December 11 2012

Renee Forte scored #3

Top scorer Derek Gartner

A Fair Haven beat cop known for grabbing illegal guns topped the long-awaited list of potential new sergeants released Tuesday.

The list was certified and released Tuesday afternoon at a meeting of the Civil Service Commission. It revealed how 94 city cops scored on a recent exam for promotion to sergeant. Sixty-five out of 94 cops passed the exam; they needed to score a 70 to pass.

The department has 21 vacancies to fill right now. It also has 10 lieutenant vacancies, which will create a need for more sergeants next year after candidates take a lieutenant’s exam.

The commission unanimously approved the list.

The list’s release was eagerly anticipated for several reasons. The department hasn’t promoted anyone to sergeant for years, meaning lots of cops have been waiting for a chance to advance. That has also meant that the department has struggled with a severe lack of supervisors.

Arguments over the previous sergeant’s exam have ended up in court, throwing another wrench into the mix.

The top scorer, with a score of 88.35 out of 100, was Derek Gartner, a five-and-a-half-year veteran of the force who has twice been named an Independent “cop of the week.”

Detective Wayne Bullock scored second with an 87.57. Just behind him with an 87.25 score came Renee Forte, who patrols with the popular police dog Bitang.

Hispanic cops did not score well in the exam. The racial breakdown of promotions has proved a controversial subject in both the fire and police departments; read about some of that here. Thirty-four out of 40 white candidates passed; 20 out of 33 blacks passed; and 10 out of 20 Hispanics. One Asian took the exam and passed it.

Detective Rose Dell

Other top scorers: Sean Maher came in fourth with 86.91; Dietrich Hernandez fifth with 86.88; John Healy sixth with 85.15; Roy Davis seventh with 84.87; Detective Rose Dell (pictured) next with 84.23; then Stephan Torquati with 84.08 and Karl Jacobson with 83.28.

Officer James Evarts, who last year almost lost his job in a disciplinary proceeding, emerged successful with an 83.26 score, which placed him 11th on the list, followed by Detective Tammi Means, who works in internal affairs.

Police commissioners will now interview the top-scoring candidates and decide whom to promote using the Rule of Three, which means they must start from the top of the list and may skip over no more than two names.

The Civil Service Commission took up the matter at its 12:30 p.m. meeting Tuesday in the Hall of Records. Assistant Chief Denise Blanchard and one cop who took the test showed up to find out the results, which had been kept secret even to the police department top brass. They ended up waiting over an hour to find out the results, as the commission dealt with another matter in executive session.

“My blood pressure isn’t going to take this. My heart’s going to explode,” said the expectant cop as he waited in the hallway. (He didn’t want his photo taken because he does undercover work.)

Noella Marcano

The commission reopened its doors. Noelia Marcano (pictured), the city’s personnel director, ran through the promotions process. She said the city issued a Request for Proposals in 2011 for an outside company to create the exam. Bids closed Oct. 18, 2011. The city chose Booth Research Group (BRG) of Parker, Colo.

At BRG’s suggestion, the city’s labor relations department and the police union agreed on a test that weighed the oral examination more heavily than the written. BRG came up with a test whose written component counted for 35 percent of the final grade; and three oral exams weighed 65 percent.

A total of 94 cops took the written and oral exams. The written portion included 100 multiple-choice questions and lasted three hours. Thirty cops from outside Connecticut administered the oral exam; they asked questions based on “realistic situations” a sergeant would have to deal with, according to Marcano.

The written portion tested cops’ understanding of local and state police protocols. Cops found the test difficult, Marcano reported.

“Performance on the written exam is disappointing,” she said. “As a whole, candidates did not do well on this portion.” BRG did an analysis to determine if there was adverse impact to a certain racial group. The analysis determined there was no statistical difference in how the 71 males and 23 females fared.

However, there was a statistically significant difference in performance among racial groups, Marcano said: 50 percent of Hispanics passed the combined exams; 61 percent of blacks, and 85 percent of whites. BRG examined the results. It found that Hispanics performed lower than whites on the written questions regarding departmental rules. Blacks scored lower than whites on the Connecticut Law Enforcement Officers’ Field Manual, or “Red Book,” she said.

After cops took the test, they were allowed to give feedback on any questions they thought were flawed or unfair. BRG received complaints about five questions on the exam, but took a look and found those questions to be valid, according to Marcano. She said BRG cautioned that any race-based analysis should take into account the small number of people in each racial subgroup.

BRG determined that the test was a valid test based on content related to their jobs, Marcano said. The group recommended certifying the list.

Commissioners took the advice. Commissioner John Cirello pointed out that the sample size is so small that if one more Hispanic had passed the test, the pass rate would have been five points higher. The commissioners—Cirello, Daniel Del Prete, Anne Massaro, James L. Williams, and Allyn Wright—voted unanimously to approve the list with little discussion.

The list was certified for one year, after which commissioners can vote to extend its life for another year, Marcano said.

Lt Jeff Hoffman and Assistant Chief Blanchard

At the end of the meeting, the cop who had been awaiting his fate got a hug from Assistant Chief Blanchard. He had placed in the top 20 spots, putting him in line for likely promotion. Blanchard said she didn’t know the precise timing of the promotions. If all 20 cops came from the detective division, for example, promoting them en masse would create structural problems, so they may have to be promoted in two batches.

The New Haven 10, a group of black cops who sued the city over the 2009 sergeants exam, did not fare well in the latest round. None of the 10 plaintiffs made the top 20. The highest-scorer, Albert McFadden, ranked 27th with a score of 77.14, followed by Shafiq Abdussabur in 28th place. That means they won’t be in line for promotion this year, though spots will open up when cops move up to lieutenant positions next year. The lead plaintiff in their case, Bruce Bonner, ranked 43rd on the list. The cops argue that they should have been promoted years ago but the city discriminated against them when the Civil Service Commission certified the 2009 eligibility list for only one year, not two, because Latinos scored poorly.

Other results:

13. Joshua Armistead 82.21
14. Robert Lawlor Jr. 81.88
15. David Zannelli 81.80
16. Peter McKoy 81.54
17. Marco Francia 79.94
18. Jason Weted 79.83
19. Elisa Tuozzoli 79.64
19. Robert Maturo 79.64
20. Betsy Segui 78.85
21. Elliot Rosa 78.80
22. Brett Runlett 78.79
23. Manmeet Colon 78.14
24. Mary Helland 78.05
25. Jason Rentkowicz 77.40
26. Charlette Barham 77.37
27. Abert McFadden 77.14
28. Shafiq Abdussabur 77.14
29. Mark O’Neil 76.76
30. Ronald Ferrante 76.57

– Melissa Bailey

About Jumpin' Jack Cash

Deep connections are the most important aspect of my existence. I don’t care if people don’t know what they want. I love books. I’m cynical of love stories, although I’m romantic. I adore gardens. I like women who challenge me. I love the rain as an excuse to stay inside and dream. I'm furiously impatient. If I ask you a question best to tell me the truth as I'm likely to already know the answer. I'm a carnivore. I continuously underestimate the magic of fresh flowers in my home. I love warm rain in the summer. My mood elevates to epic proportions when the sun shines. Tell me not to do something and I'll do it twice and take photos. Running is my antidepressant. I loathe lies. I rarely forgive a lie. Loyalty and honesty are my most noble virtues, and I value them more than anything in other people. I love to love, and am able to fall in love very quickly, although it's only ever happened once. I understood myself and fixed myself only after destroying myself. My greatest excitement comes from deliberately getting lost in foreign cities. I can be extremely loud and frighteningly silent. I hate insinuations. I love storms. Justice for all. I'm a proud man, but welcome the influence of the feminine soul. I have two sisters. I’m a dreamer. I’m a deep thinker. Don’t deal with guilt trips or drama that well. I'm extremely stubborn and persistent. I'm brilliant at keeping secrets. I love driving. I become absolutely and completely lost while watching a burning fire. When the toast pops from the toaster I’m never ready and shit myself. I play the guitar, but require much improvement. Solitude and warmth of the sun are perfect together. I’ve been married once and now divorced. I’m a music junkie. Chocolate mousse is the shit. I curse too much. I find it difficult to make friends. I spent four years as a firefighter. I’ve run my own company since 1991. Bright lights, big cities. I’ve been an executive producer of a feature film. Some people don’t care, and that’s the biggest let-down of the human race. There are cures and solutions for many evils, but no remedy for the worst of them all - the apathy of human beings. The sound of the Italian language being spoken is as good as my favourite music. I hate corrupt cops. I relentlessly and passionately pursue anybody and anything that sets my soul on fire. I'm a dog lover, and all my dogs are considered family members. I have an obsession with photography. I have some close friends who are household names, but shall always remain anonymous. I’m crazy but not lazy. Losing a soulmate has hurt me badly. My two young sons are the nucleus of my universe. I love airports. I love freedom. If you are dishonest or disloyal, I can erase you from my life and memory immediately and permanently. I yearn to explore, dream about and discover as many friendships, deep connections and places, one possibly can in a lifetime.
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