Tag Archives: Westport Police Department

Roundup: Cidny Bullens, Car Seats, Palmball, More


Cidny Bullens just released his 9th country album, “Walkin’ Through the World.”

It’s his first record in a decade — and his first as a man.

The Washington Post recently profiled the trans artist. The story described his life as Cindy, including singing with Elton John and Kiki Dee on “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart,” and her marriage to Dan Crewe — brother of Four Seasons producer Bob Crewe.

The article also mentions the couple’s 2 daughters, Reid and Jessie, and their move to Westport in the 1980s.

“Crewe and Bullens were close friends in a monogamous marriage, but their relationship wasn’t easy,” the Post says. “Crewe was gay. Bullens felt trapped behind the wheel of a minivan.”

Click here for the full, fascinating story. (Hat tip: Fran Taylor)


Amy Schneider spotted this sign yesterday downtown. The free car seat checks were courtesy of the Westport Police Department, in the parking lot by their headquarters.

Our men (and women) in blue take their motto — “to serve and protect” — to an entirely new level!

(Photo/Amy Schneider)


Move over, pickleball. Make way, spikeball. There’s a new new game in town: palmball.

The game was invented on Cape Cod in the 1990s. 18-year-old Steven Creelman forgot to bring a Kadima paddle to the beach. So he and a buddy picked up some flat rocks, and kept a tennis ball off the ground holding those.

Back home, he and his friends laid out a court with a garden hose, extension cord and rope. He pitched the game to the director of phys. ed. at the University of Massachusetts, where we was a student, and it became an actual gym class.

Rock paddle is dangerous, of course. So this summer — when he daughters got old enough — Creelman cut wood paddles to the same size.

They took the game to the beach. Combining tennis, volleyball, Kadima and spikeball, it was an instant hit.

On Saturday, there’s a palmball tournament at Evan Felcher’s house here. In 2018, he played on Staples High School’s state champion tennis team.

You heard it here first. (Hat tip: Ben Sturner)


And finally … Speaking of the Four Seasons (see above): Tommy DeVito, a member of that group even before Frankie Valli joined them, died Monday, from COVID-19. He was 92.

Here are the real Jersey Boys:

It’s Election Season. Sign Here.

The Westport Police Department is non-partisan. But — like every Westporter – every fall they get caught in the great political sign crossfire.

They say:

With the approaching November elections comes the traditional posting of political signage.

Once again the Westport Police Department has begun to receive complaints related to the disappearance, removal, and/or theft of these signs.

Residents and visitors are advised against taking it upon themselves to remove
signs that do not belong to them, from either public or private property. The
enforcement of the town’s rules is the responsibility of the town of Westport, not
private citizens.

The removal of signs from public or private property by someone not authorized to do so by the town, or by the owner of the sign, may constitute theft.

Entering onto private property to remove signs may also constitute
trespassing. Both of these acts can ultimately result in arrest.

Political signs are considered an expression of free speech, and are allowed on
public property.

It is not advisable to place signs on state 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 must not extend beyond the property line or into the town right-of-
way. It is suggested they be removed within 2 days after the election.

Finally! A candidate we can all agree on. (Photo/Luke Garvey)

Roundup: Big Top Ribs, “Best In Show”, EV Club, More


Owner Pete Aitkin wants to add some new “flashback” items to the Black Duck menu.

And he needs “06880” readers’ help.

“Many readers have fond memories of the Big Top,” he says, referencing the beloved, mouth-watering burgers-and-more joint on the Post Road and Roseville Road that is now (aaaargh) McDonald’s. “Some even worked there.”

Pete wonders: What kind of ribs did they serve? Baby backs? Beef? He thinks they were pork spare ribs. Any info on sauce or seasoning would be great too.

Email duckpeter78@gmail.com, or call 203-227-7978.


Yesterday marked the start of another school. It’s different than any that came before. But — as students, staff and parents saw yesterday at Coleytown Elementary School — some things never change:

(Photo/Stephanie Mastocciolo)


The Artists Collective of Westport knows about shows. So they’re proud to collaborate with the Remarkable Theater on a showing of “Best in Show.”

The drive-in movie — a biting satire about dog shows — will be shown Thursday, September 17 at 8 p.m. at the Imperial Avenue parking lot. The gate opens at 7.

Tickets are $50 per car. Click here to reserve.


Who says parades must be loud?

The EV Club of Connecticut is sponsoring a (socially distanced) electric car parade. It’s set for Sunday, September 27 (check-in at 9:30 a.m.

It starts at 10 a.m. at the eastbound Westport train station, by Donut Crazy. The parade ends at Fairfield’s Old Town Hall.

Police Chief Foti Koskinas will lead the parade in the department’s Tesla Model 3 police cruiser.

All makes of EV are welcome. To register, click here.

The Westport Police Department’s electric car.


And finally … today is September 9. Which means, whether you’re using American or European style, it’s 9/9. Which means …

 

Take A Tour With The Tesla Cops

Tesla is touting Westport’s new police car. The Teslerati blog says:

A Tesla Model 3 has been patrolling the streets of Westport, Connecticut, since January 2020. However, an inside look at how effective the Model 3’s performance is for the law enforcement agency has never been given. That is until Westport Police Department Chief Foti Koskinas gave 2 members of the Now You Know YouTube channel a peek of how patrolling the streets of the small Connecticut town in an electric police car is advantageous for those who look to protect the community….

“Chief Koskinas seems pleased with the Tesla’s performance during the first 8 months of ownership, and efficiency and performance seem to be the main factors in his happiness thus far.

Click here for the story. Click below for the video.

PS: Check out the YouTube comments too. My favorite: “Just Awesome, what a PD, Chief, Officers and Town. Sometimes it can feel lonely caring about this planet, but this kind of steps and thinking gives hope.” (Hat tip: Avi Kaner)

As Schools Starts, Cops Urge Caution

As COVID continues — and the new school year begins — the Westport Police Department urges all drivers and pedestrians to exercise extra care.

As an added “incentive,” officers will be extra-vigilant for violators. 

The department urges families to discuss these rules together:

As COVID-19 has significantly altered our schools’ scheduling with staggered student arrival and dismissal times, motorists will for the first time share the roads throughout the day with school buses making frequent stops, as well as children who are walking or biking to school.

This year more than ever, we strongly urge commuters to allow extra time to prepare for traffic delays. Please remain vigilant and alert around school zones, bus stops and school buses. Obey the school bus laws of Connecticut, which include slowing down and preparing to stop for yellow flashing school bus lights and stopping for red flashing school bus lights.

Drivers

In neighborhoods with school zones or when backing into a roadway, watch out for young people who may be thinking about getting to school, but may not be thinking of getting there safely.

Slow down. Watch for children walking in the street, especially if there are no sidewalks.

Be alert. Children arriving late for the bus may dart into the street without looking for traffic.

Learn the “flashing signal light system” used by school bus drivers to alert motorists of pending actions:

  • Yellow flashing lights indicate that the bus is preparing to stop to load or unload children. Motorists should slow down and prepare to stop their vehicles.
  • Red flashing lights and extended stop arms indicate that the bus has stopped, and that children are getting on or off. Motorists on both sides of the roadway must stop their cars and wait until the red lights stop flashing, the extended stop sign is withdrawn, and the bus begins moving before they can start driving again.

Children

Get to the bus stop at least 5 minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive.

When the bus approaches, stand at least 3 giant steps away from the curb, and line up away from the street.

Wait until the bus stops, the door opens, and the driver says that it’s okay before stepping onto the bus.

If you have to cross the street in front of the bus, walk on the sidewalk or along the side of the road to a point at least 5 giant steps ahead of the bus before you cross. Be sure that the bus driver can see you, and you can see the bus driver.

Use the handrails to avoid falls. When exiting the bus, be careful that clothing with drawstrings and book bags with straps do not get caught in the handrails or doors.

Never walk behind the bus.

Walk at least 3  giant steps away from the side of the bus.

If you drop something near the bus, tell the bus driver. Never try to pick it up because the driver may not be able to see you.

Follow instructions given by school crossing guards. Do not cross until they have stopped traffic completely and have advised it is safe to cross.

Unsung Hero #156

Like many 6-year-olds, Tess Hinojos loves to dress up and play pretend.

One of her favorite costumes is a police officer. The other day, as she and her mom Hilary were on a walk, an actual Westport Police Department cop drove by.

Tess waved. He waved back, and kept driving.

A few minutes later, he pulled up next to the pair. Officer Shawn Booth stepped out of his car, and handed Tess and her brother Julian “official Junior Westport Officer” badges.

Junior Westport Police Officer Tess Hinojos.

“Tess couldn’t have been more thrilled,” Hillary says.

“We are so fortunate to live in a town with such an exceptional and kind police force. Thanks for making her day, Officer Booth!”

(To nominate an Unsung Hero, email dwoog@optonline.net)

Isiais: By The Numbers

Ten days after Tropical Storm Isaias ravaged our town, 1st Selectman Jim Marpe, the Department of Public Works and Westport Emergency Response Team report:

The Westport Fire Department responded to 581 incidents, almost 500% of their normal call volume. WFD also responded to at least 30 carbon monoxide incidents, the first time the department received so many calls of this type. In response, the WFD and the Fire Marshal have been increasing their education and outreach regarding the proper usage of generators.

From 1 p.m. Tuesday, August 4 through 1 a.m. Wednesday, the Westport Police Department logged 230 calls for service. 155 of them came at the height of the storm, 2 p.m.. Over the following 24 hours, the WPD answered 779 phone calls, 284 of them on the 911 line. The department also deployed temporary traffic control signage at around 15 major intersections throughout the course of the storm.

The Department of Public Works cleared 304 tree issues. They continue their cleaning debris from 125 miles of town-owned roadways, in addition to all town-owned Parks and Recreation facilities. The DPW expects to spend 2 weeks cleaning up town property, most of which could not commence until Eversource cleared and de-energized their wires.

DPW’s role is to remove trees and debris from the town’s right of way. DPW is not doing curbside pick-up of yard waste. Residents should not put personal yard waste and debris curbside. The town’s Yard Waste Site at 180 Bayberry Lane is open for personal yard debris. Normal hours are Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; Saturday, 7 a.m. to noon. Tomorrow (August 15), the yard waste site stays open until 3 p.m.

The Department of Human Services worked around the clock, in collaboration with emergency personnel, to address storm-related concerns from upwards of 400 households. DHS received over 150 calls and emails, and made over 40 home visits for welfare checks and/or provide food service.

Westport’s Department of Human Services brought food, water (and toilet paper) to elderly residents trapped behind this tree on Rocky Ridge Road.

If you have a vulnerable resident in the home, or know seniors who live alone or whose main caregiver is also elderly, register that individual with the DHS. Call 203-341-1073, so the department can proactively follow up with him or her during future emergencies.

The number of town-wide emails and phone calls received is over triple the normal volume. Town personnel collaborated and triaged those responses as quickly as possible. In addition, emergency and general information was dispersed via Nixle alerts, daily press releases, social media posts and through the town radio station, WWPT 90.3FM.

Residents can stay connected with the town by signing up for emergency alerts and press notifications, and following the town on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Residents are urged to preset their radio to 90.3 FM in case of emergency.

As part of emergency incident standard procedures, the Town Emergency Operations Command Team will debrief and discuss the process, protocols and communications that occurred during Isaias. Each member will make recommendations for improved procedures during future emergency incidents.

Marpe adds: “There were many examples of neighbors helping neighbors and people stepping up to help in the midst of the emergency. Most Westporters came together and demonstrated resilience and an inherent capacity to help those around them. I want to express my deepest gratitude to those residents and town employees who exhibited patience, cooperation and understanding under very trying circumstances.”

The night after 98% of Westport lost power, an impromptu concert popped up on Jesup Green. (Photos/Miggs Burroughs)

Roundup: Texting; Triking; More


Each week, the Westport Police Department writes tickets for driving while using cell phones.

It’s against the law. Distracted driving can cost you from $150 to $1,000.

To help you avoid those fines, the WPD has partnered with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administraiton’s “U Drive. U Text. U Pay.” effort. Throughout August, the campaign will help enforcement efforts to catch distracted, texting drivers.

The WPD says: Pull off the road safely to text. Or let your passenger text. And don’t forget to activate your phone’s “Do Not Disturb” feature. Or just put your phone in your trunk, glove box or back seat!


The pandemic can’t keep David Bibbey down. Or in the studio.

The Westport Library media studio producer brought his Van Raam trike to down, and rode around. Guided by Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce director Matthew Mandell, he set out to discover how the town is reopening.

Click here for interviews with 2nd Selectman Jen Tooker, Westport Downtown Merchants Association head Randy Herbertson, artists Miggs and Trace Burroughs, and folks at Savannah Bee Company, Fleet Feet, Walrus Alley and New England Hemp Farm.

David Bibbey


And finally … Hurricane Hanna hit the southern Gulf Coast this weekend. The area was already reeling from the coronavirus. Here’s to all our friends in that big, wonderful state.

 

Police: Property Crimes On The Rise

The Westport Police Department says;

As the COVID-19 quarantines and associated restrictions have gradually eased in Connecticut, you may have noticed an increase in daily vehicular traffic throughout Fairfield County.

Unfortunately, traffic is not all that seems to be on the rise. What has been the most striking to the Westport Police Department is a marked increase in property crimes.

Comparing an approximately 40-day period from late May to early July in 2019 and 2020, statistics indicate an upward trend.

Within this period in 2019, the department investigated 3 stolen motor vehicle complaints. In 2020 we have investigated a total of 10 within the same time period, while an 11th stolen vehicle from another jurisdiction was recovered here.

In every case, the stolen vehicle was left unlocked with keys inside overnight. Some of these vehicles were recovered in other jurisdictions, but many remain unaccounted for.

Almost always closely tied to motor vehicle thefts are burglaries of parked and unoccupied vehicles in driveways.

In the specified time frame in 2019, the department handled 5 incidents of motor vehicles being entered/burglarized. In 2020 we handled 11 of these types of incidents in that same time frame.

In all recent cases, the vehicles were left unlocked. In multiple cases, wallets containing credit cards were stolen and subsequently used to make  purchases.  The actual numbers of these types of incidents are assumed to be higher than as reported, as many residents do not notify police in situations where vehicles were entered but nothing of any significant value appears to have been taken.

In this sample period in 2019, the department investigated 3 burglary complaints (2 commercial, 1 residentail).  In this same stretch of time in 2020 we have investigated 6 residential burglaries, 4 of which included forced entry.  The most brazen was perpetrated in the overnight hours while the home was occupied and the residents asleep. Entry was gained through an unlocked door.

Footage from a Nest camera last weekend shows a burglar casing out an an Old Hill area home.

In 2019, the department responded to 1 shoplifting incident within this timeframe. In the same period in 2020, we have responded to 8 such complaints.

Please let this data serve as a stark reminder that property crimes and theft seem to be trending upward in Westport.  Again, this is a small sample in time of slightly more than a month, but it merits careful attention.

Measures are being taken by the department to stop or slow this trend.  Preventative measures such as locking doors, arming alarms and securing valuables, coupled with the vigilance of our officers, is the key to safeguarding our neighborhoods.

If you observe suspicious activity in your neighborhood, please don’t delay in contacting us. Maintaining public safety and security is only possible through a continued partnership with the residents we proudly serve.

No one knows your neighborhood better than you do. The information and feedback provided by our community is vital to our crime prevention efforts and overall effectiveness as a law enforcement agency.

Marpe Creates Civilian Review Panel For Police, Fire, EMS

Westport’s police force, fire department and EMTs provide high service with “utmost professionalism, transparency and accountability,” town officials say.

However, today’s climate “demands a reassessment of goals, an even higher degree of commitment, and a clear way to incorporate and engage” the public.

So today, 1st Selectman Jim Marpe announced a new Civilian Review Panel. Members will work closely with the Police, Fire and Emergency Medical Services Departments to “assist in the hiring process of new employees, and review and provide feedback in the civilian complaint process.”

Marpe appointed Selectwomen Jennifer Tooker and Melissa Kane, along with TEAM Westport chair Harold Bailey, to the CRP.

Though the departments heads retain responsibility for hiring and disciplinary measures, the CRP will work collaboratively and offer feedback.

Foti Koskinas says that when he became Police Chief, his goal was

to continue to build on the foundation of public trust carefully fostered between this department and our residents. Now, at a time when police departments across the country are looking introspectively at ways to better serve our communities, I believe that this is an important step in continuing to maintain complete transparency, in preserving public trust and in reassuring our residents that effective policing is truly a collaborative effort.

Fire Chief Rob Yost adds:

The Westport Fire Department continues to strive to diversify in its hiring of recruit firefighters and, to that end, welcomes the assistance from the CRP. I would also welcome their assistance with any questions of conduct or complaints of fire personnel to insure the continued high level of public trust and support of the Fire Department