Meriden officials holding public safety forum Tuesday at Washington Middle School

Meriden officials holding public safety forum Tuesday at Washington Middle School


FILE PHOTO -- Police Chief Jeffry Cossette speaks during the Meriden City Council meeting Sept. 6, 2016. | Richie Rathsack, Record-Journal

MERIDEN — City residents concerned about an increase in violence are invited to a question-and-answer session with city officials today.

The public forum will be at Washington Middle School at 5:30 p.m. Speakers will include City Manager Guy Scaife, Police Chief Jeffry Cossette and City Councilor Larue Graham.

Graham, chairman of the council’s public safety committee, met with concerned residents and agreed to host the forum in an expanded committee meeting. The meeting was modified to allow for extended public comment and answers.

“Everybody was on board,” Graham said. “They have a lot of questions and we’re going to answer them to the best of our ability.”

City residents Jo-Ann Hall and Melissa Hendricks met with Scaife last week to discuss the increased number of shootings in the city and the city’s strategy to maintain public safety. The women belong to the online forum Meriden Talks, which boasts more than 4,000 residents who wanted more answers. Hall and Hendricks addressed the City Council last month, but they wanted a forum for questions and answers. Hall is hoping for a big turnout.

“If you or your family has had a theft, an assault, or a shooting within a three block radius of your home, you need to be at Washington Middle School on Tuesday night to ask the hard questions and get answers,” Hall said. “And that should be everyone, because Meriden is in the midst of a crime wave that threatens this entire city.”

Hall and Hendricks want to learn the police department’s strategy for solving the crimes, and for ideas on how the public can work better with the police.

“There is a lot being done and that needs to be properly shared with the public,” Scaife said. “There is a lot going on, but that clearly is the dominant issue.”

Holly Wills, president of the Council of Neighborhoods, will attend the meeting and answer questions if needed, she said.

“Any conversation is important,” Wills said. “But I can’t stress enough the importance of coming to meetings.”

The Neighborhood Watch Associations cover every neighborhood in the city and are attended by neighborhood initiative police officers, Wills said.

“The associations do work, we problem solve with the officers about crime and quality of life issues,” Wills said.

Public safety committee member Bob Williams Jr. plans to attend the meeting.

“It’s a great idea,” Williams said. “It’s disturbing to everyone and the public deserves answers. And they should get them.” 203-317-2255 Twitter: @Cconnbiz

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