Full text — Michael Herbst public safety statement and response from police commissioners
Following is the full text of a campaign statement from Michael Herbst regarding public safety, and the response from members of the Police Commission —
HERBST DEMANDS ANSWERS FROM TESORO ON PUBLIC SAFETY
TRUMBULL - - Republican nominee for First Selectman Mike Herbst on Monday called on First Selectman Vicki Tesoro to stand up and start offering answers about public safety and lack of support for the Trumbull Police Department, given the recent uptick in crime over the course of the last year. Herbst questioned Tesoro’s lack of engagement with rank and file officers, along with her lack of financial support, as the reason why there has been an uptick in crime.
“Two years ago, our current first selectman told us that public safety would be one of her highest priorities,” stated Herbst. “In this year’s budget, reports of domestic violence are up 8%, reports of assault are up 14%, reports of drug possession are up 27%, and reports of sexual assault are up 45%”
Herbst cited specific instances of violent crime increasing since June of 2018. These incidents have included:
An attempted carjacking at gun point at Twin Brooks Park
A beating and attempted robbery of a 60-year-old man, also at Twins Brook Park
Between May of 2019 and August of 2019, there was an armed robbery at a local restaurant, a stabbing at the Pequonnock River where no answers have been given to date, and last Saturday, an 82-year woman was mugged and carjacked at our local Mall.
Just this week a woman was accosted on the Pequonnock Trail
Herbst said the problem is not with our Police Department. The problem he said, is the lack of support they get from Town Hall. “What Mrs. Tesoro is not telling people is that the number of officers assigned to our patrol division has gone from 41 down to 26. Not only does this cause significant overtime, but it causes our police officers to be stretched to the max. When you have fewer officers assigned to patrol, you have fewer officers fighting crime. This is clearly a resource issue and I will not nickel and dime public safety.”
Herbst also noted that 25% of the Trumbull Police Department is eligible to retire within the next year. “With the decrease of officers in our patrol division, Mrs. Tesoro has an obligation to articulate a real plan of how she will deal with one-quarter of the department potentially leaving in the next 1-2 years.”
Herbst continued, “for the last two years, our Emergency Medical Services have been saddled with constant problems and a lack of adequate manpower to cover emergency calls, with a shortage of paramedics. Our police officers, who are medical first responders, have been stretched to the max. Recently hired police officers are leaving Trumbull for other departments. When you are the First Selectman, weak leadership invites mayhem. Strong leadership fosters stability and safety. I will not allow the Town of Trumbull to be made weak again and I will have the back of all of our emergency first responders - police, fire and EMS, should I be elected.”
Police commissioners’ response —
“In response to Mr.Herbst’ statement, it is truly an unfortunate message and one that is both factually inaccurate and totally irresponsible. It puts at risk our citizens and their property by falsely alleging that our town is inadequately protected. Politics has no place in the public safety arena and Mr Herbst should know better.
Specifically, a review of Trumbull Police department statistics for 2019 indicate not only that there was no increase in domestic violence, drug possession and sexual assault cases as Mr Herbst states, but there has actually been a decrease in those crime categories from 2018 as well as car thefts, larcenies, robberies and breach of peace cases and complaints.
Funding, recommended by the First Selectman and approved by the Board of Finance and Town Council, for the Trumbull Police department was increased in 2019 and is sufficient enough to maintain patrol levels that will ensure the safety of our residents and businesses. Mr. Herbst’s allegation that there are only 26 patrol officers is also patently false- there are actually 39 officers and 9 supervisors assigned solely to patrol duties in the town of Trumbull.
Simply put, the protection of our community is not and has not been compromised and suggestions and accusations by Mr. Herbst suggesting otherwise are false and dangerous.”