On Tuesday morning, over 100 members of The Old Guard gathered at for the renewal of their weekly meeting series which features speakers from government, business, health industry, academia, and hobbies.
Guests for the meeting were , recently-appointed chief of the and his . After a few opening remarks about the changing geography and demographics of the West Hartford community, they answered questions from the audience for the balance of their presentation.
The chief described an active force of 130 members, their challenges in maintaining currency in policing methods, changes in the law, technology and language proficiencies with the amazing variety of languages spoken in West Hartford households.
Accordint to Chief Gove, there is currently one canine unit active with another in training.
The chief stated that crime generally is down in West Hartford but household and automobile theft has increased. Both chiefs encouraged keeping household windows and doors locked and locking car doors as well.
The town has a very active training facility where officers from other communities are also trained, with 400 officers a year completing certification training.
West Hartford, thanks to a grant obtained by Assistant Chief LaSata, has fingerprint analysis equipment which exists in only five other towns in the state. It allows officers to identify fingerprints from a crime scene in mere hours instead of months and has been used recently for apprehensions.
The chief said that due to the distribution of police officers on duty across the town, they are first responders to an emergency medical request while fire and ambulance follow.
The Traffic Division is one of the most active areas of the department, performing speed monitoring and accident investigation. Answering neighborhood concerns about speeding represents the largest number of complaints.
Community relations is an important activity that Chief Gove has been able to provide, addressing neighborhood associations, senior seminars and other groups. There are two resource officers assigned full time to the high schools and other officers float between the other schools in town.
The Old Guard meets weekly at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 2080 Boulevard, West Hartford at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesdays, September though May. Its membership includes retired and semi-retired executives and professionals from 17 towns throughout Connecticut.
Submitted by Don Kauke, Old Guard