Category Archives: Police

Pics Of The Day #218

Don’t mess with these girls.

Police and teenagers threw balls at each other’s heads — and cheered for each other — at tonight’s annual Dodge-a-Cop tournament in the Staples High School fieldhouse.

Sponsored by the Westport Youth Commission, Staples’ Teen Awareness Group, the Westport Police Youth Collaborative and PAL, it’s a chance for a couple of hundred kids and a couple of dozen cops to play dodgeball, eat pizza, win trophies, raise money, and hang out.

Teams came in costume. Police took off their holsters and cuffs. It was a great night for all.

Whether it’s Staples Wrecker blue, or the men (and women) in blue, the message was clear: Blue lives matter.

A typical team — with actual cops on the far left and far right.

Unsung Heroes #21

This week’s Unsung Heroes are obvious:

Sunday night’s storm was bad. At one point, nearly half of Westport was without electricity.

Did Eversource get your power back instantly? Were you the first house they hustled to?

Probably not. Even in Westport, not everyone can be #1.

But they had a lot to do. Most of the state was hit hard. The men and women who assessed damage, climbed buckets, even answered phones, were overwhelmed. They worked long hours, and did their best. We owe them our thanks.

Thanks too to all of Westport’s police, firefighters and other responders. Plus of course those invaluable public works crews, tree guys, and random folks who helped out, wherever and however they could.

Slowly, we’re getting back to normal.

Until the next storm hits.

Westport Vehicle Break-Ins: Don’t Be A Victim!

An alert and concerned “06880” reader writes:

I learned this weekend from neighbors that there were 3 car break-ins on my street (Hunt Club Lane, near Long Lots) 2 weeks ago. A friend posted on Facebook that locked cars were broken into, and a locked car was stolen on her street.

The police told the Westport resident whose car was stolen that there is a trend in stealing Audis. If you’ve taken your car in for service to certain dealerships, car keys are being copied, addresses noted and cars being stolen.

Police advice to our neighbors was to lock cars, remove garage door openers from cars, and park them (especially Audis) in the garage. They also noted that these individuals may be armed, so be careful. Pretty scary.

Also scary that the 3 break-ins on my street, although reported to police, were not found via public search of crimes in our area. So the crime statistics seem to be under-reported.

I asked the Westport Police Department to respond. Lieutenant David Farrell got back immediately. He says:

In the past 6 months, Westport has had 18 stolen vehicles. Fifteen were recovered and processed by detectives. Six arrests have been made. Detectives are awaiting lab results on 8 other cases.

All stolen vehicles were unlocked, with the keys inside the vehicles. We urge residents to do their part, and lock their vehicles.

The nights when these vehicles were stolen, there were several motor vehicle break-ins as well. There have been 14 arrests in these cases. Many were linked to a juvenile who had also stolen a car in the area, and was caught. The police currently have active warrants and potential leads in other cases.

Press releases regarding arrests are sent out. The most recent was last week. Some arrests have even been made using DNA hits. Westport is one of the few police departments in the state collecting DNA from recovered stolen vehicles.

I could  not agree more that heightening awareness regarding this trend is necessary. That is why we have released several public service announcements advising people to lock their car doors and bring keys and fobs inside. We have put the same message on our Facebook page.

Westport is not alone in being targeted. Every surrounding town is experiencing the same crimes. We continue to partner with our neighboring towns to work on this problem.

The Westport Police Department is actively addressing this issue. We have the full support of the selectman’s office regarding additional resources when needed. Extra officers and detectives are frequently assigned to the midnight shift in an effort to not only catch the perpetrators, but hopefully deter the crime before it occurs.

We don’t want the bad guys to know our secrets. But rest assured, we are doing all we can.

Regarding the information about Audis and dealerships: Although this type of crime exists, we have not experienced it in Westport.

Nearly all of the vehicle break-ins here have been unlocked cars. The trend is to pull door handles until one is found unlocked. Then the criminal simply pushes the start button, hoping the fob was left in the car. Gone are the days of actually breaking into a vehicle and compromising the ignition.

We will continue to do our part, as we always do. We hope the public does their part: lock all doors, bring keys inside, keep outside lights on, and call 911 immediately if suspicious activity is observed.

Police Union Rejects Pension Contract

A controversial pension agreement — agreed to by the union executive board, and approved after hours of debate by the RTM — has been rejected by Westport police officers.

Under the agreement, current employees would pay 40% of the cost of their health insurance at the time of retirement. That amount would be frozen.

New hires (as of July 1, 2017) would be required to pay 40% of the cost of health insurance, and would not be frozen.

The retirement age would rise to 52, from 49.

A union representative called the margin of defeat “overwhelming.”

First selectman Jim Marpe said the town will meet with union leadership soon, to resume contract talks.

“I remain confident that we can reach an agreement which continues to provide excellent retirement benefits consistent with the fiscal challenges the Town faces today and in the future,” Marpe added.

“I know I reflect the opinion of all Westport residents when I express my appreciation for the dedication, bravery and professionalism that our police officers exhibit every day in protecting and serving our community.”

Cops Release Assault Video; Ask Citizens For Aid

A vicious assault in the middle of the Post Road by Terrain on Tuesday morning led to a massive police presence, and partial closure of the street.

Now Westport Police have released video of the beating.

It’s not pretty. But they hope it leads to identification of one of the men involved.

The incident began in Derby. and continued with a car chase into Westport. In the video, a man got out of a white van driving on the wrong side of the road.

While the kicking and beating was underway, a 2nd vehicle pulled up. The driver joined the attack. He wore a dark t-shirt with white lettering on the back, jeans and a baseball cap.

That vehicle — a red-bronze or rust-colored Ford Explorer, with possible Maryland plates — is the one police seek to identify. Anyone with information should call 203-341-6080.

Two men have already been arrested. They’ve been charged with 2nd-degree assault, 1st-degree reckless endangerment and breach of peace.

Step Up To Help Volunteers

It started small.

Staples High School junior Parker Cuthbertson and sophomore Eddie Kiev organized a club: Step Up Volunteering. The goal was to match students with local organizations that needed help.

Parker Cuthbertson and Eddie Kiev.

Be careful what you wish for.

Almost 120 Staples students stepped up to volunteer. Homes With Hope, the Westport Library, Malta House, the Senior Center, Earthplace and the Westport Weston Family Y Special Olympics programs all asked for help.

But there are more willing volunteers than those organizations can handle.

So Parker and Eddie have put out a call. If you know of a local group that could benefit from ready, willing and able high school volunteers: please ask.

The Westport Police Department has offered to serve as the community go-between. Please contact administrative assistant Janet Suchsland (jsuchsland@westportct.gov) if you’d like Step Up Volunteering to consider helping your organization.

Man In Blue Wears Pink

Foti Koskinas — Westport’s popular police chief — is a firm believer in the importance of community involvement. Under his leadership, the department is involved in a broad array of good causes.

As a leader, he knows the importance of walking the talk.

So it’s no surprise he’s part of Real Men Wear Pink. He’s honoring a friend fighting breast cancer — and advocating for his wife and 2 young daughters.

Foti’s goal is to raise $10,000. As of this morning, he’s nearly 40% there. (Click here to help.)

But he’s not the only cop raising awareness of the disease.

For the next few weeks, a pink Maserati will roll through town.

It’s not there to pull you over.

The eye-popping vehicle — courtesy of Maserati of Westport — reinforces that this October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

You can see it tomorrow at the Saugatuck train station (Sunday, October 1, 8 a.m. to noon). The Concours d’Caffeine is a fundraiser for the Westport Police Benevolent Association Scholarship Fund.

What goes around, comes around.

Westporters Fight Domestic Violence

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Westport’s Domestic Violence Task Force wants to make everyone aware of the issue — and what can be done about it.

The group has collected gift certificates from more than a dozen local salons. (One owner donated because her mother was a victim of abuse.) Haircuts and colors help women in shelters start new lives. Some are preparing for job interviews. Others need to change their appearance to avoid abusers.

The salons will be thanked on Saturday, October 14, at the Westport Unitarian Church Voices Cafe. All proceeds from Pierce Pettis’ performance will be donated to the salon drive. (Click here for tickets.)

Meanwhile, this Sunday (October 1), pinwheels will be displayed on Jesup Green. There’s one for every domestic violence call the Police Department received this year.

The chilling reminder that domestic abuse happens in Westport — as it does everywhere — remains on display all month.

Next Tuesday (October 3), volunteers from our police and fire departments will join Domestic Violence Task Force members at the Westport and Greens Farms train stations. They’ll hand out informational palm cards to commuters.

And on Wednesday, October 25 (Unitarian Church, 7 p.m.), Lisa Aronson Fontes — a noted author, therapist, researcher and professor — will discuss coercive control in relationships.

Domestic Violence Awareness Month ends on October 31. Of course, the issue will not go away that day.

But in Westport, concerned citizens are doing all they can to help.

Sign Here!

Fall is (nearly) here.

You know what that means: Colorful leaves! Apple cider! Tons of candidate signs, cluttering every traffic island, right-of-way and piece of property in town!

But the cops are on it. Here is a (very welcome) press release, concerning election signs AND all others, promoting galas, benefits, you name it:

With election season upon us, the Westport Police Department would like to remind its citizens of the regulations pertaining to temporary signs in town.

Unfortunately we have experienced vandalism and theft regarding temporary signs in the past. This type of behavior will not be tolerated. These crimes may lead to criminal charges such as trespassing, criminal mischief and/or larceny.

The following policy has been established by town officials, in order to provide coordination for the placement of temporary signs by Westport non-profit organizations wishing to advertise one-time-only charitable events.  Signs placed on public property advertising a private business or company will be removed. (Bold italics are mine!)

General Guidelines for ALL Temporary Signs

  • Town property includes traffic islands and road rights of way.
  • The town may not approve, nor is it responsible for, any signs erected on State of Connecticut property. It is not advisable to place signs on State of Connecticut property (including rights of way and islands along Routes 1, 136, 57, 33, and the Sherwood Island Connector, nor on the exit or entrance ramps of I-95 or the Merritt Parkway), as the state may remove them.
  • No sign may be placed on any school property without the prior permission of the superintendent’s office.
  • No sign may be placed within the interior of Compo Beach or Longshore.
  • No sign may be placed on Town Hall property.
  • No sign may be placed on trees or utility poles.
  • No sign may interfere with traffic visibility.
  • Signs on private property require property owner approval. Signs on private property shall not extend beyond the property line or into the town right-of-way and is suggested they be removed within 2 days after the publicized event or election.

Temporary Signs for Political Purposes

Political signs are considered an expression of free speech and are allowed on public property. The General Guidelines noted above apply to temporary signs for political purposes.

(Photo/Miggs Burroughs)

Temporary Signs for Advertising Charitable Events

The placement and locations of temporary signs on Town property for the purpose of advertising a charitable event requires review and approval by the Westport police chief, director of Planning and Zoning, and director of Parks & Recreation, or their designated representatives. Qualifying organizations (i.e. local non-profits) may send the attached request, including proposed locations, for the placement of temporary signs to: Selectman’s Office, Westport Town Hall, 110 Myrtle Avenue, Westport, CT 06880 or selectman@westportct.gov.

The following conditions will apply to charitable events:

  • A maximum of 15 signs are allowed for each such event. This includes directional signs.
  • The signs may be erected not more than 2 weeks before the event and must be removed within 2 days after the publicized event.
  • The size of the sign cannot exceed 2 feet by 3 feet.
  • Non-compliance may result in the removal of signs.

Please note that this press release pertains to Town of Westport roads, and not state roads, like Route 1, Route 33, Route 57 and Route 136.

Marpe: Police, Fire Pension Contracts Now Up For Ratification

Following this morning’s post on the Westport police union’s stance on pension contract negotiations, 1st Selectman Jim Marpe issued this statement:

Both the police and firefighter union executive boards have reached agreement with the town on their pension contracts, and are presenting them to their membership for ratification.

We value all Westport employees including those in our public safety departments and are pleased that these agreements have been reached.

Ratification or rejection of those pension contracts is the next step. “06880” will report on those votes, when they are taken.