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Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch Defends Public Safety Record

Chion Wolf
Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch in a file photo.
"How can a small city fight against the illegal weapons that our government in Washington allows to pour into cities?"
Mayor Bill Finch

Despite an uptick in shootings in Bridgeport, Mayor Bill Finch is defending his city's public safety record.

"Our crime rate is at a 44-year low," Finch said Tuesday on WNPR's The Colin McEnroe Show. "We have police on Segways; we have them on bicycles, squad cars; on horseback. We have cops deployed all over the place. And yet how can a small city fight against the illegal weapons that our government in Washington allows to pour into cities? It'?s a very difficult situation."

Finch scoffed at former mayor Joe Ganim?'s opening of his own unofficial police substations in high crime neighborhoods in the city. Ganim served seven years in prison for corruption.

"We opened up an official substation -- the Bridgeport police department and the housing authority -- and a candidate who still thinks he'?s mayor despite being a disgraced thief is pretending to be mayor and setting up offices," Finch said. "I mean it's kind of a miscarriage of justice to do something like that."

Finch also addressed the controversy surrounding the state'?s 2011 takeover of Bridgeport'?s public schools --? a move that was ultimately deemed unconstitutional by the Connecticut Supreme Court.

"I think it was the right thing to do and I don?'t mean to sound stubborn. I think it gave us a year of non-political people running the schools," Finch said.

Democratic candidates in this tight mayoral race debate next week, when Finch will face Ganim. Candidates Mary-Jane Foster, Charles Coviello, and Howard Gardner are still awaiting word from elections officials on whether they'll qualify for the primary, according to The Connecticut Post. If confirmed, they'll also participate.

The forum is sponsored by the AARP of Connecticut in conjunction with the Greater Bridgeport Latino Network and the NAACP.

Diane Orson is a special correspondent with Connecticut Public. She is a longtime reporter and contributor to National Public Radio. Her stories have been heard on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Weekend Edition and Here And Now. Diane spent seven years as CT Public Radio's local host for Morning Edition.

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