Mayor Swears In 28 New Cops, Calls For New Weapons Ban

Allan Appel PhotoAs he dispatched a fresh batch of rookies to help keep New Haven’s streets safe, Mayor John DeStefano called for the national banning of semi-automatic weapons and large capacity gun clips—or else “the unimaginable will become more commonplace.”

He issued the policy recommendation and the jeremiad prophecy Monday evening just before administering the solemn oath to 28 newly minted New Haven officers and four others from Hamden, Redding, and Ridgefield who finished the regimen at the city’s police academy.

The graduation ceremony drew a full house to Wilbur Cross High School. As each recruit received a diploma and a badge to become a sworn officer of the law, hoots, hollers, and shout-outs of love and admiration reverberated across the auditorium.

When their field training is complete, all the officers will hit the streets as foot patrol officers, said Assistant Chief for Professional Standards Thaddeus Reddish.

As community policing ramps up, New Haven is scrambling to fill a shortage of officers and to meet demands of neighborhoods to have officers they can get to know and to rely on.

Click here for a story about the swearing in of four officers, trained at the academy in Meriden, back in October. And here for a story how a little corner of East Rock raised a ruckus when there was a danger of losing their beat cops.

Mayor DeStefano’s remarks followed two moments of silence requested by previous speakers. The police academy chief, Sgt. Anthony Campbell, who served as master of ceremonies,  initiated the ceremonies with one of those moments because, he said, “Our joyous day is tempered by the pain and suffering of our neighbors in Newtown.”

Chief Dean Esserman called for a moment of silence “for Connecticut’s fallen children” on a solemn occasion made more solemn by recent events.

Then DeStefano who got specific.

Citing the 32 homicides and 133 instances of people wounded by bullets in New Haven last year, DeStefano, a member of the national group Mayors Against Illegal Guns, called for a countrywide ban on semi-automatic weapons like the Bushmaster rifle used in the Newton shootings as well as the banning of large-capacity cartridge clips.

He also called it no longer acceptable that 40 percent of gun purchases occur without background checks.

“As the president pointed out, no one law can do it [all]. But we must begin. The consequences of evil behavior can be lessened,” DeStefano said.

Turning to the recruits about to become sworn officers, he said, “These 32 are stepping up. It’s now up to us, as the citizens of New Haven, to do the same.”

An Example Since Grade School

That’s how godmother Tennille Murphy described goddaughter Cherelle Carr, who was sworn in with the 27 other New Haven cops and four others from surrounding towns. She is the only female officer among this group of New Haven cops, although female officers from Ridgefield and Redding also trained in her class.

Carr said she encountered no gender barriers at the academy. “We all bonded,” she said.

Fellow new officer Nicholas Katz shared meals and lots of cheesecake at Carr’s family’s house during the 26 weeks of training, noted Carr’s mom, Inger Cowan.

“She made us all better,” Katz said.

Carr, 23, grew up in the old Elm Haven projects, went to Wexler-Grant, Troup, and Career High. She graduated from Quinnipiac University, where the courses she took in criminal justice confirmed her in her career choice. Her grandfather Barrington Bogle was a cop in Jamaica for 12 years before he came to establish a family in the Elm City.

It was he who pinned the badge on his granddaughter.

In alphabetical order, here are the new New Haven officers:

Lesley Billingslea; Brendan Borer; Keron Bryce; Brendan Canning, Jr.,; Cherelle Carr; Jacob Cedeno; Matthew Collier; Daniel Conklin; MIchael Criscuolo; Vincent DeLeo; David Diaz; Osvaldo Garcia; Thomas Glynn; Michael Haines; Ryan Kajtor; Nicholas Katz; Matthew King; Jonathan Lambe; Paul Mandel; Eric Pesino; Paul Prusinski; Freddy Salmeron; Jason Santiago; John Schmaltz Jr.; Joseph Silvestrini; Dana E. Smith II; Amaro Vitale; Derek Werner.

Also graduating to serve with the Hamden police department: Justin Martin and Andrew Pfeiffer. Christina Dias will serve with the Redding police and Victoria Nissen with the Ridgefield Police Department.

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posted by: anonymous on December 18, 2012  10:41am

Police body armor is next to useless against some of the weapons being sold at WalMart. 

Sadly, some of these new recruits might not make it to see their children grow up if we don’t address these misguided gun policies.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on December 18, 2012  10:52am

posted by: anonymous on December 18, 2012 9:41am

Police body armor is next to useless against some of the weapons being sold at WalMart.

How is that.I never heard of this.

posted by: HhE on December 18, 2012  11:14am

anonymous, most any deer hunting rifle will defeat threat level II body armour.  Is your plan to end hunting of large game by rural poor? 

By the way, I do not own any guns myself.  I just know people who work very hard for less than minimum wage, and hunting and fishing is how their families can have protein.

posted by: RCguy on December 18, 2012  11:20am

Google “Slide stock” and “Bump fire” in relation to semi-automatic rifles.

They are add-ons to the rifles that utilize the recoil action in order to make semi-automatic guns have an “automatic” fire rate.

posted by: Curious on December 18, 2012  12:43pm

Wow, I was ready to chew out Anonymous, but then I looked it up and saw this.

HhE, no one needs this kind of gun for hunting.  I grew up hunting.  You can be a great hunter with a bolt-action rifle.  You can be a great hunter with a pump-action shotgun.  Hell, you can be a great hunter with a black-powder musket or a bow and arrow…if you really want to put meat on the table, you’ll probably own all of the above, because CT has different seasons for different weapons, and the amount of deer you are allowed take increases as you partake in each type of season.

Sure, a hunting rifle can penetrate body armor, and you might be able to take down one police officer, but then you’re gonna get swarmed and taken out.  If you have an assault rifle, then it’s a different story.

No one in this country has any reasonable need for an assault rifle or a 30-round clip.

posted by: HhE on December 18, 2012  1:09pm

Curious, where did I say anything about self loading vs. bolt, pump, or break open?  The cases of rural poor I was referring to are from up state New York, where the dear hunting laws are significantly different.  Most, if not all, rifle cartridges can defeat body armour.  This includes those rifle cartridges suitable for hunting deer. 

I have said nothing in favor or in opposition to gun control.  What I have advocated for is good argumentation.

posted by: NHPDHartman on December 18, 2012  4:35pm

Anonymous - regarding body armor being next to useless - you’re wrong.

That said, this article is about the accomplishments and dedication of 32 Police Officers - 28 of whom will soon be walking beats in New Haven’s many communities.

Congratulations and welcome.

The citizens of New Haven and the Officers you will soon be working with are expecting you to work hard. Please represent the department well and go home each day, in tact, to your loved ones.

It is at the beginning of your new careers, that you have the ability to impress those you work with and the good folks who live and work in New Haven. In the time to come, you can also work to impress those you work for.

Stay focused, ask questions, remember what you’ve been taught, drive carefully, floss daily, rely on one another, disregard foolish advice, disassociate yourselves from foolish people, polish your shoes and above all, know you’re appreciated and be careful.

posted by: Invictus on December 18, 2012  4:41pm

Out of all the homicides from last year how many were committed using these so called “assault weapons”? How many would have been stopped with a “magazine capacity ban”? Oh wait none! For 2 reasons because the people who committed them don’t care about laws period and the second is because in all of those there was no 30 rounds fired. What a shameful display by the mayor of demeaning those recruits graduation by turning it into a political agenda meeting. It was the 1st time that I have seen the most important people “the recruits” not sitting on stage, but instead a bunch of politicians. Someone please tell me why Smuts was sitting on stage?

posted by: Rivertostate on December 18, 2012  4:55pm

Now that everyone has gotten off there gun control soap boxes lets use this comment section to congratulate the new recruits. You’ve done well and are now joining the ranks of New Haven’s Finest. Wear your badge with honor and pride. Carry out your duties safely, respectfully, and with dignity. The job will show you the worst of humanity as well as the best. Good luck officers…...

posted by: Chip on December 18, 2012  8:29pm

In Dunblane Scotland, 1996, 16 elementary school children were slaughtered. It remains one of the worst criminal acts involving firearms in the history of the UK. As a result private ownership of handguns was made illegal in the UK. UK now has about 35 to 45 gun murders a year. The US has that any per day!. Japan has virtually eliminated shooting deaths with world’s strictest gun laws - avg about 2 deaths per year! On April 28, 1996, a gunman opened fire on tourists in a seaside resort in Port Arthur, Tasmania. By the time he was finished, he had killed 35 people and wounded 23 more. It was the worst mass murder in Australia’s history.announced a bipartisan deal with state and local governments to enact sweeping gun-control measures. A decade and a half hence, the results of these policy changes are clear: They worked really, really well- homicides by firearm plunged 59 percent between 1995 and 2006, with no corresponding increase in non-firearm-related homicides and no mass shootings The drop in suicides by gun was even steeper: 65 percent. Time for us to take same action!!! We can do this, too!

posted by: neimanMarcus203 on December 18, 2012  8:33pm

Im very happy for the young woman that became an Officer she should be very proud. If she is half the officer (Ms.Knox) is she will make a fine officer. Keep all the young cadets in your prayers.

posted by: jamesbulldg on December 19, 2012  5:15pm

If the gun only comes with a 17 shot mag is it a high cap.?  If they convict all gun charges and all other charges than it would help.  Most of the time the gun charges are passed over for others. Drugs. Red light. Etc. enforce all laws…........... If a gun is used they pay time.

posted by: okaragozian1 on December 21, 2012  8:46am

A gun in the hands of a bad person is like a car in the hands of an alcoholic.  Maybe we should ban cars since drinking is legal or maybe we should ban drinking.

What I really think we should do is pass laws against hunger and rainy days.  Hunger kills people and rainy days cause accidents which kill people.  I also want to ban sad movies because they make me sad.  I want to ban foul language.  I just want to ban everything that can cause me harm.  I want to ban bad people.  Can we pass a law saying that there should be no more bad people?  I just want to ban everything I don’t like.  I think we need more laws to ban stuff that is bad.  I am certain that all these laws we pass will be followed just like people follow the laws on speeding.  Considering the weather this morning, I think we should really get started on passing laws against rainy days right away!