Danbury Mayor Speaks On Recent Peaceful Protests + Police Policy
Every Tuesday, we get a chance to talk with Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton about how Danbury is dealing with the issues that are affecting our nation.
From coronavirus, to protests, to defunding police, these are all issues we're dealing with on a daily basis. So, how is the City of Danbury handling things? Each week, we get a chance to find out first hand from Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton.
So, looks like Danbury had a pretty good week lowering that coronavirus curve.
"We did have a nice slow week, over the weekend we saw an uptick in infections, but before we can see any trends, we have to wait a few more days. We've had a lot of rallies, the public is now going out more, dining and things like that. I do expect more cases, we certainly are ready for that, but I want to let the public know that the virus hasn't gone anywhere, it's still out there, and still very dangerous, especially if you're in that vulnerable population. But even if you're not, it's something you just don't want to have. We're also getting ready to bring back all of our non essential employees right after the fourth of July here in Danbury".
You have had two Black Lives Matter rallies here in Danbury, and it seems like things went pretty well.
"We had one last Wednesday, and one on Saturday, both organized by young people in our community, and as far as organizational skills and getting them going, it was great. If we didn't have a pandemic, it would have been no problem at all, and we probably would have had bigger crowds, but that being said, things were peaceful. The people who shut down the highway were not part of the general group that organized the protest. The organizers did not condone that activity, they didn't feel it was appropriate. During the second protest on Saturday, they actually made a statement saying please do not go shut down the highway. Having said all that, things were peaceful, I applaud our Police Chief for getting out there and talking to people, I spoke to the protesters as well. We're going to keep up the conversation, and eventually, hopefully, we'll get some action".
Something else we're now facing in this country, and that's defunding the police. Have you talked to anyone at the Danbury Police Department about implementing any changes based on what's happening in other cities?
One thing I would do, is to defer to our Chief in terms of actual policing changes. I'm not comfortable making those decisions myself, our chief is an expert at that, and I would take his advice in council as to how best to do that if there are changes to be made. A lot of the requests and demands of Black Lives Matter are national requests, and they are things we already do here in Connecticut. We don't use the choke hold, we don't use certain techniques that they are asking to be barred. We do other things like community outreach, and community policing. We're way ahead of the curve, and I think we're even nationally accredited now, so we are actually ahead of the request and demands, but that doesn't mean the work is finished. I would love to see a more diverse department, but there's got to be some changes that happen at the state level to allow that to happen, because they are the ones who certify officers. Generally speaking, we have diversified our department more now then we ever have, but I just think the department should reflect the community that it serves, so there are things out there that we can do, no question.