top of page
  • Writer's pictureProject Longevity Admin

Daily intel meetings help New Haven’s Project Longevity prevent violent crime

Daily intel meetings help New Haven’s Project Longevity prevent violent crime

NEW HAVEN >> When Stacy R. Spell knocks on the door of the home of an at-risk teen or young adult, he has one goal in mind.

“We want to stop the crime from happening, we want to save lives before they are either destroyed or taken.” Spell said. “That’s the bottom line; it’s about prevention.”

Spell is the project manager for New Haven’s Project Longevity, a program aimed at reducing violence by gang members and others by providing them with support and services, as well as making clear joint local, state and federal law enforcement will occur.

In New Haven, the key to accomplishing that goal is information. So four days a week, Spell is joined by police, law enforcement agencies and other service agencies, for “intel” meetings where they share and receive information about crimes, suspects and victims, often within 24 hours of when a crime occurs, or even before it occurs and is in the planning stage.

Police Sgt. Carl Jacobson, who runs the intel meetings, said the meetings have been a “tremendous” value to the city and beyond.

“I can’t stress enough, how much of an impact these meetings have had on stopping crime,” Jacobson said. “This department isn’t just about reacting to crime, locking people up. Yes, it’s part of what we do, but we also focus on crime prevention just as much, if not more.”

Project Longevity has had a positive impact in reducing shootings and homicides in New Haven, according to a 2015 study by Yale University sociologists.

The program aims to work with individuals identified as being in gangs or groups in danger of being perpetrators or victims of violence. They are called in to an intervention, where services are offered as incentives not to engage in gun-related violence, including help with getting high school diplomas, driver’s licenses and housing assistance.

“Our thing is, if we have to make arrest, then we failed,” Spell said. “Our partners in these meeting as well as in the community help us succeed.”

The list of “valuable” partners, as Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter Markle described them, includes New Haven Police Department’s intel unit, shooting task force, general investigations division, special victims unit, homicide, narcotics, robbery and burglary units, district managers, detectives, assistant chiefs, bureau of identification, and school resource officers.

Partners from outside the department are West Haven, Hamden, Yale University and state police departments, the U.S. Attorneys Office, State Attorney’s Office, Juvenile Prosecutor’s Office, Adult Probation, Juvenile Probation, Adult Parole, Juvenile Parole, Project Longevity, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, Postal Inspection Service and Homeland Security.

“It’s incredible. To have all those people in one room, sharing information, creating partnerships, making decisions right here in this room, it’s really something special,” Assistant Police Chief Achilles “Archie” Generoso said. “We’ve been able to stop crime before it happens, identify suspects, identify potential victims, all because of this type of communication. ”

Generoso said the idea for the four-day-a-week intel meetings came about from the regular Project Longevity meetings, which originally included just a handful of partners. On the second day of intel meetings, which began in January, Generoso said he could already see the value in the meetings and that they would be a success. When New Haven police began to share information about a string of robberies, West Haven police jumped in and said they were facing a similar issue.

“And the two worked together to figure out who these people were committing these crimes, and together were able to stop the next one before it happened,” Generoso said. “At that moment I think everyone could see just how important these meetings were going to be.”

Markle admits that, at first, some people had doubts about whether the meetings would last.

“Some people thought ‘Oh, four days a week’ these are busy agencies we’re talking about, maybe they won’t come,” he said. “And even if they came in the beginning, usually when you start something, you see a lot of people attend at first and then as time goes on, less and less people continue to participate.”

But now, over 10 months into the year, the meetings are still highly attended. Markle said at any given meeting, there are somewhere between 30 and 40 people in that room, receiving and sharing information, the same way they did in those first January meetings.

Markle attends the intel meetings every morning on behalf of the U.S. Attorney’s Office to review and pursue any cases that merit federal prosecution and to insure that Project Longevity efforts and goals are supported and Project Longevity promises are honored.

“Our role is to support any enforcement efforts and to consult with our state counterparts to determine if an investigation or prosecution is appropriate for federal prosecution or should be pursued in state court,” Markle said.

“We, along with NHPD and our other law enforcement partners, discuss which groups or gangs have self-selected, that is engaged in violence such that we should be focused on them; we then decide on how that focus should be implemented, be it federal investigation/charges, state charges, probation and parole enhancements etc.,” he said.

Markle said they also discuss and decide how to prevent retaliatory violence and the need for and efficacy of conducting custom notifications to gangs or groups.

In collaboration with the State Attorney’s Office, Markle said they review all matters involving firearms and acts of violence to see who has jurisdiction and if both do, which forum — state or federal — is best suited to advance the case and “quell” the violence.

Before the intel meetings were held, there were still partnerships between many of the agencies, but they weren’t communicating the way they do now.

Markle said the meetings don’t just help with Project Longevity. Partnerships come in handy in many ways, such as in June when city officials declared a public health emergency following a string of overdoses that left three people dead.

“When there are high profile incidents like that, we get even more partners coming in,” he said. “It was easy for us to get together because everyone knew we would already be meeting the next morning and we’ll continue to meet this way.”

42 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page