Tag Archive: Cops

  1. NHPD adds 16 new patrol cars

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    The New Haven Police Department’s patrol fleet has received a long-awaited upgrade, with 16 new Dodge Chargers slated to go into use in the next few weeks.

    The addition will help revive a fleet that has long needed improvements. Earlier this year, the New Haven Police Union filed a complaint with the state labor department, alleging that the patrol cars were unsafe for use and need to be towed by a local service like towingless and then shredded, according to the New Haven Independent.

    Many of the current patrol cars are in “deplorable condition,” suffering from the wear and tear that comes with being driven during back-to-back eight-hour shifts every day, NHPD spokesman David Hartman said.

    “These new cars will instantly become a vital part of the equipment deployed all day long and all night to help men and women of the New Haven Police Department keep this city safe,” Mayor Toni Harp said at a press conference outside the NHPD maintenance facility on Friday.

    Thirteen of the new cars arrived two weeks ago, with three more on the way.

    These 16 cars will be assigned to the uniformed patrol division, according to Hartman. They will replace current patrol cars that will be reassigned to less demanding tasks such as administrative and detective work.

    “They’re a very ugly, dirty environment to work in. For a patrol officer, that’s their office,” he said, adding that with the new cars, “Morale should definitely improve, and we have the pledge of the city administration to get more new cars. There’s no reason a police car should be on the road with over 140,000 miles on it.”

    The new cars, now parked in the department’s garage, still need to be outfitted with special features before they become police cruisers. According to Hartman, the customization of these cars — which includes adding electronics, radios, audio components, computers, prisoner dividers and graphics — will be a lengthy process spanning the next few weeks. The additions will be made by the NHPD’s maintenance facility staff, which is also responsible for maintaining the current patrol cars. Hartman noted that the size of the staff has diminished over the past few years.

    The additional cruisers will join a police fleet of 349 vehicles, which includes about 130 patrol, detective, laboratory, forensic, Police Academy as well as traffic and patrol support vehicles, according to a Friday NHPD press release. The department also employs a range of specialized vans, SUVs and trucks, which are assigned to the bomb squad, SWAT, underwater search and recovery, hostage negotiation, canine and command and control field operations.

    For Chief Administrative Officer Mike Carter, the new patrol cars are not only a necessary upgrade, but also reflect careful financial planning by the city. He said the cars are a part of a five-year capital planning process that began last year.

    “The police union identified the need for vehicles to be replaced last year, but the amount of funding at the time was not sufficient,” Carter said.

    Over the course of the year, Harp worked with Interim Police Chief Anthony Campbell to increase the police fleet’s budget from $300,000 to $450,000, Carter said. Once that allocation was approved on July 1, Campbell and Tim Hatch, the NHPD fleet supervisor, placed an order for the new cars in early August.

    “Because we’re in a better financial position than three years ago, we could set aside more money not only for the police, but all departments,” Carter said.

    Carter added that City Hall is hoping to implement a regular replacement plan for the police cruisers, which would entail replacing a certain number of vehicles every three to four years. He said that any repairs would not come out of the police budget, but would rather be covered by the terms of each car’s three-year warranty.

    The new cruisers will be deployed in batches, with the first hitting the streets next Friday. And even more may soon be added. On Thursday, the Board of Alders Finance Committee approved the master lease, which includes a proposal for additional vehicles that could arrive as soon as February. This order would include six police cars, two vehicles for building inspections and a snow truck.

    The proposal will be brought to the full Board of Alders for approval at their upcoming November meeting.

  2. ‘Apple picking’ thief strikes Chapel and High

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    The Yale community may soon receive another message from Yale Police Chief Ronnell Higgins after a Wednesday night theft attempt broke out just hours after Higgins released an afternoon safety advisory on iPhone theft.

    Dubbed “apple picking,” the new phenomenon has been on the rise as thieves target iPhone users for robbery attempts. But the trend struck a bit closer to home on Wednesday after a teenager snatched a woman’s iPhone out of her hand at the corner of Chapel and High streets shortly before 9 p.m. The perpetrator then ran from the scene toward York Street as the victim alerted the police, who later apprehended the thief outside York Street parking garage.

    A passerby described the perpetrator as male and African-American, and estimated that he was between 15 and 17 years old. The witness added that the boy was not immediately pursued by the victim, though he said two other witnesses to the theft did give chase. By the time the boy reached York Street, the passerby said police cars were already arriving from both sides.

    The cops were then able to catch the boy — who did not resist — and arrest him.

    Yale Police Sergeant Keith Pullen said they currently have no information on the perpetrator’s or victim’s identities, adding that the perpetrator has not yet been formally charged. Pullen said the victim did not suffer any injuries and no weapons were displayed.

    The incident added weight to Higgins’ cautionary advice to Yalies warning them to “be aware” of their surroundings when talking or texting.

    “Displaying a phone is the same as displaying cash to a thief,” Higgins wrote.

    The Yale Police Department has recently recovered several iPhones and iPads that had been stolen from their owners, Higgins said in his email.

  3. Yee ’12 pleads not guilty to felony charge

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    At a Tuesday court hearing, Eric Yee ’12 pled not guilty to one count of illegal weapon possession after police responding to threatening comments Yee allegedly made about children discovered an assault rifle in Yee’s house last September.

    Officers searching his house found a Heckler & Koch M-94 assault rifle in his Santa Clarita, Calif. residence, which he shares with his parents. Yee appeared at his Tuesday court hearing in San Fernando, Calif. in a surgical mask, which his lawyer said was necessary because Yee had contracted chicken pox.

    Officers showed up at Yee’s residence in September shortly after he allegedly wrote that he was “watching kids and did not mind murdering them” in an online comment on ESPN’s website.

    Yee had been released from jail on $100,000 bail, which was originally set at $1 million. Prosecutors have considered filing charges against the former Yalie for making terrorist threats, but Yee’s attorney David Wallin said he believes there is no argument behind the charge.

    “There has to be some specificity in the alleged victim,” Wallin told ABC News. “Here, he just said I am going to shoot kids, and because there is no specificity, you cannot have a criminal threat against just every kid in the United States.”

    Yee, who is due back in court Nov. 28, could not be reached for comment Tuesday night. His parents, when reached by phone, declined to comment.

    Though authorities did not fully disclose the content of the threat, an ESPN spokesman said Yee was writing in response to a Sept. 13 ESPN story about new Nike sneakers retailing for $279 — a price that other readers commented might lead to children getting killed.

    Yee was expected to graduate last May with a degree in economics but withdrew from the University.

  4. Shellfish truck crashes into Loria, dents door

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    A delivery truck carrying seafood drove over the York Street sidewalk and crashed into the front doors of the Loria Center around 10 a.m. this morning. No one was injured in the accident.

    Yale Police Officer William Holohan said the driver claimed the accelerator stuck and that he lost control of the vehicle as he exited the delivery loading dock for Jonathan Edwards College across the street.

    “[The driver] was attempting to straighten out the truck,” Holohan said. “I don’t know how it ended up on the sidewalk.”

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    He added that the Yale Police would not impound the truck since it appeared to be an accident.

    “I’m embarrassed, that’s all,” the driver of the truck said. He declined to comment further.

    The impact shattered a glass-panelled door and dented the metal paneling on the front of Loria. Students on their way to classes in Loria were rerouted through the Art & Architecture building next door.

    The truck was delivering fish from the Branford-based Connecticut Shellfish Company. A second truck arrived around 11 a.m. The two drivers worked together to transfer the first vehicle’s boxes of shrimp, lobster meat and haddock fillets into the second truck.

    Holohan said a tow truck would bring the Connecticut Shellfish Company truck back to the company for inspection of the accelerator.

    “It’s very fortunate no one got hurt,” Holohan added.

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  5. Chair of Police Commissioners to step down

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    Richard Epstein will leave the New Haven Board of Police Commissioners, the New Haven Register reported.

    Epstein, the Board’s current chair, said Thursday he will resign from the volunteer post as he moves to Milford. First appointed to the Board by Mayor John DeStefano Jr. during DeStefano’s first term in 1994, Epstein has advised six New Haven Police Department chiefs and supervised police hiring and firing decisions during a period of substantial departmental reorganization.

    “[Epstein’s] a great example of citizen and community involvement,” DeStefano told the Register. “He’s been a steady hand as chair through several chiefs and through all kinds of issued at the police department. From Nick [Pastore] to the current one, he’s accommodated all the different chiefs’ styles.”

    This is not the first change in the composition of the Board this year. In February, Bishop Theodore Brooks stepped down from the five-person Board and was replaced by former Hill alderman and unsuccessful mayoral challenger Anthony Dawson.