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Bridgeport Group Seeks Common Ground In Wake Of Fatal Shooting Of Teen

Bridgeport Police Chief A.J. Perez, Mayor Joe Ganim and community leader Carolyn Vermont were among those gathered Monday.
Bridgeport Police Chief A.J. Perez, Mayor Joe Ganim and community leader Carolyn Vermont were among those gathered Monday. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — Seven months after a police-involved shooting left a Bridgeport teen dead, city officials and community leaders announced Monday they hope to improve police/community relations through specialized training, body and dash cams, youth programs and conversation.

The group, which has been meeting on a near-weekly basis since the May 9 shooting of 15-year-old Jayson Negron, includes Mayor Joe Ganim, religious leaders and those involved in youth programs to help keep kids on the straight and narrow.

“We need to make kids know we’re here and we care for them,” said Carolyn Vermont, the group’s facilitator.

Negron was fatally shot by Officer James Boulay after police said he slammed a vehicle into an officer during a stolen car chase near Fairfield and Park avenues.

Boulay was placed on administrative leave after the incident, but some have called for his arrest and seek more answers in the incident.

Police Chief AJ Perez said about 120 officers have now been trained in de-escalation and cultural sensitivity and the department is rolling out more training for dealing with motor vehicle stops.

“It can get very ugly very quickly,” he said.

Perez said he expects to add dash and body cams soon, with a pilot program beginning by the end of the month.

Dave Daniels, a retired police officer with 25 years on the force, will be working on new youth programs supported by the city’s overall community policing initiative.

Pastor Carl McCluster of Shiloh Baptist Church called for all those involved to work for safety, peace and justice.

“We will be united and we will not be divided,” he said.

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