Conn. cops still mum on '07 home invasion response; Police have never ordered a review of emergency response to gruesome killings.

AuthorCollins, Dave

Byline: dave collins

HARTFORD -- Six years after a deadly home invasion, officials still refuse to answer questions about the emergency response, and -- unlike other communities where notorious killings have occurred -- there apparently has been no formal review of the police department's actions.

Two paroled burglars broke into the Cheshire home on July 23, 2007, and killed Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her two daughters, Hayley, 17, and Michaela, 11, after holding them hostage for hours. Hawke-Petit's husband, Dr. William Petit, was severely beaten with a baseball bat but survived.

Hawke-Petit's family has been seeking answers from police ever since. They want to know why officers didn't enter the home before Hawke-Petit was strangled and the intruders set a fire that killed Hayley and Michaela.

''All I've ever wanted is for the truth to come out about this,'' Hawke-Petit's sister, Cynthia Hawke-Renn, said Thursday. ''This was like our own personal 9/11. If 9/11 had happened to our country and there were no reviews that were done ... it's like 9/11 happened and everybody walked away and said 'oh well.' ''

Questions about the police response resurfaced this week after HBO aired a documentary on the killings Monday and The Hartford Courant reported about audio recordings of police dispatch and phone calls it recently obtained.

Police Chief Neil Dryfe and Town Manager Michael Milone declined to comment about the police response. Dryfe joined the Cheshire department as chief in January 2011 after a long career with Hartford police. Milone was town manager at the time of the killings. A message seeking comment was left for former Police Chief Michael Cruess, who retired in 2010 after three decades with the department.

''To say anything about this is not going to serve any constructive purpose,'' Milone told The Associated Press.

The recordings obtained by the newspaper showed that a town hostage negotiator was told not to report to the Petits' home and that a police official initially had doubts about whether the family was in danger.

The Courant also reported, citing Milone, that police have never reviewed their response to the home invasion. On Thursday, Milone declined to tell the AP whether there was a review.

Police officials in other towns and emergency response experts said it's common for law enforcement agencies to review their responses to major crimes to see what they did well, what they didn't do well and how they can improve. But they...

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