Tonight, when Daryl K. Roberts is sworn in as Hartford’s 21st permanent police chief, he’ll have an advantage the last two chiefs didn’t. Patrick Harnett and Bruce Marquis both came to Hartford from other parts of the country, but Roberts – born and raised in the city – has spent the last 23 years rising through the Hartford police ranks, says the Hartford Courant. He doesn’t have to get directions to a crime scene. He won’t need a map to understand how things work within the department because he has managed many of the divisions, worked midnight shifts, headed the detective bureau, and had other critical assignments.
“An internal candidate knows the organization, its people and its culture. He or she knows the community, its leaders, its politics, its expectations,” said West Hartford Police Chief James J. Strillacci, a former president of the Connecticut Police Chiefs Association. “It’s good for an agency’s morale because it signifies confidence in its members.” The morale inside the department, many officers say, has improved since Harnett implemented a new community policing plan in February 2005 that divided the city into four districts and made captains and lieutenants more accountable to the neighborhoods they serve. Roberts, 47, is taking over a 440-sworn member department that includes many young officers. He has found it difficult to maintain his reputation of returning every telephone call, with 300 calls pouring in since his appointment last week.