Video | Lawmakers propose taskforce to address street takeovers (WFSB)

May 25, 2023

By Dylan Fearon
Published: May. 24, 2023

(WFSB) – The video is alarming, and makes you worry about being safe on the roads in your neighborhoods. The question many of you want the answer to is: what is being done about all of these violent street takeovers? Within the past 24 hours, the state Senate passed a bill creating a task force to address this problem.
But will it be enough?

“The police need help. They can’t help us stay safe if they don’t have what they need,” said Stephanie and Dennis Sargisian. When Dennis and Stephanie Sargisian escaped a mob jumping on and kicking their car, they frantically called 911. “It took the police a while to respond too,” Dennis said. It happened Sunday night in Tolland around 10 p.m.

Town Manager Brian Foley said state police decided to stand down. Police were working undercover, looking into the takeover group and its alleged ringleader for months, eventually arresting him. State Senator Jeff Gordon (R – Tolland) still has questions about the police response. “There needs to be a learning experience. A better understanding why was that order issued. Why weren’t police there. I think they should’ve been. Moving forward there needs to be a concrete action plan,” Gordon said.

Gordon co-sponsored a bill which passed unopposed in the Senate. It would create a taskforce in Hartford County focused on these takeovers. “They’re understaffed. They don’t have enough resources. We need to do more,” Gordon said. These takeovers are happening all around the state, not just Hartford County.

The hope is if the taskforce is successful, it can have a broader reach. I want to show you this map. Recently reported street takeovers happened from New Haven to Hartford, Bristol, Simsbury, Bridgeport, and Tolland. Senator Derek Slap (D – West Hartford) said the taskforce will work on a game plan to deal with street takeovers. It will also receive money: $300,000 over two years from the state.

Hartford police may be contributing $187,000 next year and in 2025. “We can’t flip a button and eliminate all crime but we can I think do more to help our local PD to get them more resources things like drones infiltrating social media circles identifying the organizers of these events,” Slap said. Dennis and Stephanie still wonder if it’s enough to stop hundreds of people taking over a street and causing havoc in our towns. “They’re outnumbered I don’t think can do anything,” Dennis said.

“They’re terrifying it feels like anarchy to people who see them,” said Slap. The house is expected to vote on the bill in the next 10 days. Then it heads to Governor Ned Lamont’s desk.

Copyright 2023 WFSB. All rights reserved.