Dear Editor

   Over the last four months the Waterbury Neighborhood Council (WNC) worked diligently to have the community police division funded as the division was cut in half back in December 2010. The community police division ensures that our neighborhoods have an effective and proactive response to our quality of life concerns. These concerns are a major component in moving Waterbury into a positive direction.

   The WNC thanks all of the Aldermen for listening to the citizens and hearing our concerns. They took the proper action and worked hard on the budget to find the funding. The WNC gave various suggestions on savings and revenue enhancements without the need to raise the property tax rate.

   At a press conference on May 25 at the Police Head Quarters, Mayor Michael Jarjura, President of the Board of Aldermen Paul Pernerewski, and Police Chief Michael Gugliotti gave credit to the Council for advocating for community police funding and for suggesting to them to think outside the box to find the means for funding.

   In that vain, in discussion with Mayor Jarjura, the Police Department, under the leadership of Chief Michael Gugliotti, has applied for a federal grant from the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program of the Department of Justice. This grant will pay for the entire community police division salaries, benefits scheduled raises for 3 years saving local taxpayers $3.6 million. The fourth year the city will retain the hired COPS officers through local funds.

   It is important that our federal delegation support and lobby for this COPS grant for Waterbury. Please contact our federal delegation. Please call Senator Joe Liebermann at (800) 225-5605, Senator Dick Blumenthal (860) 258-6940, Congressman Chris Murphy (203) 759-7541 and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (203) 562-3718 and ask them to advocate for this grant.

   When we work together for solutions we have a better chance for success. Citizen engagement in our democracy is key to moving our city forward.

Joshua Angelus
Waterbury Neighborhood Council