West Hartford Police Chief Tracey Gove was invited to attend a briefing at the White House as part of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing.
By Ronni Newton
West Hartford Police Chief Tracey Gove was one of several dozen police leaders from throughout the country invited to attend a White House briefing Friday on “21st Century Policing,” where he had the opportunity to engage in dialogue with his peers on topics such as police data, officer safety and wellness, social media, and implicit bias training.
The briefing was attended by 50-60 police leaders from throughout the country, with representatives from as far away as Alaska, Arizona, and Texas. He was the only Connecticut chief to attend, although chiefs from Avon and Fairfield have attended earlier sessions, Gove said.
Gove said he is pleased to report that West Hartford has already implemented many of the tenets of the President’s 21st Century Policing Report, although not necessarily as formally as the task force is recommending. Connecticut law enforcement as a whole is “ahead of the curve in many of the ‘best practices’ that were recommended,” Gove said.
Last week West Hartford Police hosted a fully-booked community program on “Understanding Use of Force” and also regularly hosts citizen’s academy as well as college academy programs. Gove said that the deputy director of the COPS Office (Community Oriented Policing Services, US DOJ) advised participants that grant funding will be made available for many of the initiatives recommended in the President’s 21st Century Policing Report, and he plans to explore opportunities that may help fund some of the progressive programming that is planned for West Hartford.
Gove said that he is hopeful his attendance at the briefing helps reaffirm the department’s commitment to remaining progressive and maintaining a high level of service to the community.
“I was very thankful for the opportunity. It was certainly humbling to be asked to attend the forum to share ideas with my peers from around the country and participate in the dialogue,” Gove said. “National safety truly begins at the local level, and it’s nice to see the federal government taking the time to listen to what the nation’s local law enforcement leaders have to offer.”
There was something else that family and friends were interested in when Gove returned from Washington, DC: “And, to answer the burning question that has been on the lips of my family and friends when I came home, no, I didn’t get to meet President Obama. Maybe on my next visit to the White House,” he said.
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