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Letter: Norwalk Needs a New Police Chaplain

NORWALK, Conn. — Norwalk.DailyVoice.com accepts signed, original letters to the editor. Letters may be e-mailed to letters@dailyvoice.com.

To the Editor,

The Norwalk Police Union is extremely disappointed that our police chaplain, the Rev. Nellie Mann, would rush to judgment on the actions of one of our officers, without knowing any of the facts. The incident at Calf Pasture Beach was never about race, it was about recognized Norwalk gang members.

The officer, who was working the beach on Memorial Day by himself, did an excellent job of handling a very volatile situation. The Rev. Mann never comments on the safety of the police officer and the patrons at the beach. The union stands behind this officer and support his actions.

The officer in question is a veteran, decorated sergeant with more than 24 years of experience. He is the department's recognized gang expert and is in charge of the department's street team, which is responsible for addressing Norwalk's gang and narcotics activity. He has been assigned to a number of federal task forces and his credentials are impeccable. He is also a minority officer.

The term "Bloods and Crips" was used to emphasize the seriousness of what back-up officers would encounter. The people that this officer was referring to are recognized Norwalk gang members that use the colors of the "Crips" (blue) and the "Bloods" (red) to identify their groups.

Rev. Mann did not verify any of the facts before she commented about this incident. She did not speak to the chief, she did not read a report and she certainly did not speak to the officer involved. The union feels that her comments referring to the Trayvon Martin incident are inflammatory, reckless and irresponsible.

No apology will be forthcoming from the officer because he did nothing wrong. The apology should come from Rev. Mann. Two weeks ago, Rev. Mann spoke at the department's police memorial ceremony, praising the sacrifices of our police officers. She marched in the Memorial Day Parade with our police officers. Our officers now feel betrayed by her comments. The union has lost its trust and faith in her ability to serve our membership as chaplin and she should resign immediately.

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