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Bridgeport police chief finalists unveil their plans at community forums

Christian Abraham
Hearst Connecticut Media
Rebeca Garcia speaks after being sworn-in as Bridgeport's first Hispanic assistant police chief during the 41st Annual Basic Training Session Graduation Ceremony at University of Bridgeport's Arnold Bernhard Center in Bridgeport, Connecticut, on Wednesday Dec. 18, 2019.

In Bridgeport, Connecticut, the final three candidates for police chief have been campaigning directly to residents at community forums this week.

On Tuesday, the candidates appeared at a forum at Central High School to unveil their plans. All three have served in the city’s police department.

Captain Lonnie Black promised that his priority would be repairing the department’s relationship with the community. “I want to conduct surveys with the community so that I can get their input on crime to be the benchmarks that we can utilize against crime,” he promised.

Recently retired Captain Roderick Porter promised to run a department focused on improving the morale of officers.

“Where all officers are appreciated. Where all officers have a voice. And also in turn having that lead to create an environment where we work collaboratively with the community,” Porter said.

She’s already doing the job, said acting chief Rebeca Garcia. “I want to work for you because I know what it takes to be here in Bridgeport,” she said.

“I’m still a resident and homeowner here in the city. When I go out, I go to the stores in Bridgeport, I go to restaurants in Bridgeport,’’ she assured the audience.

Officer shortages and a lack of community trust are some of the problems facing the department.

The city’s last police chief, Armondo Perez, was forced to resign in 2020 after he was arrested on federal charges that he cheated to get the job. He was found guilty and sentenced to a year in federal prison.

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.