Only a week into his role as the New Haven Police Department’s newest district manager, Sergeant Roy Davis already knows where he wants to focus his efforts: the New Haven Green.
Davis is replacing Sergeant Tammi Means as the leader for downtown policing. New Haven is divided into 10 policing districts, each of them led by an individual officer focused solely on one area. On Tuesday night, Davis was introduced to the Downtown Wooster Square Community Management Team during its monthly meeting. Davis encouraged the 15 community leaders present to express their public safety concerns, and he addressed his largest initiatives for the month ahead, namely managing disorderly conduct on the Green.
“The homeless [are] a problem, but I don’t think they are what is causing all the vagrancy,” Davis said. “I think that’s a bigger problem.”
Davis explained that vagrancy on the New Haven Green stems from deeper issues of mental health and drug sales.
As district manager, Davis told community leaders that he had already begun to assign officers to four-hour shifts for patrolling the area. He said the officers would help make citizens feel safer on the Green by addressing drug dealing, littering and drunkenness.
Kevin Coughlin, chairperson of the Downtown Wooster Square Community Management Team, expressed excitement about Davis’s positive energy as well as the action he had already taken.
During the meeting, Davis also discussed his project he called, “Project Green Thumb,” a name that plays on his focus on cultivating both beauty and business on and near the intersection of College and Chapel Streets. Through the program, citizens charged with disorderly conduct or public drunkenness on the Green could be charged with community service hours instead of a monetary fine.
“Hopefully that ticket will be turned into a community service ticket that will benefit the city rather than a monetary ticket that benefits the city and the state,” he said.
The Town Green Special Services District, which aims to improve the business environment in the city, had representatives at Tuesday’s meeting. Matthew Griswold, the organization’s public space manager, told the News that Davis has been a “breath of fresh air” for the community, and that he is excited to work with him to address the issues on the New Haven Green.
“He is willing to work with us: the eyes and ears of downtown,” Griswold said.
Community leaders also praised Davis for his bravery in working undercover for the NHPD, overseeing drug busts on the Green.
Moving forward, Davis said he thinks it is imperative to integrate the Yale community into his work as district manager. Project Green Thumb, he said, will benefit both Yale and residents of New Haven.
“Any type of help that Yale is willing to give, I am willing to take,” Davis said.
Davis holds a bachelor’s degree in juvenile and family justice, as well as a master’s degree in criminal justice, both from the University of New Haven. He is also licensed as a United States Coast Guard Captain.