U.S. Attorney and Police Chiefs Issue Statement on Project Longevity
Promises Made, Promises to be Kept
In 2012, federal, state and local officials combined to launch an innovative anti-violence initiative in New Haven. We called it Project Longevity in recognition of our goal to provide longevity to the lives of urban black males – who too often are cut down by gun violence – and because we aspired to instill the program’s core concepts in our police departments as an enduring way of “doing business.” Within the year, Bridgeport and Hartford were also up and running.
Project Longevity has lived up to its name. Now in its fifth year, it continues to bring together law enforcement, community members and service providers to collectively address violent crime. The budget for Project Longevity has included the salaries for a Statewide Manager, three city Project Managers, and three Service Coordinators. These seven individuals are the backbone of the operation. They have worked hard to forge partnerships between law enforcement, social service providers and members of violent groups to help those who want to step away from dangerous associations toward a new, law abiding life. This is not easy work, as it requires overcoming challenges involving employment, housing, addiction, anger management and transportation. Through the unwavering commitment of our Project Longevity leaders, they have earned the trust of both community members and violent offenders.
The Project Longevity leaders’ diligence has also led to remarkable relationships amongst all of our law enforcement partners. The police departments of our state’s three largest cities are working hand-in-hand with our Statewide Coordinator and their city’s Program Manager. Some departments insist that their special units meet and share intelligence on a daily or weekly basis. In New Haven, we have meetings four days a week, with representatives from the NHPD intel unit, shooting task force, homicide, robbery/burglary, and detective units, District Managers, SROs, Narcotics, Bureau of Identification, ATF, FBI, DEA, DOC, West Haven and Hamden Police Departments, adult probation, adult parole, juvenile prosecutor’s office, juvenile probation, and juvenile parole, federal probation, State’s Attorney’s Office, United States Attorney’s Office and the Project Longevity Project Manager in attendance. The group’s sole aim is to reduce, prevent and solve violent crime by quickly and resolutely responding to the latest group to act violently. Their success is boldly reflected in the dramatic decline in violent crime in New Haven since Project Longevity’s inception in 2012.
Taxpayers benefit directly from Project Longevity in the form of averted medical, law enforcement, and criminal justice expenses that otherwise are incurred by the government. Taking the yearly cost of the entire program, one study suggests that Connecticut taxpayers benefit from almost $5 million in net savings. But in light of Connecticut’s fiscal crisis, our Statewide Coordinator, three Project Managers and three Service Coordinators are working without pay or assurance they will receive retroactive remuneration. Each year, our project managers conduct at least three Call-Ins, participate in hundreds of Custom Notifications, deliver anti-violence presentations to community groups and schools, and spearhead food and clothing drives. Although this small team has not been paid for months, they have not stopped working to make our communities safer. Their dedication to Project longevity does not depend on a paycheck. We hope we can keep our promises to these faithful professionals.
U.S. Attorney Deirdre M. Daly
Bridgeport Police Chief Armando J. Perez
Hartford Police Chief James C. Rovella
New Haven Police Chief Anthony Campbell