Tag Archives: Police Chief Foti Koskinas

New Parking Spots Ease Railroad Station Crunch

It’s easy to commute on auto-pilot. But over the past few months, alert commuters have noticed activity at the west end of the Greens Farms railroad station.

Workers cleared brush, and removed old equipment. “06880” reader Scott Smith figured they were creating a staging area for the forthcoming replacement of the Beachside Avenue bridge.

But now there are new, striped spaces. The addition to the lot looks permanent.

New parking spaces at the Greens Farms railroad station.

It is.

Police chief Foti Koskinas — whose department oversees railroad parking operations and facilities — says that while part of that area will indeed be staging. the town has added 54 new parking spots there. Twenty-four are for permit holders; 30 are for daily parkers.

Koskinas says the town took advantage of the upcoming bridge work to add to their long-term lease with the state.

The new parking spaces will be available later this coming week. For safety reasons, the Police Department is waiting until permanent lights are installed.

Another angle showing the new spots. This view is looking east. (Photos/Scott Smith)

Greens Farms is not the only rail station in town with added parking. Koskinas says that 17 new permit-only spots have been added on Franklin Street, near Lot 7 (the one just north of the I-95 overpass) and Lot 3 (the big lot on Ferry Lane, south of the tracks).

Feedback from commuters has been great, Koskinas says. And that’s just from those who were alert enough to notice them.

(Click here for a map of the all parking lots at the Saugatuck train station.)

Westport Cops Go Green — Add Tesla To The Fleet

Savvy drivers know what our police cars look like.

They look like cop cars everywhere.

But this is Westport. The next time you’re pulled over, it may be by a … Tesla.

The newest addition to the Police Department fleet is a fully electric 2020 Tesla Model 3. The 310 mile-range electric vehicle has already been delivered. It’s being outfitted now with all the necessary equipment: emergency lights, siren, computer, weapon rack, and tires capable of speeds over 100 miles an hour.

It’s expected to hit the mean streets of Westport by the end of January.

No, this is not a speed trap by the Minute Man Monument. Although it might be.

Police Chief Foti Koskinas says he “believes in being green.” But his main reason for choosing a Tesla was superior performance, crash ratings, and collision avoidance technology.

Officers will pass on the autopilot feature.

While the purchase price of $52,290 is higher than the $37,000 the department normally spends adding another Ford Explorer, Koskinas expects to more than make up for that in fuel and maintenance savings.

Just in the first 3 years, an internal combustion engine squad car requires about $11,000 in oil changes, oil filters, tuneups and brakes.

Teslas require no annual maintenance. Brakes last 70,000 miles or more, thanks to a motor system that slows the car while simultaneously recharging the battery.

A new look for the Westport Police Department fleet.

Savings on gas are significant too. The Department of Energy’s fuel economy calculator shows the Police Department’s cost per mile will be $0.040. The fuel cost for a Ford Explorer is $0.127 per mile — saving $13,770 in the first 3 years.

Charging the battery is not an issue. The vehicle is expected to be used 200 to 220 miles a day. The police already have a gas pump on their property. They’ll add a Level 2 electric vehicle charger, which will take just a few hours overnight.

The cop car will join the 431 electric vehicles already owned by Westporters. 250 are Teslas. That puts us #1 in the state in both categories (per capita).

EV Club president Bruce Becker believes Westport is the first police department on the East Coast with a Tesla.

FUN FACTS:

  • The Model 3 has an extra trunk in the front of the vehicle where an internal combustion engine would usually be. Officers can use it to store emergency equipment that must be kept separate from cargo in the rear trunk.
  • Every Tesla comes straight from the factory with features like front, side and rear-view cameras that a police department would typically install at extra cost. They can also be used in “sentry mode” to monitor the vehicle and vicinity when it’s parked.
  • The Model 3 has a top speed of 162 mph — faster than all other vehicles in the current fleet.
  • Police cars spend lots of time idling. An internal combustion engine must run to power the lights and keep online computers running while not draining the battery. The Tesla will eliminate those tailpipe emissions.
  • This is not the first EV for Westport’s Police Department. In 2007, a Toyota Prius replaced a car that burned 7 to 9 gallons of gas every day. The current Prius is a plug-in hybrid, but operates almost exclusively in electric-only mode for its daily driving needs.

The Police plan an open house in the spring, for the public to see the new car up close.

Though you can see it in action starting next month, if — suspecting a Ford Explorer — you get pulled over by the Tesla instead.

Gun Violence, Safety Sessions Set

Nationally, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre galvanized groups to act.

Locally, last week’s near-tragedy at Staples High School sparked quick action too.

WestportMoms — the great parents’ resources organization — is sponsoring “Make It Stop,” a gun violence protection forum. It’s this Tuesday (March 6, 10 a.m., Unitarian Church, 10 Lyons Plains Road).

Experts from CT Against Gun Violence, Moms Demand Action and Sandy Hook Promise join Westport chief of police Foti Koskinas. Melissa Kane will moderate.

The event will be livestreamed; just follow “WestportMoms” on Facebook or Instagram. A dial-in number for people who cannot attend will also be available, via those platforms.

The event is free, and open to the public. To get a sense of the numbers though, attendees are asked to email info@westportmoms.com.

In addition, superintendent of schools Colleen Palmer has announced that the Westport school district will host an informational session on school safety and security. It’s set for Wednesday, March 14 (7 p.m., Bedford Middle School auditorium).

An overview will be followed by a question-and-answer session. First responder representatives will be there too.

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.