Westport Cops Get A Hummer

You may have seen the Westport Police Department’s latest vehicle:  a Hummer H2.

You may also have wondered why the !@#$%^&* our cops spent $50,000 or so on a vehicle whose incredible overuse of metal and plastic is surpassed in environmental grossness only by its spectacularly inefficient gas mileage.


They didn’t pay a penny for it.  It’s a gift — sort of — from a Westport white-collar criminal.

Two years ago, our neighbor was charged with big-time embezzlement.  His 2006 Hummer — with less than 2,000 miles — was part of his seized assets.

It sat for 18 months at a Secret Service facility in New Jersey.  Captain Foti Koskinas and detective Phil Restieri worked relentlessly to receive the vehicle, as partial restitution for the time the Westport Police spent on the case.

A few weeks ago, the car was released to the cops.  It looked pretty cool, but to make it a real police vehicle it needed work.

Whelen — a Connecticut-based company that outfits cop cars — donated all the lighting equipment.  (The Town of Westport was one of the firm’s 1st accounts, back when it began.)

Fleet Auto donated the labor to install lighting and sirens.

The Hummer is used as a DARE vehicle.  Fifth graders ogle the vehicle; it breaks the ice as officer Ned Batlin builds relationships with kids — and they learn (as the embezzler did) that crime doesn’t pay.

The Police Department is well aware that although the Hummer did not cost taxpayers a dime, gas does.  It will be used primarily for DARE events; you won’t see it cruising up and down the Post Road, or chasing bad guys along the back streets of town.

So why don’t we just sell the gas guzzler, and pocket the profits?

The government’s asset forfeiture rules mandate the vehicle be kept for at least 2 years.

Perhaps by then our cops will have seized a Hummer H3 — you know, the hybrid that gets 100 miles per gallon.

95 responses to “Westport Cops Get A Hummer

  1. Richard Lawrence Stein

    I don’t know if our for fathers would of approve or been on board with this type of display, but I think it’s great that our men in blue finally got a HUMMER they well deserve… I can only imagine the ear to ear grin they all now have just thinking about their HUMMER!!

  2. DARE is still around? Wasn’t DARE discredited by the surgeon general, the APA, etc, etc years ago? Aren’t there better outreach programs to kids available?

  3. Terry Brannigan

    I have known Fodi for more than 20 years and consider him a friend. Because I was his wrestling coach in HS I get to tease him.

    I think the real motivation behind the Hummer may be CSI / David Carusso (aka Horatio) envy


  4. Go Ned!

  5. Hi,
    Saferides of Westport can use the Hummer on Saturday nights, they need more cars, as of now the members use their parents cars.

  6. The previous DARE vehicle was a dork mobile- The fifth graders will be all over the Hummer. Well done Westport Police for making it happen- thinking outside the box should always be comended. Harleys and Hummers we’ve got to have the koolest force in the county!

  7. Congratulations to all who made Hummer possible…..the 5th graders will remember their DARE days with fondness and awe. Officer Ned is the best!

  8. The Dude Abides

    I find it ironic that a wasteful automobile is to be utilized on a DARE program that has not worked in the least to decrease drug use among our youth in this country. Dumb and Dumber. Why don’t they sell it and give the proceeds to some worthwhile programs while driving a biodiesel fueled automobile??????????????

  9. Yeah, having gone through DARE…it is a program that does nothing to prevent kids from drugs/alcohol/dangers, etc.

    It is a pointless program and should be gotten rid of, imho

    • The Dude Abides

      Right on there, Wrecker. Most cities have dropped the DARE program
      for it is merely a money pit. And I don’t think it gives a great impression for Officer Ned to be driving around in a automobile that only idiots or drug pushers drive these days. Why didn’t the good Captain and/or Detective work “relentlessly” to achieve monetary compensation instead of this joke-mobile??? And what kind of federal mandate requires any form of restitution be held for two years?? I guestion the validity of that pronouncement. Once again, it is Westport showing off instead of using common sense.

      • Didn’t Dan say in the article that the vehicle must be kept for two years?

        • The Dude Abides

          Yes, mandated supposidly by statute. Property seized in bank fraud cases were easily “flipped” by buyers or grantees in my hey day. I question the statute if there is one. Smells like b.s. and an inside deal to me.

  10. I think it’s a good move. The Harleys and Hummers will look great in the Memorial Day Parade. The police are plus $50 grand or whatever the resale is. It’s definitely an attention getting vehicle. They could even add a TWO STAR plate on the front bumper for when Al Fiore is aboard… just like a military police Hummer. Way to go.

  11. Umm….a woman was ARRESTED because a kid’s mother complained that she stuck her tongue out at the kid? Holy cow.

  12. Other Staples Kid

    I have known mr. batlin for a long time and he has made a good impression on my life. Just because all you sad people who sit on your computers all night and rave on about this boring stuff becasue u have nothing else to do but hover over your children. Yes, DARE does not completely prevent kids from doing bad things it the future, but it does help make an impression on kids to know their surrounding and do it less, keep them safer, obviously the police know it wont prevent it from happening but it does help, so stop getting angry about this car when many of you have gas guzzling high end cars and other fancy thing, when there are bigger things to worry about like our nation as a whole, poverty, world hunger and peace…ponder on that one

    • How do you know it “helps”? Where is the evidence? Maybe if Dodig had not eliminated the couse in Mathematics Problem Solving, you could give us an informed answer. Did you enroll in the mural painting course? Seems like a good fit.

  13. Interested Party

    To the Dude:
    You are the reason that I will stop reading and writing to this blog. You ruin every article with your nastiness and vindictiveness. This was an interesting blog and I have enjoyed reading it since it was created, but your anger and constant denigration of those who write in, especially Staples students, has ended my interest in reading this blog any longer. You can not be allowed to smear people publicly for your own amusement and pleasure. Sorry to say Dan – but this blog reader is done with this forum because of the nasty and small minded people who have taken it over.

    • The Dude Abides

      Not to worry since Professor Woog continues to edit my comments, after my contributions both in story lines and financially. I won’t be making any further comments. I am not sure why a Staples kid gets to lambast all the contributors but a retort is not justified. Perhaps the blog should be renamed 70 North Avenue instead of 06880. I believe in free speech without limitations. This is not such an arena.

      • Just one comment, which I felt was over the line.

      • The Dude Abides, promise you won’t be making any more comments? And you really think that with hnorable Dan Woog you would get special treatment because you made a financial contribution? Think again.

  14. I am a supporter of the D.A.R.E program, what other program would you suggest to take it’s place, one that allows for the beginning of a conversation with your child?

    5th grade and earlier is when parents and educators have the most influence regarding their child’s foundation of life choices.

    Criticize all you want, but at least offer a solution.

  15. Sure D.A.R.E may not prevent every kid from smoking, drinking, ect. but there is no program in the world that can guarantee kids will be perfect following the it. The purpose of D.A.R.E. is not to force kids out of drinking and smoking, but to make an effort and explain the repercussions those actions could have. I know Ned Batlin very well, and I know he loves his job, and i also know that it is much more to a job for him. He loves to help kids, whether on the job or not. When he comes to Staples, he is also talking to the students and checking up on how they are doing and if he could do anything to help them. I know that he has helped me turn my life around tremendously, and I never had him for D.A.R.E. He did it because he cares, and to me you cant ask for much more.

  16. I’ve lived in many places and always say that you would be hardpressed to find a more genuinely considerate, effective and professional police force than that in Westport, CT and South Hampton, NY, i.e., if they decide that this vehicle is a good investment and you aren’t certain or aren’t qualified to make a judgement, then defer to their judgment.

  17. My kids attended the D.A.R.E. program at the “old” Bedford school on Rte. 33 and what I found ironic was that after the program was over, and the Moms were picking up their kids, the officers walked to the side of the school to have a smoke!

  18. I support the D.A.R.E. program, especially at the elementary level (I’m sure at the high school level it becomes less effective overall, but worth the effort).

    I definitely support the acquisition of the Badass Hummer, not my ride of choice, but great for public relations and making an impression. It sure beats the 1940s retro ride PT Cruiser they currently use. That made Westport’s finest look more like Keystone Cops (no offense meant).

    And I definitely support ‘The Dude’s’ right to be as socially awkward as he wants to be. In a backwards way he makes the case for a D.A.R.E. type program.

  19. Actually Dan, the comment you chose to remove written by the Dude was an error on your part. It was hysterical and timely. I’m glad I saw it before you took it down.

  20. We have had a war on poverty for decades, and we are losing that war. We have had a war on drugs for decades, and we are losing that war. ( The war on drugs is more nearly a war on young men of minority groups.) Maybe we should rethink both “wars” and seek a different approach. As to the Hummer, it is a silly distraction. The Harleys are just another waste of taxpayer dollars, but a drop in the bucket compared to the huge amount of waste in the overall town budget.

    • The harley’s were not bought with a single dime of tax payer money as you say. They were purchased with asset forfeiture money which comes from the police making arrests and getting proceeds from the property and or money form those arrests

      • Money is fungible. If it were not wasted on the Harleys, it could have been put to another use. The money spent was most certainly taxpayers’ money.

  21. The Dude Abides

    Actually it was four (4) different occurences that I have been edited on this blog. And I recall when the blog went national on the issue of deer control, the most outrageous and profane was certainly entertained and even seemingly applauded without any such edit. My conclusion is that Professor Woog is an opportunistic advocate of free speech with subjective “lines” being drawn. I don’t draw such distinction to free speech or wish to be a part of a controlled focus group. As to “Interested Party”, I apologize for my insensitivity to your obvious judgemental karma and dramatic background. But if you think this blog is divisive and rude, you ought to stop meeting your kid at the mail box and take a stroll out into the real world.

    • Dude: WOW! – didn’t know it was 4x’s ! CENSORED ? What gives, Dan ?
      PS. sorry I missed ’em before they got axed – I think you’re pretty hilarious – and on the mark IMHO (don’t happen to agree with you on the Hummer thing but everything else has made me chuckle – and THINK).

      • Four? Are you sure? I can’t remember any previously — maybe one? I just drew the line at what I perceived to be a personal attack on a police officer — for something that had nothing to do with anything remotely close to the subject. Perhaps I was overly sensitive because of the comment earlier in the day from someone who said he or she had stopped reading “06880” because of the incivility on here.

  22. Sensible One

    I have to agree with the Dude – Dan you really do draw the line with your “subjective” decision. Awhile ago, you actually called me out with my criticism of the farmer’s shares at Wakeman. I signed up for a half share – and was frankly appalled by what I received – as I mentioned before on your blog – 4 carrots – not even an inch long that somebody actually took the time to put a rubber band around. What is ANYONE supposed to do with 4 – 1 inch carrots. I guess I should have been thankful that they were grown on CT. soil? This is your blog and you are free to do as you see fit, but it is very interesting to me that people that don’t agree with your perception of the world are subject to editing.

    • “Calling you out” is different from editing, right?

      I have tried to keep this VERY open. I allow comments to sprawl far beyond the original topic, and although I find certain commenters to be way too negative and nasty for my taste, I have not stopped them from venting.

      I don’t know any other local blog that is as free-wheeling as this — that allows not only anonymous postings, but does not even require registration. I don’t think I’ve deleted more than 2-3 posts ever — and those had nothing to do with politics or points of view. They involved personal characterizations. I will continue to invite all comments from all comers. I will not edit comments, unless I consider them way too over-the-top.

      • Dan: As much as I favor unfettered free speech, and a free expression of ideas, I do agree with you on this issue. This is your blog. It should reflect whatever standards you feel are appropriate. Others are free to decide if they think the standards are approprite, and draw whatever conclusions they choose from your actions, but you have no obligation to adhere to anyone else’s standards.

  23. Hush McCormick

    You are contradicting yourself, sir. Invited comments. No set standards. Freedom of speech.

    • I just checked my statistics. Since March 2009 I have posted 1,037 stories. There have been 5,554 comments. There are only 8 comments in the trash, which is where unapproved comments go. Only one is from The Dude (personal attack on Ned Batlin). One was a harassing post that had absolutely nothing to do with the topic at hand. Two were from people asking me to remove comments they’d already posted. Three were by someone asking me to remove comments attributed to him that he had not actually written. One was a comment on someone who had died that I felt was in extremely poor taste. That’s it — 8 unapproved comments; 5,554 approved.

  24. As Dan said….its free speech except for personal attacks on people.

    That seems pretty fair to me. If you don’t like it, go away..he could stop writing blog posts altogether

  25. If you identify yourself by name, your “right” to free speech is significantly higher than if you use a pseudonym.

  26. Hush McCormick

    There are no “buts” to free speech. There are is no requirements. There are no statistics.

  27. I have to say I agree with Tom Feeley — Dude, I find myself agreeing with your comments 90% of the time, but you are hiding behind that pseudonym, which gives you unfettered poetic license.

  28. and it is Dan’s blog afterall — 1st Amendment rights are kinda moot here, Dan can manage his blog any way he feels best.

  29. Hush McCormick

    No one owns freedom of speech. Moot? Wrong country. I hope.

  30. Silence McGolden

    Hush up or try cognitive sentences.

  31. Hush McCormick

    Why? To please you. That’s funny. You don’t get it either.

  32. It seems few who would champion First Amendment rights have actually read the Amendment ” Congress shall make no laws respecting an establishment or religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech or the press…..” There are no First Amendment rights at issue here. Congress is making no laws, and it’s Dan’s blog. It you want your voices heard as you wish; start your own blog.

    • exactly — Dan is King of his Content and you can be King of your Content also, Dude or Anyone else.

      i have my own blog and am Queen of my Content and Queen of my Comments . . . and oh, wonder of wonders, Blogspot allows me to block anyone from reading my blog or following my blog as I like . . .

  33. Hush McCormick

    Layperson? Freedom of speech is a fundmental right. Supreme
    Court. Extends passed Congress. May be at issue here. Agree with
    conclusion. Dude gone to Bermuda. Bobby socks. Tea at four. Jolly

    • Not a congressman in sight. There is no government abridgement of free speech here.

      • Hush McCormick

        Second time. Fundamental rights extend past those outlined in the Constitution. Your right to free speech goes well beyond legislative boundaries. Con 101.

        • Second time; no constitutional issue here. “Fundamental rights…” not an issue. Dan has a “fundamental right” to to control the content of his blog. If you hace a case, let’s see it. Con 102.

  34. Hush McCormick

    Good. The author is a hoax. Read on bottom. No argument here.
    Woog’s blog. No ownership. Word press.com has technological
    rights. Also gratituous blog. But if you cry wolf in a burning theatre,
    don’t pretend you have a free speech vehicle. Follow? To the dump?

  35. Your explanation consists mostly of irrelevant anecdotes. This blog is not a public accommodation, and no government restrictions on free speech are being imposed. What Huffington Post does on its blog is irrelevant, as is whatever Westportnow.com does. Moreover, there is not one case you can site where the SCOTUS has held that a blogger cannot restrict what is posted on his/her blog. Additionally, “fundamental” rights are whatever the SCOTUS claims they are for all intents and purposes, and the SCOTUS has determined in the past that certain restrictions of free speach are not inconsistent with any “fundamental” right you can imagine; obscene speech does not enjoy First Amendment protection. In fact, “fundamental” rights are nowhere enumerated as such in the US Constitution; certainly not in the Fourteenth Amendment.

    • Bless my heart? hmmmm, i feel as though i have been patted upon the head and told to go take off my shoes and get back in the kitchen . . .

  36. “Most large blogs, such as the Huffington Post, do not have restrictions or edit out comments either for fear of turning off customers or possibly a lawsuit.”

    Well actually Carl, the Huffington Post does indeed moderate the readers’ comments including a “flag as abusive” button.

    I as a contributor submit to editorial prior to my posts being published.

    Mary Ann West

  37. what i really want to know is this? do Hummers dream of Free Speech in the Blogosphere? or do they just sleep unanxiously and let the rest of us get all in a lather over the fate of our Comments?

  38. “Unfortunately for us, our newest Justice will recluse herself and the outcome is likely to be a 4-4 remand to the appellate court with no conclusion”.

    I would say fortunately for us, since her left leaning history and bias would most likely produce another absurd decision.

  39. If Dan can shut down this blog why can’t he edit it?

  40. The “Hummer” was front and center by the ticket sale booths at today’s Staples football game. Brightly polished and showing off on its own little island. Two cars down was an unoccupied police car with its engine running throughout the game. Westport’s Finest just doing their thing in splendid fashion and example. Ug!! And where were the cops when the terrible traffic accident on I-95 caused a traffic gridlock throughout much of the town this past week? Ug!!

    • Well, there’s more here than meets the eye. The “unoccupied police car” was actually occupied the entire time. It was the K-9 car, and the K-9 officer was working the game. His dog stayed in the car — in a specially designed area in the back to move around in, with tinted windows to protect the dog’s eyes. Because the dog was there, the air conditioning had to be on.

      Why was the dog there? So in case the K-9 officer got a call, he wouldn’t have to go to Milford to pick the dog up.

      As for where the police were during last week’s I-95 accident-related backup? Every officer on duty helped direct traffic throughout town. I saw them everywhere.

  41. I thought the topic of this blog was the police department getting a free car? CAS, Dan just explained the K-9 Officers bring their dogs to work with them when they come to work. The officers and Police Service Dogs (PSD) might end up responding a call for a track at any time. They could also be sent out of town for a call. If a family member with Alzheimer’s went missing, if a child went missing, if BP, Subway, or bank was robbed do you want that K-9 officer driving twenty minutes each way to get the dog and come to Westport. So no, they are not going to sniff out some drugs at the game. It was the bloodhound at the game and she is only trained to find people. They are not looking for lost souls in the Wakeman Woods but if a child wandered away it’s great that we had a dog there. CAS, I hope you never need those dogs to help you but you should be happy they are here. Please don’t belittle them. They dog at the game today once found a man lost in the woods for 19 hours.

    You wrote of the over the top budget. I thought they had 275K cut from the budget and they are trying to cut another 10% right now. You mentioned three intersections where you did not see a cop during the traffic congestion. How many officers do think are on the road at one in the afternoon on a weekday? A) 15, B) 22, C) 25, D30. Skip to the end for the answer. Arthur should feel free to make this guess too.

    I don’t think their budget is extraordinary. The point of this article was due to their hard work they received a very nice vehicle for free instead of buying another one to replace that silly clown car.
    It was a trick question. It depends on scheduling but there are probably 6-8 officers on the road at that time of day. I think I-95 was closed for about eight hours. Would you like them to magically pick your car up and drop it wherever you want to go? I also assume you want those officers working to respond to all the other calls for service they receive too? If you want more officers working the town is going to have to pay to hire more of them.

    I grew up here. I love Westport and have many friends that work for the town. The men, women and PSD’s of the Westport Police Department are the best and we are lucky to have them.

  42. “However, when I see a Hummer (which was not “free” for it appears to be in exchange for many favors as well as the cost of the upkeep),”
    Did I miss something? Dan said the WPD arrested a man for embezzlement. Police Departments routinely gain vehicles thru asset forfeiture. They caught a crook and seized his car. What are these many favors? Do you know something Dan has not shared with us? Please tell us. As for the upkeep, would like to pay for the upkeep on a car you had to pay for or would you like a free car and pay the upkeep. I know the choice I would make personally.

    “a police car running so a dog can be comfortable”
    I know, you want the officer to keep the dog with him. Hundreds of people everywhere, kids trying to pet the doggie, what could go wrong? The Officer would have to spend his time watching the dog instead of the crowd. Also, what if the Officer is called into action? A fight, a medical situation? What is he supposed to do with the dog? Just drop the leash and hope nothing happens with the dog. Those dogs are great but they are not a typical golden retriever.

    ” the number of vehicles by the police station and the absence of any officers in my own pursuit to travel just three miles home from downtown during the recent gridlock, you can not blame me for raising an eyebrow.”
    I-95 was closed for 8 hours according to WestportNow. Thousands of extra vehicles flooded Westport. If you had an officer at every intersection in town how would that help move the traffic? I am sorry the tragic death of 19 year old woman inconvenienced your three mile commute home.

  43. Gee, our police are the best, our firemen are the bravest, our schools are perfect,our taxes are low, our town leaders are so smart and honest, and it never rains on Mother’s Day. Aren’t we lucky. More Kool Aid anyone?

    • Except, um, our downtown looks a bit grungy. See today’s (10/10) “06880” post.

      • How dare she mention that? Doesn’t she realize, there are no flaws? BTW down here by the beach she could take many similar pictures.

        • Westport IS Wonderful

          Oh, YES, Jeffxs…I have them on IPHOTO…wanna see ?? Dan ???
          (why is it so hard to keep the beach free of weeds and trash, anyway ?) And now they removed many of the garbage cans along Soundview Dr. – as they always do this time of year – concurrent when they allow the WORLD to show up at Compo Beach (FREE OF CHARGE, with their dogs) … so people aren’t motivated to clean up their dog sh*t cuz they gotta carry it for 4 blocks…DUH !)

          Oh, and here in OZ, “pay no attention to that man behind the curtain”….

  44. Fan of Dan's blog

    Just had to jump in here at this risk of being beheaded!! about Dan’s blog here. It’s a great blog for all those who love Westport, and for all of the many reasons one can love Westport with all of it’s imperfections included. This Dude Abides Guy needs to get a life. Every time I go on to read — and it can several days in between reads, The Dude is chronically on here crucifying people in some of the most cruel ways that hint loudly at just how bored and angry he is. Get a life, Dude and let others enjoy Dan’s work here without it getting so uncivilized that one has to take a shower after reading some of your nasty, nasty comments. I’m sure there are plenty of wealthy Westport citizens who would love to pick up the $$ support for this blog where the Dude leaves off. Since he just had to mention his $$.

  45. For those who miss ‘The Dude’, and until he returns from his self-imposed exile, I may have seen him –

    • You have to click on ‘Big Lebowski Crash Scene’ to view the clip.
      It’s a classic!…and the dude abides.

  46. The Dude Abides

    And my favorite scene as well although the ferret in the bath tub is close.
    Thanks John, made me chuckle. To “Fan of Dan’s blog,” sorry you feel that way. Checks can be sent to Professor Woog at 301 Post Road East, Westport. I pay $2.74 a day to be “nasty” but at least I put my money where my mouth is.

  47. To Fan of Dan’s Blog: I think you need to get a life. The Dude is one of the nicest and most thoughtful people I have ever known. If you don’t believe me, ask the few thousand indigent legal clients he has helped for free. He does erupt when he senses pretentiousness but I don’t remember him ever spending a whole paragraph of character assassination as you have done. Go take another shower.

  48. What a great way to catch the attention of children at such a modest cost. Good luck to Officer Ned Batlin and the rest of the department. Hopefully the next seized vehicle is a Bentley Turbo R or an 87 Testarossa.

  49. Pingback: A Police DARE | 06880

  50. Westport needs more people like The Dude . . .

  51. Pingback: New DARE Hummer Rolls Into Service | Inklings News | Staples High School | Westport, CT