DANBURY NAACP honors police chief
DANBURY — The city’s police chief will be honored this weekend by the state’s NAACP chapter for being one of the most influential African American leaders in Connecticut.
Chief Patrick Ridenhour will receive the honor during a reception Saturday at Foxwoods.
“We are thrilled to honor black men and women in Connecticut who are making a difference in our communities,” state NAACP President Scot X. Esdaile said. “This event will give us the opportunity to reflect on our important victories over the NAACP’s past 109 years, strengthen old relationships and create new ones, as we prepare to continue to take on the constant challenges that face our people on a daily basis.”
Ridenhour said he is honored to receive both the award and the recognition of the department’s efforts to make the community a safer place for everyone.
Ridenhour was also awarded with the community policing award earlier this year by the National Association of Black Law Enforcement Officers.
“It really means a lot to be honored, but I know that there is still more work to do,” Ridenhour said. “I feel very blessed throughout my career to have opportunities for advancement and I’m very proud to be serving as Danbury’s chief.”
Prior to taking the position in Danbury, Ridenhour served as the police chief in Stratford for more than five years. He previously worked in Waterbury for nearly 20 years where he left as assistant deputy chief.
While the police department was in the spotlight earlier this year for not having enough black officers, Ridenhour said he would work with city officials to amend the city’s civil service rules to make it easier for all youth to become police officers in the city.
Lowering the minimum age requirement to apply to the department from 21 years old to 18 or 19 years old could help, Ridenhour said, as well as providing bonuses to those who were involved in the department’s Explorers program.
The program, which attracts a large number of minority students, serves youth in the city who are interested in a career in law enforcement.
“I thought that if people see we have minority leadership in Danbury it might encourage people to come here who might have reservations,” Ridenhour said at the time. “It’s difficult to get more diversity when you don’t have a lot in the first place.”
Other people from the region to make the list include Jahana Hayes, a Democrat running for the 5th Congressional District, New Haven Fire Chief John Alson Jr., Bridgeport school superintendent Aresta Johnson and New Haven Mayor Toni Harp.
The honorees will be presented with their awards during the dinner on Saturday. The event is already sold out.