Category Archives: Police

Eye In The Sky

Alert — and only slightly suspicious — JP Vellotti recently noticed an interesting sight at the Sherwood Island Connector’s Post Road traffic light.

His passenger snapped a photo.

Sherwood Island Connector 1

JP writes:

The lights are new. It looks like a camera has been added too.

Who sees the feed? The police? Or maybe the state police, because this is a state road? Or News 12 for traffic? Or….

And how do cameras get approved, anyhow?

I’m not adversely against these. I’m just curious, having never seen a public notice about their installation. After all, if you’re recording the public, they should at least have the right to know.

What do you think? All “06880” readers — no matter where you fall on the civil liberties/police state spectrum — are invited to weigh in. Just click “Comments” below (and please use your full, real name!).

Worst. Thief. Ever.

Yeterday’s post about slimeballs stealing holiday packages delivered to Westport homes was pretty bad.

But this story is about a new low.

An alert “06880” reader writes: “Someone stole Mary from our manger on Christmas Eve.”

Westport manger without Mary -- 2015

She called the police — not that there’s much they can do.

But if you hear something, say something.

It’s Christmastime. Be Careful Out There!

A Westporter posted on Facebook earlier today:

We had outgoing mail stolen out of our mailbox last night. We are so busy right now, we placed them there last night so we wouldn’t forget to leave them. I guess we can’t even mail a letter in our own town anymore. You should probably place all your outgoing mail in town boxes, not your own. Bah humbug!

Mail thief

A few hours later, the Westport Police Department said they’ve identified the person responsible for stealing packages from residents’ properties. If you think a package you were expecting was stolen between November 6 and December 18, 2015, call the detective bureau at 203-341-6080.

Christmas thief 2

‘Tis the season to be jolly.

And very, very careful.

 

Walter Paulovic Arrives In Style

Walter Paulovic is not your usual Staples student. The senior will finish his classes next month, and join the Marine Corps — a longtime dream.

This morning, he did not arrive in school the usual way either. Westport Police officer Ned Batlin — who helped him through the Marine Corps process — picked him up at home, and drove him to North Avenue in the Humvee used for high water search and rescue operations.

Walter Paulovic, Ned Batlin and Jay Dirnberger, 7:15 morning at Staples High School.

Walter Paulovic, Ned Batlin and Jay Dirnberger, 7:15 this morning at Staples High School.

The unusual transportation came courtesy of Jay Dirnberger. He’s mentored Walter since 7th grade. At the Westport Historical Society’s recent holiday house party, Jay saw a silent auction item — a ride to Staples in a cop car — and realized it would be a perfect gift for his mentee.

Jay won the auction. And Walter won a morning he’ll remember for a long time — even when he’s driving his own Marine vehicle, a few years “down the road.”

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.

Gaetano's

Gaetano’s

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.