Category Archives: Police

Dozens Of Students Dodge Cops

Occasionally, Westport kids run from cops. Earlier this week, they ran toward them.

And threw dodgeballs at their heads.

The cops threw them right back.

In fact, cops and kids were on the same team. They played with and against each other, in the Westport Youth Commission’s annual “Dodge a Cop” event.

The Dodge-a-Cop winners! Standing from left: Deputy police chief Foti Koskinas, "coach" Mac Barecca, Sam Ahlgrim, Jason Nelson, Noah Staffa, Joe Pravder. Front: Grant Sirlin.

The Dodge-a-Cop winners! From left: deputy police chief Foti Koskinas, “coach” Mac Barecca, Grant Sirlin, Sam Ahlgrim, Jason Nelson, Noah Staffa, Joe Pravder.

Staples’ Teen Awareness Group co-sponsored the event. Students paid to play. It was a fundraiser for the Chris Lemone College Fund. Lemone, Staples’ outreach counselor and longtime TAG advisor, died earlier this fall.

The dodgeball tournament — held in the Staples fieldhouse — drew over 100 students. They came from every social group: athletes, actors, robotics team members, you name it.

An all-girls team high-fives their cop. (Photo/Caroline O'Kane)

An all-girls team high-fives their cop. (Photo/Caroline O’Kane)

Each of the 26 teams had at least 1 police officer.

A cop fires in the line of duty. (Photo/Caroline O'Kane)

A cop fires in the line of duty. (Photo/Caroline O’Kane)

As they hurled dodgeballs at each other — and shared pizza — it was hard to tell who had a better time, the cops or the kids.

There was plenty of action all night at the Dodge-a-Cop dodgeball event. (Photo/Caroline O'Kane)

There was plenty of action all night at the Dodge-a-Cop dodgeball event. (Photo/Caroline O’Kane)

Striking a pose. (Photo/Caroline O'Kane)

Striking a pose. (Photo/Caroline O’Kane)


The Doors In Westport

A relatively new Westporter writes:

I can’t believe Westport allows door-to-door solicitation! It is very frightening to be home alone during the day with young children, and have strangers come to the door.

I have encountered everything from a man selling food out of his truck, to Optimum sales guys who show up at the most annoying times.

This is a concern for many people. I think it is dangerous that our town allows this. Who in Town Hall would we need to petition to get this changed? Thank you!

Door to door

Living in a condo — where we don’t even get Halloween trick-or-treaters — this is a new one on me.

So I went to my go-to guy: town operations director Dewey Loselle. He replied:

We do not have an ordinance that prohibits it. However, we do have an ordinance that requires a vendor to get a permit from the town (selectman’s office) before being able to do any sort of sales/soliciting door to door.

There is a small fee. The Police Department also does a cursory background check before we approve the permit. The permit says there should be no soliciting after 6 p.m. Persons soliciting without a permit may be reported to the Police Department.

There have been questions (constitutional) as to whether religious groups need to get a permit to go door to door, so we don’t make them get permits. Also, we usually don’t require permits for not-for-profits selling fundraising tickets (like for the Rotary).

Thanks, Dewey! Now, if you can take care of those !@#$%^&*s who call every night from “Customer Service,” the (not-Westport) Police Benevolent Union, Kevin the roofing guy…

And yes, I am on the do-not-call registry.

They’ve Been Working On The Railroad

In mid-September, “06880” reported on the removal of a number of scrub and pine trees, on both sides of the Greens Farms railroad station tracks. They were endangering high voltage lines, and could not be trimmed.

Now there’s more work being done at the station. An alert reader sent this photo:

Greens Farms train station

“This is so close to the water and wetlands,” he says. “A lot of birds migrate through here. And a lot of warblers live in there.”

Rest easy. It’s temporary.

According to Foti Koskinas (the deputy police chief who oversees maintenance and operations of the Greens Farms and Saugatuck train stations on behalf of the town), an approximately 180 square foot area of hillside — bordered by parking spaces, the parking lot driveway, train tracks and New Creek Road — is being worked on.

It had been filled with tree stumps, railroad ties, bolts, debris and garbage.

This weekend, the area will be cleaned up. Plantings are going in. The sidewalk under the tracks is being replaced. Four additional parking spots will be added.

It should all be ready by Tuesday. The birds will return shortly after.

Keep Calm And Slow Down

We’ve all seen them: The solar-paneled radar signs that give the speed limit on a particular stretch of road, then flash your speed. It’s always faster than the speed limit, of course, and you always slow down.

A typical mobile speed sign.

A typical mobile speed sign.

Studies show significant decreases in vehicle speeds on streets that use them. But they’re mobile, so they pop up in different places at different times.

There is no funding in the town budget to purchase these “traffic calming speed signs.” But 6 Westporters have begun a GoFundMe campaign to buy 2 more. They’ll be placed — permanently — on Imperial Avenue and Bridge Street.

The citizens — Matt Heisler, Karen Jacobs, Nicole Dodge, Jennifer Johnson, Andrea Moore and Al DiGuido — are spurred by the fact that in the last 6 months, 2 neighbors have been hit by cars while jogging.

The Police Department is partnering with the group. They’ll assume responsibility for installation and maintenance of the signs — and will monitor all speed data.

Each device costs almost $5,000. The GoFundMe goal is $10,000. It runs through December 31. If the total amount is not reached, no money will be collected.

As of this morning, $1,975 had been pledged.

“This is where we live,” the group says. “This is where our kids go to school. This is where we walk, run, bike and drive.”

Of course, they’ll accept contributions from anyone in Westport — and beyond.

(For more information, or to contribute, click here.)

Westport Cops Sport Sweet Pink Ride

A police car on a high school campus usually elicits a Pavlovian response: Kids flee.

But when Deputy Chief Foti Koskinas and Captain Sam Arciola showed up at Staples today, teenagers flocked to examine their ride.

Westport Police - pink Maserati

It’s not every day you see a Maserati cop car. Let alone, a pink one.

The 2016 vehicle is a rolling advertisement for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Maserati of Westport donated the car (though only for the month).

It won’t be pulling you over — it’s just for show.

But the police vehicle will be at Sherwood Island on October 18, for the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk.

Check it out there.

It’s not exactly hard to miss.

Cops Descend On Westport In Search Of…

…good Italian food.

Forget donuts. In 2015, police officers have a much more discerning palate.

Even so, Celia Offir was impressed — but not surprised — to see motorcycle cops from 4 different towns parked outside Gaetano’s the other day.



Never heard of it? Gaetano’s flies under the radar. But in just a year the Italian deli near Super Stop & Shop has gained a fervent following for fantastic food, great service and a very friendly vibe.

Don’t believe me? Check out these Yelp reviews.

Or just ask a cop from Westport. Or Fairfield, New Canaan or Trumbull.

[UPDATE] Bear-ly Noticed

Alert — and concerned — “06880” reader Kate Greenberg saw a bear (black or dark brown, she thinks) behind her house yesterday, around 3 p.m.

She lives off the Merritt Parkway (eastbound). The bear was walking in the woods, between her house and the Merritt. She called the police.

She wonders: Has anyone else reported a bear in the area?

It’s been a tough year for Kate. Coyotes killed her dog in the yard last November, just after dusk.

This is not the Westport bear. But it's close.

This bear is from Alaska. Kate Greenberg didn’t get a shot of the Westport bear.

In mid-afternoon, the Westport Police sent this notice:

Westport Police received two separate reports from residents whose properties border the Merritt Parkway of two separate sightings of black bears. In both instances the bear was observed moving through the properties and did not act in an aggressive manner. The following information regarding the handling of bears near your home was obtained from the CT DEEP website. All sightings should be reported to the Police Department and CT DEEP at the numbers below:

If you see a bear:

  • Enjoy it from a distance.
  • Advertise your presence by shouting and waving your arms or walk slowly away.
  • Never attempt to feed or attract bears.
  • Report bear sightings to the Wildlife Division, at (860) 675-8130.

Experience has shown that a single wandering bear can be responsible for numerous sightings reported to the Wildlife Division. Experience has also shown that, given an avenue for escape, bears will usually wander back into more secluded areas.

People should not feed bears, either intentionally or unintentionally. Bears that associate food with people become problem bears that will not be tolerated by all property owners. Connecticut has the habitat to support more bears; however, the future of Connecticut’s bear population depends on the actions and attitudes of the human population.

The probability of a bear attacking a human is exceptionally low. Therefore, the mere presence of a bear does not necessitate its removal. However, the department may attempt to remove bears from urban locations when there is little likelihood that they will leave on their own and when they are in positions where darting is feasible.

The department attempts to monitor bear activity in developed areas in coordination with local public safety officials. Coordination and cooperation with officials on the scene and local police officials is a key, critical ingredient in educating the public and assuring a safe, desirable outcome in such a situation.

What So Proudly We Hail!

The Jesup Road side of police headquarters sports a new look:

Police station flag

Police Chief Dale Call says it was loaned by a veteran who wishes to remain anonymous.

“He is proud to have served, and is a big supporter of the service done by our military and law enforcement every day,” the chief explains. “We’re proud to display it.”

The flag will hang — proudly — through Memorial Day.

Temple Israel: “We’ll Keep Doing Good Work”

Today — 3 days after the frightening intrusion during a luncheon program — Temple Israel president Steven Phillips issued this statement:

We at Temple Israel are grateful for the outpouring of community support we have received after this week’s incident with the intruders at our congregation.  Many of you have asked us to share our reactions to the ongoing conversation around this sad event.

Common sense tells us that 2 men do not travel from New Haven to politely read a statement to a small, private luncheon. Rather, their goal was to do exactly what they did: to create a disturbance, to distress our community, and to get themselves and their message in the press.

Steven Phillips

Steven Phillips

Our community has already paid a high price. Those attending the luncheon,  our families, and especially our children, whose safety was and must be our first concern, were made to feel unsafe in our congregation. And now, too much of the precious community resources we rely on to communicate with and connect to one another are being devoted to giving the intruders what they crave: attention.  They’ve had their 15 minutes; let’s focus on what really matters.

The police report speaks eloquently to the facts, and the court will establish its truth. The responsibility for the incident belongs solely to the intruders. The police and our staff responded magnificently and exactly as they were trained, and fortunately, there were no injuries. Now is the time to let the judicial process do its work and make certain that these 2 men, and these 2 men alone, suffer the consequences of what they did.

That is what we at Temple Israel intend to do, while we continue to make sure that our community is safe, and that we keep doing the good work that we and all our neighbors in Westport do every day.  There is no better or more principled way to respond.

Police Report On Temple Israel Confrontation; Temple Guest Thought She Might Be Killed

The Westport Police Department issued this statement this afternoon:

Today at approximately 1 p.m. the Westport Police Department received a complaint from Temple Israel about unwanted people protesting at the property. Shortly after the initial dispatch to responding units, the communications center started to receive additional calls reporting that a person had a gun. The first 2 arriving officers were able to take custody of the two individuals on the 2nd floor meeting room where staff had physically detained them.

Daniel Fischer was 1 of the 2 men arrested in the Temple Israel incident today.

Daniel Fischer was 1 of the 2 men arrested in the Temple Israel incident today.

During the initial response, Coleytown Middle School, Coleytown Elementary School, the pre-school at the Unitarian Church and the Temple Israel Nursery were put into lockdown until officers were able to clear the buildings.

No gun was located during the incident, but a witness had observed one of the men approaching with a shirt over his arm and hand which led some witnesses to believe he was carrying a gun. Westport officers were assisted by the Weston Police Department during the incident.

During the investigation it was learned that the Temple was hosting a talk with members of the Israeli Defense Force. The 2 suspects had arrived to protest the IDF. They entered the building and were confronted by staff and told to leave.

Gregory Williams was also arrested today.

Gregory Williams was also arrested today.

The 2 suspects refused and walked past staff, and attempted to enter the meeting place. Temple Israel staff had to physically prevent them from entering the meeting room.

As the 2 were detained outside the meeting room it was reported that they were shouting various statements regarding the IDF. The actions of the 2 protestors created enough concern to the attendees that several people had exited the premises in fear for their safety.

The 2 suspects claim to be college students protesting the IDF. A vehicle which witnesses reported as dropping them off has been located and the person has been identified. He will not be charged with any criminal charges.

The following individuals were arrested: Daniel Fisher and Gregory Williams. Both are 25 years old, and live in New Haven. Both have been charged with criminal trespass 1st Degree and breach of peace 2nd degree 53a-181(a)(3). They were issued $1500 bonds, and will appear May 21 at Norwalk Court.


Meanwhile, Stephanie Bass wrote in a comment on the 1st “06880” report of the incident:

In the middle of speeches, there was a loud disturbance. I couldn’t tell how many people, but they were banging on the door to the room, yelling either “Justice for the Palestinians” or “Freedom for the Palestinians.” There were 80 women in the room. People started screaming “Get down!” and “Call 911!” Women ran to the back of the room, or ran out a back door.

The “Palestinian” ranting went on. I was waiting for the machine gun fire. First I thought, I could die today; then I thought if many people die today, I don’t want to be one of them.

Temple Israel

Temple Israel

I’d been in Israel during the ’73 war. I thought of Newtown and that movie theater in Colorado. I dove under the table. After a few minutes, the Israeli Brigadier General grabbed my hand. She said it was okay to come out; personnel at the temple had subdued the men.

This did not feel like political protest. This felt like terrorism.


Temple Israel president Steven Phillips added these thoughts, in an email to members:

As some of you may have heard, an incident occurred at Temple Israel as our congregation was hosting a luncheon for Friends of the Israel Defense Forces.  At no time was any one in physical danger.

Two unarmed young men appeared at the door and noisily attempted to gain entry to the luncheon and disrupt its proceedings. Their intent appears to have been to protest and create a disturbance. They were confronted by executive director Lisa Goldberg, then detained by director of member engagement Bryan Bierman, Cantor Dan Sklar and Rabbi P.J. Schwartz, and others. The Westport Police Department was called and officers responded immediately.

The 2 men are now in police custody. A thorough search of the intruders, our building and our grounds by police found no weapons of any kind. To ensure our safety, the police will remain at Temple Israel and maintain a presence throughout the rest of today and into tomorrow.

The police have advised us that we can safely continue with our day as planned.  We will therefore hold our scheduled religious school classes, TI High, Confirmation and any programming we have planned for this evening.

Westport PoliceOf course, we will continue to follow up with the police as they look into this matter. We believe that the response of our staff and Westport Police Department was exemplary. As we learn more about this incident, we will continue to work with the Westport Police Department to ensure that our security procedures keep everyone safe. In the meantime, if you have questions, please feel free to email me or to contact the Temple office.

These incidents are always extremely disturbing. Fortunately, no one was in danger. I would like to thank the staff and the police for the poise and professionalism with which they handled the situation. We are very lucky to be served by them both.