BRISTOL - The city has been discussing assigning a daily park ranger to Rockwell Park after arrests were made in connection with a brawl that was shared on social media.
If the idea is approved by the City Council, it will have to be vetted more and be approved by the salary board, explained Mayor Ken Cockayne.
“After it’s approved, it can be put into the annual budget for funding,” said Cockayne. “It won’t be immediate, but police are present at the parks right now on the weekends and during busy times. Last year, the park’s board hired an officer to be at the parks during these times.”
Lt. Richard Guerrera stated that the police chief has organized extra bike and cruiser patrols at the park that become more frequent in the summer.
“Officers will go down there and patrol in the park, sometimes once an hour every day, but it depends on the day,” said Guerrera. “A lot of the time they will be responding to a call or they will just spend time in the parks to patrol what is happening.”
“We have very nice parks in this city. Our police always try to be present,” said Cockayne.
The actions are in response to a brawl that happened at Rockwell Park where a group of six females argued for several minutes before they began attacking each other in the roundabout area of the parking lot. The incident was recorded and shared on social media.
Concern over the incident was expressed at the last Board of Parks Commissioners meeting, when resident Lenny Lamothe explained that something needs to be done to curb this behavior.
“It gave Bristol a black eye. It’s bad enough men are fighting there all the time, but women getting into a hair-puller and punching each other - I think it’s pretty disgusting,” said Lamothe.
There has also been talk of finding the budget to assign the resource officer from the high school to the park during the summer and on school vacations.