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Copyright 2004 The Hartford Courant Company
Hartford Courant (Connecticut)
March 2, 2004 Tuesday, 7 SPORTS FINAL

Mayor Eddie A. Perez has not revealed much publicly about his search for a new police chief, but an ad posted on a law enforcement website suggests that the new chief will be under a lot of pressure to turn things around in a hurry.
The lengthy help-wanted ad, posted on the website for the National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives, lists 10 goals that a new Hartford police chief will be expected to meet within the first 18 months to two years on the job.

The objectives include improvements in areas that have dogged the police department for years. Among them:
Improving morale among officers by enhancing communication between the chief and the rank and file, as well as between the department and the community. The chief also will be required to improve morale by reducing routine paperwork for officers and cultivating talented and dedicated officers for promotion.

Instilling and rewarding a department culture that prides itself on customer service and assumes accountability when officers show poor judgment or abuse their authority.

Increase the department's diversity by hiring more women and minorities. According to the ad, the city's population is now made up of about 80 percent minorities, while the department's makeup is about 20 percent minorities.

Improve the department's rate of solving crimes so that it comes closer to the national average for other police departments in the country.

Perez, who launched the national search after forcing the resignation of former Chief Bruce P. Marquis in December, has repeatedly said that he wants a police department that will be more responsive and sensitive to the needs of residents and businesses. But some top police officials question whether the goals, while worth pursuing, can be met in such a short time.

"It looks like they've already got a candidate in mind: God," said one top department official, who asked not to be identified. "It would take a miracle worker to get all of this stuff done in two years."

But Perez, who declined to discuss specifics of the job search, said he is confident the city will find someone up to the challenge.

"I wouldn't be putting it out there if I didn't think it was realistic," he said. "It's a reality check, but if someone is looking to make a name for themselves at a national level, they can do it in Hartford by taking on this challenge."

Perez said the decision to post the ad on the national group's website, as well as trade publications for minority law enforcement officials, shows the city's interest in finding a candidate who is a woman or a minority. Currently, the department is being run by acting Police Chief Mark R. Pawlina, a 20-year veteran who is white.

Perez did not say if he would be willing to consider Pawlina for the permanent chief's job, but added that he has been impressed with the pool of candidates from outside the city who have so far shown interest in the job. Perez has previously said that he would consider Pawlina only after looking at all other candidates first.

Pawlina is expected to remain as acting chief until at least the end of this month, but could stay on longer if the search takes longer than anticipated.

The search is being conducted by Isaacson, Miller, a Boston-based consulting firm contracted by the city to target candidates with police experience in urban areas similar to Hartford, Perez said. The city is paying the firm $45,000 to conduct the search.

"They're doing an excellent job looking all over New England and the rest of the country," Perez said.

Some residents said the city should hire Pawlina because of his extensive involvement in the neighborhoods.

"Why spend all that money looking for someone else when you have the right person in place already?" said Hyacinth Yennie, a community activist in the city's Barry Square neighborhood.
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