Category Archives: Police

While You And I Slept This Morning…

…Kelly Konstanty, Morgan Mermagen and Mike Grant were on the run.

The trio ran through Westport, in Stage 315 of the One Run for Boston. The charity event — for One Fund Boston, which supports victims of last year’s horrific Boston Marathon bombing — began March 16 in Los Angeles. It ends tomorrow in Massachusetts, a week before the Marathon.

So far, over $410,000 has been raised, by 1,990 runners.

Morgan Mermagen, Mike Grant and Kelly Konstanty, after finishing their Westport to Bridgeport run.

Morgan Mermagen, Mike Grant and Kelly Konstanty, after finishing their Westport to Bridgeport run.

The trio received the baton downtown, around 4:30 a.m., from a group that started in Darien. Kelly, Morgan and Mike ran to Bridgeport, arriving there around 6:05.

Kelly has run the Boston Marathon before, but can’t this year. This is her way of showing support for “Boston Strong.” 

Grant adds, “If you are trying to defeat the human spirit, marathoners are the wrong group to target. We run for those who can’t.”

The runners thanked the Westport Police for their escort, and their supporters who cheered them on.

Congratulations, Kelly, Morgan and Mike. You did more before dawn today than many of us will achieve all weekend!

What Would You Do?

Ask.fm is the latest post-anything website both beloved and hated by teenagers. Its anonymous question-and-answer format allows — if not encourages – abusive, bullying content. (The site was referenced in news reports of the suicide of a 12-year-old Florida girl.)

I know this because a Westport parent told me about Ask.fm, and described its use by middle school students here.

Ask fmThe bullying of the parent’s child (and a friend who stood up for the child) peaked this winter, with repeated references to school events. The child went to  administrators, who after an investigation said that one perpetrator had been identified. An official said the bully was remorseful, and an apology would be forthcoming.

It never came.

The parent and child were uneasy. Neither knew which classmate had been behind the bullying, or which of the parent’s adult friends were helping that child hide behind the legal right of anonymity for juveniles.

“You know who punches you in the face on the playground,” the parent says. “But today’s technology allows this to be the perfect crime.”

The parent considered going to the police. Anonymity would still be honored, but in the parent’s words, “the process would be the punishment.”

After all, the parent says, “this family hasn’t had the moxie to come forward. We don’t even know if they punished their child.”

Bullying 3

The parent does not know if going to the police is the right thing to do. Is it overkill? If so, is overkill worth getting some satisfaction of knowing something happened — even if the parents never learn what (or even who) was involved?

The parent wants to know what “06880″ readers think. Should the parents of the bully have stepped up and apologized — or made their child do so? Should the police be involved? Are there other options?

Click “Comments” to weigh in. And — unlike Ask.fm — please use your real name.

“We Rob Banks”

In 1968 — a few months after the movie “Bonnie and Clyde” swept the nation — a few Staples seniors and friends thought it would be cool to imitate the legendary outlaws.

The high school campus was open; students came and went as they pleased during free periods (and sometimes during not-so-frees). It was spring; giddiness filled the air. Hey, why not?!

Five guys dressed up like ’20s gangsters. They drove downtown, sauntered into Westport Bank & Trust — now Patagonia — and, with a “getaway car” idling outside, pulled out a fake .38 pistol and said, “Stick ‘em up!”

Ha ha!

A few customers scrambled for cover. The tellers didn’t know what to think, but eventually realized it was just a prank. Cops were called, and hauled the Gang of 5 across the street to the police station.

The Westport Town Crier covered the “let’s pretend” robbery jovially. They described the teenagers’ suits and fedoras in detail.

Times sure have changed. Banks — not to mention the ATF, FBI and NSA — don’t look kindly on fake stick-ups.

If this stunt happened today, a full-scale investigation would be held. School administrators and the Board of Education can’t have kids dressed as bank robbers leaving school in the middle of the day, then pretending to rob a bank.

And the Westport Police would certainly not allow 5 teenagers, dressed in fedoras and holding cigarettes, to pose jauntily in the station lobby, looking like they’ve just pulled off the heist of the century.

The Town Crier photo of (from left) Thomas Skinner, Stephen Ambrose, Michael Simonds, Frank Rawlinson and Anthony Dohanos. Anthony posted the photo on Facebook. He now lives in Hawaiii -- far from the scene of the "crime."

The Town Crier photo of (from left) Thomas Skinner, Stephen Ambrose, Michael Simonds, Frank Rawlinson and Anthony Dohanos. Anthony posted the photo on Facebook. He now lives in Hawaiii — far from the scene of the “crime.”

 

 

 

Staples Students Dodge Cops; Everyone Happy

Cops and kids battled it out for a couple of hours last night at Staples.

They threw stuff at each other, across a line no one dared cross.

Then they all fist-bumped, had pizza, and drove home safely.

The event was “Dodge-a-Cop” — a massive dodgeball tournament — sponsored by the Westport Police/Youth Collaborative and Youth Commission.

Over a dozen high school teams participated, with at least one Westport Police officer on each team.

Students paid to participate. All funds raised go to Homes With Hope.

That’s a big 10-4.

Officer Ned Batlin, Deputy Chief Foti Koskinas and Captain Sam Arciola are all smiles -- before the dodgeballs start flying.

Officer Ned Batlin, Deputy Chief Foti Koskinas and Captain Sam Arciola are all smiles — before the dodgeballs start flying.

Staples track stars (from left) Patrick Lindwall, Will McDonald, James Lewis, Peter Elkind and Jake Berman are fast enough to run from the cops. At the dodgeball tournament, they didn't have to.

Staples track stars (from left) Patrick Lindwall, Will McDonald, James Lewis, Peter Elkind and Jake Berman are fast enough to run from the cops. At the dodgeball tournament, they didn’t have to.

Click here if your browser does not link directly to YouTube.

 

The “Art” Of Detective Rocke

Jak Kovatch is a noted painter, printmaker and sculptor. A longtime Westporter, in 2013 he earned the town’s “Lifetime Achievement Award for Art.”

Recently, several of his paintings, etchings and lithographs were stolen from his home.

The Westport Police Department quickly solved the case. With the help of New York City cops, they also found the works themselves — not long before they might have been shipped and lost.

Kovatch asked “06880″ to thank the Westport police — particularly Detective John Rocke — publicly. “Their additional follow-through on this case for me was unexpected and very much appreciated,” he says.

The artist is thrilled. The art is now back home. And the art of crime-solving is being applied to a new case, by our fine Westport Police Department.

This diptych by Jak Kovatch was one of the items recovered by the Westport Police.

This diptych by Jak Kovatch was one of the items recovered by the Westport Police.

From The Top: Thanks To DPW, Other Town Employees

First Selectman Jim Marpe sent this email to “06880″ yesterday:

Thanks, Dan, for all your coverage of the town’s snow-clearing efforts this winter. Thanks too for encouraging everyone to drive more cautiously, and clear away the snow around their fire hydrants.

The positive comments about the work that our Department of Public Works snowplow drivers have done this year are particularly appreciated. Under the leadership of Steve Edwards and Scott Sullivan, our plow drivers have worked very long hours, and slept on cots at the DPW offices on the Sherwood Island Connector when they’re on duty for more than a normal shift (which has been often this season).

Westport's DPW snow plow crew does yeoman's work -- all over town. (Photo/Luke Hammerman for Inklings)

Westport’s DPW snow plow crew does yeoman’s work — all over town. (Photo/Luke Hammerman for Inklings)

They are very dedicated to doing the best job possible to clear Westport’s 123 miles of public roads as quickly as practical during and after a snowstorm.  Our streets get high praise from folks who come to Westport from nearby towns after a snowfall.

I regret that there were some lost mailboxes and blocked driveways during last week’s snowfall, but I know it was the result of the plow crews making a sincere attempt to clear the roads in a timely fashion. The DPW crews deserve our praise and thanks (and yes, some coffee or hot chocolate).

While you’re at it, share some of those hot drinks with our police, fire and EMS personnel who can always be counted on to respond as rapidly as possible regardless of the weather or time of day (or night), and with our Town Hall and school custodians who have the buildings ready for the rest of us — even on a “snow day.”

Slip Sidewalkin’ Away

An alert — and very concerned — “06880″ reader sent this photo. It shows Main Street, as of an hour or so ago:

Main Street sidewalk

The reader says:

 More than a few retailers routinely fail to remove snow from the sidewalk in front of their stores. With another snowstorm (or two) on the way, this creates a public safety hazard. Personally, it bugs me more than when certain retailers keep their doors open during hot summer weather!

The reader is not just bitching and moaning. Here’s the town policy:

SIDEWALKS – Per town ordinance, businesses are responsible for keeping all sidewalks along their property clear of snow and ice.

There are 2 reasons our cops shouldn’t have to enforce sidewalk clearing regulations.

  1. They’ve got enough to do anyways.
  2. It’s more than the law for businesses to clear sidewalks. It’s simple, common courtesy.

Who You Calling Old?

The other day, Westporters received an automated phone call. Police were looking for a female between the age of 60 and 70 years old. She wore a gray sweater.

A couple of hours later, another call came in. The “elderly” woman had been located.

Great news! Except for those between the ages of 60 and 70.

An alert “06880″ put down her Geritol* long enough to wonder, “So anyone born before 1954 is now ‘elderly’?”

Apparently.

The line between “baby boomer” and “elderly” is razor-thin.

Laugh now, millennials.

*Reference made by people of a certain age, to a product associated with the elderly.
elderly

November 22, 1963: The Police Log

I can’t imagine national headlines intrude much on the Westport Police Department desk log.

Then again, the headlines on November 22, 1963 were unlike any other in history.

Here’s what the book looked like 50 years ago today:

WPD Desk Log_112263 (1)

There — sandwiched between a 1:05 p.m. arrest by Officer Chapo for an unregistered motor vehicle, and a 2:45 p.m. arrest of a 26-year-old by Detective Finch — are these 2 entries by R. Skinner:

1:55 pm Reports that Pres. Kennedy was shot in the neck while riding in a car in the streets of Dallas Texas

2:30 pm It was confirmed that Pres. Kennedy was dead.

As noted at the top of the page, the weather at 12 noon was 58 degrees, and clear.

The Westport Police Department’s handwritten log books go back to 1924. But few entries may be as poignant as these.

All That Traffic? I-95 Southbound Is Closed

Massive traffic jams throughout Westport are the result of a tractor-trailer accident this morning on I-95, near Exit 14 in Norwalk.

As of 1:30 this afternoon, the highway remains closed there. Traffic on the Post Road is heavily congested, starting in Fairfield. Green’s Farms Road and Bridge Street are also jammed.

Westport Police add: “If you are on the Post Road, please do not block intersections. There is no place for traffic to go, so moving into the intersection won’t save you any time but it will block crossing traffic!”

Though the truck may be removed soon, there is no estimate on when I-95 will reopen to traffic. When it does, residual delays are expected for a while.

Today's I-95 accident. (Photo courtesy of Westport Police Department)

Today’s I-95 accident. (Photo courtesy of Westport Police Department)