By Ryan Grace, Staff Writer
HARTFORD — For the first time in Hartford’s history, the police, fire and EMS departments will be closer to city residents and in one building on High Street.
Mayor Pedro E. Segarra along with the Hartford Police Department and Hartford Fire Department announced last week that several services have relocated to the new $77 million Public Safety Complex on 253 High St.
Those services include the 911 Dispatch Center, 311 Call Center, Hartford Fire Department Fire Marshals and Inspectors, Hartford Fire Department, Hartford Police Department Traffic, administrative offices, school crossing guards and parking.
“Now residents, visitors, businesses, will benefit from having a centralized location dedicated to facilitating calls and ultimately keeping our City safe. It’s another step towards improving communication among all City departments, a top priority for my administration,” Segarra said.
This move is significant because the current location of the Hartford Police Department and Emergency Services and Telecommunications on Jennings Road is distant from the center of the city and this will bring the city’s local respondents closer to the heart of Hartford.
“If you look at the concentration of activity where police would be needed in Hartford, the police are not close enough to respond efficiently,” said Hartford resident Jo-Ann Dominique of White St.
Some Hartford residents feel like the move to High St. is the ideal placement from an accessibility standpoint.
“It’s location in proximity to the highway system and a major intersection will provide a better response time for outlying regions that Jennings Road couldn’t accommodate” said Hartford resident Darien Stone.
From 1983 to 1995 the Hartford Police Department’s booking division was located on Morgan St. but was shut down to keep costs down for the state of Connecticut. The annual cost of running the Morgan Street facility, was $1.2 million.
The gleaming facility includes a two-level parking garage, the emergency operations center, the state’s backup emergency operations center and separate lockups for men and women.
The investment for the financing of the facility predominately comes from a bond referendum in 2000 in which 9,804 Hartford residents authorized the $40 million construction of a public safety complex.
Nancy Mulroy, spokeswoman for the Hartford Police Department, said: “All capital projects have to be funded by municipal bonds and those bond authorizations must be approved by the citizens of Hartford. If the city didn’t want this change, they would’ve voted it down. It’s been in the works for a long time.”
Hartford Police Chief James Rovella said that several services will transition to the new complex during the first week of December including Major Crimes Division, Juvenile Investigative Division, Internal Affairs and Backgrounds, Crime Scene Division, Civil Litigation, Advocate Office, Personnel/Planning and Accreditation Offices, Fiscal and Payroll Offices, and the Office of the Chief of Police.
Rovella added that patrol operations, booking and detention and the records division will continue to operate out of 50 Jennings Rd. until early January 2013,