force.

The Waterbury police chief said the city is already a safer place because of it.

Staffed with eight Waterbury police officers and two state troopers, the task force’s goal is to focus solely on major and violent crimes in the city.

According to police data, violent crime is up more than 35-percent as of October 31.

Waterbury Police Chief Fernando Spagnolo said there are several repeat offenders responsible for that.

“These are the convicted felons, these are people that are being released that are on probation, parole, back into our community. these are people that have a history of recidivism of violent crime in our community,” said Spagnolo.

He said the task force is able to commit more time on these criminals and it’s resulted in a number of arrests already.

“We get deeper down the line in the criminal activity. we recover more guns. we recover more illegal drugs, deadly drugs on our streets, and we make better cases that could be prosecuted at a state-level or federal-level and that’s truly the benefit,” Spagnolo said.

Spagnolo said this has helped keep gang and group criminal activity at bay.

These task forces are a huge benefit, according to University of New Haven Criminal Justice Lecturer Ken Gray.

“You can really bring this kind of gang activity to its knees if you have the additional resources and additional technology and databases to be able to really focus in on those groups,” said Gray.

Similar violent crime task forces have been established in Hartford and New Haven as well, with plans to create more in other cities soon.