News in Brief: NHPD officers reassigned to patrol duty in response to increased violence in city

Sixteen New Haven Police Department officers — who formerly held non-patrol positions — were reassigned to patrol duty effective Sunday.

NHPD Chief of Police Francisco Ortiz said in a statement that the reassignments were a response to an increased level of violence in New Haven.

“These are great officers who we need in the community,” Ortiz said in a press release. “We recognize the level of violence we’ve experienced in the city this year, and we’re responding by enhancing resources and putting these officers back into our neighborhoods where they can have the most profound impact on cutting crime.”

According to the press release, the move is part of a “comprehensive violence reduction strategy that also includes community involvement and collaborations with youth-targeted programming.”

City Hall spokeswoman Jessica Mayorga said the reassignment is in response to community calls for increased street patrols.

According to city crime statistics, though overall crime is down by 7 percent as compared to last year, nonfatal shootings are at their highest point in years, with 139 in 2007 through September.

“The community has asked to see more of a presence of patrol officers on the streets and in their neighborhoods,” Mayorga said. “We’ve responded to that by reassigning these individuals.”

Yale Police Department recently hired two new police officers.

Department spokesperson Sgt. Woznyk said one of the new officers is already a certified police officer, while the other still needs to be trained at the police academy before serving as an officer.

After the new hires join the force, YPD will be “fully staffed” with 85 sworn members on the force, Woznyk said.

- Bharat Ayyar

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