May 26, 2009

Police to shift officer away from code enforcement

The police officer assigned to code enforcement issues for the past several years -- lending a hand to the fight against blight -- is returning to patrol duties for at least the summer.
Police Chief John DiVenere said he’s putting Officer Tom Lavigne back on the road to help cope with a shortage of officers during the department’s busiest season.
“I need bodies on the road,” the chief said Monday.
City councilors created the code enforcement officer position a few years ago with the provision that it focus on issues related to blight, housing and other items connected to a crackdown on code violations.
City Councilor Kevin McCauley said he is concerned about the chief’s plan to shift Lavigne away from code enforcement given the strong success of the effort in recent years.
Building Official Guy Morin has credited Lavigne’s presence for contributing to the willingness of violators to comply with municipal orders to clean up, fix up and otherwise obey the law.
Mayor Art Ward said that he understands DiVenere’s aim “to limit some of the overtime” by putting Lavigne, a former city councilor, back on patrol duties.
He said that during the summer there isn’t as much need for a full-time code enforcement officer and that the program’s success has also made the officer less crucial to the effort.
“We’re trying to look at the whole situation” in terms of public safety, saving money and enforcing the law, the mayor said.
He said that perhaps Morin will be able to schedule specific times where Lavigne can help with code enforcement instead of having him available more often.
DiVenere said that might be possible, but cautioned that every police officer is charged with enforcing the city’s laws and can serve in the same capacity as Lavigne.
DiVenere said his department is down “eight or nine officers” heading into the busy summer months.
Three slots are vacant, while three officers are out on long-term medical leave and two more are on military leave, the chief said.
Combined with the need to let officers take vacation during the summer, DiVenere said, he needs more people on patrol so that he doesn’t push up overtime costs or turn down reasonable vacation requests.
He said that putting Lavigne on patrol will save thousands of dollars for taxpayers.
Moreover, DiVenere said, the extra flexibility may make it possible for him to avoid layoffs as the city looks for ways to cut back on spending during the fiscal crisis that has sapped extra money from every municipal department.
The chief said police are facing “an emergency” situation with the budget and putting Lavigne on patrol for the summer shift that runs from June to August is one way to handle it.
He said that after the summertime shift is over, Lavigne or a different police officer will again be assigned to code enforcement duties.
“We will have a code enforcement officer again,” DiVenere said.

For more background, see this March 2008 memorandum from city Councilor Craig Minor.

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Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

32 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mayor, the Code Enforcement Officer is needed MORE in the summer!!!

Anonymous said...

Tom needs to do a little work for once anyways instead of hanging out at the Downtown cafe all the time!!!!

Anonymous said...

now maybe the bristol "police" can make some progress and arrest Robert D. Park of 132 George St. who ran over and killed Henry Waye, Jr. on MARCH 5, 2009 !!!!!

please don't tell me it takes 2 months to do “a thorough and deliberate investigation”

why isn't this guy behind bars, and why aren't more people outraged at this ????

Now maybe Police Chief John DiVenere can assign somebody full time to this case and put Robert D. Park of 132 George St. behind bars where he belongs.

-billy from bristol

Anonymous said...

This is all a ploy by the unions. They do not want to give in to any concessions hoped for by the mayor AFTER he negotiated their contract, so they opt for layoffs that will give the senior majority who have the senority all the overtime. Nice game officers...don't forget to buckle up and STOP USING CELL PHONES WHILE DRIVING IN YOUR CRUSIER. Maybe we should be making some "Citizen Arrests"!!!

Anonymous said...

What about the extra officers on 2nd shift ??????

Anonymous said...

The code enforcement is a total waste of taxpayer money and should NEVER be supported again .

Anonymous said...

The Chief has fought this assignment from the beginning. Now he got the Mayor to go along. Scummy properties, broken windows, defective heating, dangerous buildings, fire-traps and junk yards in residential neighborhoods don't matter to Divenere. He needs more cruisers to sit two or three at a time in parking lots and shoot the breeze. He needs two to three cruisers to respond to every fender bender.

And let’s not forget those law breaking-evil doers who risk the lives of others and ruin the quality of life in Bristol – YES the folks that don’t wear their seatbelts.

But Chief Andy Griffith, I mean Divenere, doesn’t understand that code enforcement affects property values. The thousands he claims the taxpayers will save will be lost ten times over as slum-dog landlords continue to cannibalize neighborhoods and fill the multi-family buildings with Section Eight tenants from every town in Connecticut that is happy to make Bristol the dumping ground.

Meanwhile the beat cops in the West End stare over the railing and into the river all day; searching for Somali Pirates, maybe.

This is a bad decision. It is typical of an incompetent chief running a shoddy department. Bikers, skateboarders and miscreants are all over downtown and in the neighborhoods surrounding it but the cops look the other way. Response times are slow. The parks are overrun day and night and all the Keystone Cops can do is drink coffee and chase seatbelt violators.

Hey Chief, buy a book on Community Policing. Look up “Broken Window Syndrome.” Then gather Lieutenant Scooby-Do and Cap’n Crunch into your office and have somebody read it and explain it to you. The city looks awful. Blight enforcement is essential. Read, learn and act Chief. Art, get on him about these issues.

Anonymous said...

BRISTOL IS TRYING TO PLAY GAMES ON THE TAX PAYERS. THIS GUY WONT MAKE A DIFFERENCE. MANAGEMENT IN THE POLICE DEPT SUCKS.

Anonymous said...

They need another officer on the streets yet their union won't make any concessions and are ok with possibly letting 5 officers go?

Anonymous said...

"Citizen Arrests"!!!

No such thing in Connecticut, jacka$$.

Anonymous said...

Apparently neither the Chief nor the Mayor understand the Broken Windows Theory. Look it up!

Anonymous said...

LAST EVENING I WENT BY THE WEST END SAW THE DRIVER OF CHINESE RESTAURENT PARKED ON THE CORNER WITH THE POLICE SITTING IN HIS CRUISER ON CELL PHONE I DECIDED TO WATCH 18 MINUTES ON THE PHONE THEN GOT TO WATCH A DRUG DEAL ON THE SIDE OF THE BRIDGE 25FEET AWAY FROM HIM BUT BY THIS TIME HE WAS BACK ON THE CELL AND WE NEED MORE COPS. THINK WE NEED A NEW CHIEF.

Anonymous said...

THE POLICE CHIEF IS NOT A LEADER NOT EVEN A GOOD COP SHOULD HAVE BEEN FIRED THE LAST TIME HE WAS ACCUSEED OF SEX HARRESING.

Anonymous said...

Time for a new chief need real leadership in times like this. why wasnt he fired years ago. Has been said hes covered by fergie. Time to look at whats going on. This party should end.

Anonymous said...

The mayor is playing games, again!

Anonymous said...

Please don't compare Divenere with Sherrif Andy Taylor of Mayberry, who may have been laid back, but was also respectful, kind, decent and ETHICAL. They have nothing in common.
Who's Robert Park? Somebody ought to tell the police about him. They clearly don't know him.
RIP, sweet Henry Waye. You deserve better.

Concerned Conservative said...

May 27, 2009 7:35 AM:

If you saw a "drug deal", there was an officer there (who supposedly didn't see it or respond) I suggest you should have asked the officer to intervene.

One time I saw some kids walking up my street smoking a joint, so I called the police. The police were all over my neighborhood looking for the two punks. I'm not sure what happened, but I was very impressed with the reponse. I can say the same for a number of other times as well in which I called police.

The Bristol Police are darn good if you ask me in regards to crimes such as drugs and disturbing the peace, etc.

Anonymous said...

The Mayor wants to cut their overtime, but won't cut OT in Parks.

Which is more critical (oops, forgot about the boulevard)?

Anonymous said...

We had a real Chief awile back in Konke, but the politicians ran him out.

Will YOU step forward next time?

Anonymous said...

Chief dummy ,he has the personality of a snail!!!!!!!!!!.Granted he has all of us fooled,time for change

Anonymous said...

"One time I saw some kids walking up my street smoking a joint, so I called the police. The police were all over my neighborhood looking for the two punks. I'm not sure what happened, but I was very impressed with the reponse."

What happened, duh, is that you complained. Sure they react promptly when nudged. This starts at the top. No leadership = no professionalism.

Anonymous said...

Steve,

Isn't there a City Ordinance that REQUIRES a police officer to be assigned full time to Code Enforcement?? That was my understanding of what the council did several years ago when they set it up. So, if I am correct, isn't the Mayor/Chief/City violating the ordinance?

Anonymous said...

ITS THE POLICEMENS JOB TO OBSERVE WHILE HES ON SITE . MAYBE WESHOULD PAY THE TAXPAYERS AND GET RID OF THE POLICE. BY TIME YOU GET TROUGH THE FRONT DEST THE CRIME IS OVER. LIKE PEOPLE SAY BRISTOL HAS NO POLICE DEPT. THEN UP THE ROAD WE HAVE A UNMARKED 2ND SHIFT COPCAR IN DRIVEWAY EVERYNIGHT FOR MUTIPLE HOURS. WE MUST BE PAYING THAT GUY TO PROTECT HIS FAMELY.

Anonymous said...

LETS NOT PICK ON CHIEF HE ATTENDS ALL FUND RAISERS .POLITIANS CAN BE BOUGHT FOR 50 DOLLARS. CANT BE ANY OTHER ANSWER WHY HES STILL AROUND.THIS MAN HAS NO CLASS AT ALL. PLUS HE IS NO LEADER JUST A KISS AAAASSSSS.

Anonymous said...

iT ONLY TAKES A COUPLE MINUTES TO SMOKE A JOINT CANT TELL ME THE POLICE GOT THERE IN TIME . IT TAKES THEM 20 MINUTES TO QUESTION YOU FIRST THEN THE WAIT BEGINS. BRISTOL HAS NO CONTROL OVER THE POLICE THE UNION SEES TO THAT.

Anonymous said...

735AM YOU CANT TALK TO THE POLICEAROUND HERE MOST HAVE A EGO PROBLEM PLUS THEY WOULD HAVE TO CALL FOR BACKUP AND THE CRIME IS OVER. TAKE THE CELL PHONES AWAY OR START DOCKING THERE PAY AND THREE TIMES YOUR FIRED . IN MOST CASES THE BOY SCOUTS COULD DO BETTER.AND THEY DONT NEED A 30 MINUTE BREAK EVERY HOUR.

Anonymous said...

The chief could care less on how things look hes just working on his pension. the man is useless and figures we cant touch him so he has it made. BUT HE WILL BE AT THE NEXT FUND RAISERS THE PRESS SHOULD START TAKING PICTURES OF THESE GUYS AND GIRLS .

Anonymous said...

Thank you Art Ward, for accelerating the downhill ride of Bristol!

Anonymous said...

These cops dont need overtime if they would just do the job.Cell phones and combs for a certain sargent (barton)should be banned.let them be watched. Bring back soundoff. Let people call in when they see a cop abusing the system and press the politians to be on there case. Start by ellimating positions. If the mayor cant put bristol first he should go to.

Anonymous said...

Where is the leadership?

Anonymous said...

Shoot, they need one full time Code Enforcement Officer just to keep track of where the City is letting their property go to seed and become blighted.

Lets go Ward, this is our city too!

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