Tag Archives: Westport Police Department

COVID-19 Roundup: Farmers’ Market Supports Vendors; Aid For Small Businesses; Videos, Art, And More

The Westport Farmers’ Market is between seasons. But they never stop helping their shoppers — or their farmers.

At a time when healthy, fresh food is especially important; when supermarket shopping carries risks, and purveyors — like all of us — have been rocked by COVID-19, the Farmers’ Market has a plan.

Just click here. Scroll down; click on a logo to select a vendor (there are 8: Calf & Clover Creamery, Seacoast Mushrooms, Wave Hill Breads, Farmers & Cooks, Two Guys from Woodbridge, Paul’s Custom Pet Food, Herbacious Catering and Ox Hollow Farm).

Place your order. Pay directly on their site, by Wednesday noon.  You’ll receive info about your scheduled pickup time by 8 a.m. Thursday. (Delivery is available too — but only in Westport.)

If you’re picking up, at the appropriate time head to the Winter Farmers’ Market site: Gilbertie’s Herb Gardens, 7 Sylvan Lane South. Your order will be bagged and waiting outside. Only the vendor and you will touch your bag.

Bring your own totes, if you’ve ordered several bags. “Bring your patience too,” the Farmers’ Market says. “We will figure this out together.”

Seems like the Farmers’ Market has already figured out most of it. Now all we have to do is order — and thank them, and their awesome farming partners.


Alert reader Marshall Kiev passes along a great summary of the relevant small business relief portion of the recently enacted CARES Act.

“This relief package should be an important  lifeline to many small businesses in Westport – coffee shops, butchers, hair salons, etc.,” he says. “Let’s get the word out to everyone. Many of these businesses are shut down, and owners may not be aware of the available funding.”

Click here to view — then forward far and wide!

Many shuttered Westport businesses can benefit from recent legislation. (Photo/Katherine Bruan)


I’ve written before about Cup of Sugar: the fantastic local group providing deliveries of food, medication and anything else for people in need. (Just click here, then click “Request a Delivery.”)

Nick Ribolla was ready to graduate this spring, from Columbia University. He’s finishing online, but wants to help his home town. He signed up with Cup of Sugar. Still, he is eager to do even more.

He has a lot to offer. He’s sharp, multi-talented, funny and fun. (He’s also got plenty of experience with kids, as a longtime camp counselor).

Nick can help youngsters via Zoom with humanities (“especially English and creative writing”), and Spanish. He’ll also help them manage their workloads. “Whatever I can do, I’ll do,” he says simply.

Call or text: 203-451-9453. And of course, say “gracias.”

Nick Ribolla


The Westport Police Department has put together some great videos. A variety of Westporters (see how many you know!) offer messages — “stay strong!” “keep your distance!” “keep buying local!” — via their Facebook page.

Just search on FB for “Westport Police Department.” Or click here for the latest (with a cameo by yours truly); click here for another, and click here for the first.


Once again, Dr. Scott Gottlieb appeared on a Sunday morning news show, direct from his Westport yard.

This morning, the former FDA commissioner told “Face the Nation” that coronavirus restrictions should remain in place ahead of a “difficult April,” and that the US might have “millions” of cases over the next few months.

Click here for the interview.


Coleytown Elementary School art teacher Deb Goldenberg is working with her colleagues around town to help every school share positive messages — through art, of course.

Students are drawing or making designs, then adding brief ideas like “Spread kindness and love.” They’re encouraged to experiment with patterns and fonts. Messages will be included with the school’s Morning News.


In today’s Persona interview, Jimmy Izzo discusses why shopping local is more important than ever. Click here for a clip, then download the app for the full Q&A.

Jimmy Izzo


And finally, if you’re missing a loved one — well, in a pandemic, just follow doctor’s orders.

PS: Sure, get up and dance. No one’s watching!

Unsung Heroes #138

This one’s a no-brainer.

If you are anyone who, over the past couple of weeks, has been on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, you are an Unsung Hero.

Perhaps you:

  • Man and woman the Westport Health District — performing coronavirus tests, administering aid, answering questions, soothing nerves
  • Serve in emergency operations with the police, fire, EMS departments — or anyone else in government called on to plan, execute, render assistance or in any other way help the town
  • Work in a medical practice, helping some patients who may have been infected and many more with their usual ailments, knowing all the while you had more contact with, and less protection from, sick people than anyone else

  • Are teaching students online, while at the same time soothing nerves, offering non-school advice, and ensuring continuity of education despite having never done so before
  • Are a school custodian or maintenance worker elsewhere who put on a mask and gloves, and spent days deep cleaning every square inch you could find, and did it well, despite your very real fears and anxieties
  • Own a business, and decided (or had to) to shut down, for the good of the community, and despite all your fears, still worry more about your employees and customers
  • Work in a store or market overrun by panicked customers; despite your low pay and own fears you stocked shelves, worked registers, answered questions, and did it all with grace and courtesy
  • Ditto all those restaurant workers who are adapting to a rapidly changing environment, preparing and serving food while observing new rules and regulations, and doing it with enormous care and concern
  • Reach out through your religious institution or civic organizaiton– even though its doors are closed and meetings canceled — to someone in need

Temple Israel is one of the many religious institutions now conducting services, classes and programs virtually.

  • Are suddenly thrust into the role of teacher, in addition to the disruption of having to work your own job remotely, or worry about what was going on at the office because you had to be home
  • Calm a child’s nerves, bring food to an elderly neighbor, or help a stranger figure out what to do now that the library, Senior Center, YMCA, Town Hall — and every other gathering place — is closed
  • Or are doing anything else to help someone else during these unprecedented days.

Thank you for helping make this town a “community.”

We’ll need you — and everyone else — to keep doing it for a while.

No one knows what’s ahead. But with all these Heroes in our midst, we’ll get through all this.

There’s no other choice.

(Do you know an Unsung Hero? Email dwoog@optonline.net to let us know!)

 

Westport Police Honor Women

The Westport Police Department says:

Happy International Women’s Day to the women of the Westport PD.

They are officers, dispatchers, protectors, enforcers, leaders, educators, mothers, daughters, sisters, wives, girlfriends and friends.

Thank you for all that you do to Lt. Jillian Cabana, Sgt. Jill Ruggiero, Sgt. Sereniti Dobson, Sgt. Sharon Russo, Detective Ashley DelVecchio, Detective Erin Shaw, Officer Ruta Pratt and Officer Rachel Baron.

We also celebrate our amazing civilian staff Dispatcher Lynn Marshall, Traffic Agents Mariah Ventrella and Diane Apicelli, Joyce Cruz, Carmen Figueroa, CJ Sereno, Aleta Franklin, Mary DelFlorio, Joan Lasprogato and Bria Meier.

Tired Of Traffic? Drive To These Meetings!

If you’ve lived in Westport more than 12 seconds, you know the traffic here sucks.

And it’s getting exponentially worse.

Beyond bitching about it to your friends, neighbors and on “06880” though, what can you do?

Well, you can go to a meeting with your RTM members, and representatives of the Selectman’s Office, Public Works and the Police. They want to hear your concerns about traffic — not just vehicles, but pedestrians and bicyclists too.

 

Sessions are set up by RTM district. So you’ll talk about your actual neighborhood — not just the usual chokepoints.

All sessions take place in the Town Hall auditorium, at 7 p.m. The schedule:

  • Districts 2 & 3: Tuesday, March 3
  • Districts 1 & 4: Monday, March 9
  • Districts 6 & 8: Monday, March 16
  • Districts 5 & 7: Tuesday, March 31
  • District 9: Monday, April 13

Don’t know your district? Click here for a map.

There’s plenty of parking at Town Hall. But leave early. You never know about the traffic!

Waiting in line at the Imperial Avenue light.

Police Awards Ceremony Set For Wednesday

Traditionally, the Westport Police Department presents awards and honors to members of the force at private ceremonies.

But great work deserves greater attention.

So — for the first time ever — a big event is planned. It’s set for Wednesday, January 29 (6 p.m., Town Hall auditorium). Everyone is invited.

“We are excited to welcome the public we serve to join us in giving the recipients some much deserved recognition for their great work in the field,” says Lieutenant Anthony Prezioso.

Numerous officers will be feted in the short ceremony, which includes remarks from Police Chief Foti Koskinas and 1st Selectman Jim Marpe.

Mark it on your calendar. Head on over. But don’t speed!

 

Unsung Heroes #129

At 5:45 p.m. a few days before Christmas — with everyone rushing home or finishing errands — a Westport woman’s Volvo SUV broke down in the middle of Canal Street. It blocked traffic. She could not even put it in neutral.

But instead of getting mad, many Westporters helped.

One was a mechanic. Another was a woman, who parked on the side and showed “incredible kindness.”

The Westport Police were “amazing — as always.” she says. One officer even drove her home.

These seem like such little gestures. To her — stressed out and worried — they were huge.

“Thank you to all the kind-hearted people who stopped,” she says.

“Your smiles, kind words and willingness to help a stranger brightened a very cold night.”

Police Service Dog Koda Retires

The Westport Police Department says:

It is with a heavy heart that we announce the early retirement of police service Dog Koda, due to health concerns.

The 9-year old Belgian Malinois was imported from Hungary. He joined the department in February 2012.

At 18 months old, Koda completed a 10-week training course. He earned certification in narcotics detection, tracking, handler protection and criminal apprehension.

Since beginning his law enforcement career, Koda was partnered up with Officer James Loomer, who joined the department in February of 2010. Since then, they worked together full time in the patrol division.

Koda, with Officer James Loomer.

Loomer and Koda have responded to over 600 canine-related calls for service, in Westport and neighboring communities.

The Police Department will raise funds to purchase and train a new police service dog, to continue Koda’s impressive legacy.

The public is invited to a brief ceremony this Friday (December 13, 9:30 a.m.) in the classroom at police headquarters (50 Jesup Road).

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.

2 Ways To Make A Difference

Westporters care.

We care about our friends and neighbors. We care about kids and older folks in need, here and in nearby towns and cities.

We want to help — particularly in this holiday season.

But we don’t always know how.

Here are a couple of great ideas.


The Westport Police Department Local Union #2080 and Police Benevolent Association host an annual Holiday Toy Drive. Thousands of donations benefit underprivileged children throughout Fairfield County, and beyond.

Westport police officers will accept new, unopened and unwrapped toys — and cash donations — in the ASF Sports parking lot (1560 Post Road East) on Saturdays and Sundays, December 7, 8, 14 and 15 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Collection boxes are set up now through December 15 at:

  • Westport Police Department, 50 Jesup Road (24 hours a day)
  • Westport Town Hall, 110 Myrtle Avenue (weekdays, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)
  • ASF Sports, 1560 Post Road East (weekdays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Sundays 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)

Questions? Email jruggiero@westportct.gov, or call 203-341-6017.


In recent years, Bridgeport’s Cesar Batalla School has become a favorite destination for Westporters hoping to help youngsters enjoy the holidays.

The school serves children in high poverty brackets. Some live in shelters. 100% are fed breakfast and lunch at school.

Their families have no money for basic necessities — let alone holiday gifts.

Westporters can provide some of those gifts, for children in pre-K through 3rd grade.

It’s easy: Click here to order online from Amazon. Orders from the Wish List will be shipped directly to the school. They are also accepting donations at the Family Resource Center in the school (606 Howard Avenue, Bridgeport).  Call 203-579-8526 for drop-off times. For more information, email blabrador@bridgeportedu.net.

If interested, act now! Gifts will be given by Santa on December 19.

In past years, Westporters donated these gifts to the Cesar Batalla School.

 

Signing Off On Thefts

The election is over, but thefts of yard signs continue. Now, the victims are non-profit organizations. The Westport Police Department just issued this press release:

Numerous claims of missing lawn signs have been reported over the pastfew weeks by local nonprofits. Some of these signs were displayed on private property or were authorized to be placed on public property.

A group calling itself “The Committee” has written to at least one local nonprofitorganization stating that if they fail to remove lawn signs, “The Committee” will take down their signs “at first sight.”

The individual or individuals behind “The Committee” have not identified themselves. However, this incident has been reported to police and is underinvestigation.

Residents are advised against taking it upon themselves to remove signs that do not belong to them, from either public or private property. Enforcement of town 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 constitute trespassing.

Both of these acts can result in arrest.

Anyone with information about the recent rash of missing signs is asked to call the Westport Police Department: 203-341-6000.  Charities that have had signs removed from authorized public or private locations are also encouraged to file a formal police report.

Nonprofits are reminded that signs advertising charitable events must be reviewed and approved by the town before the signs can be placed on town property or in the town right-of-way.

An electronic copy of the Temporary Sign Request form is available on the town’s website. Paper copies of this document can also be obtained from the First Selectman’s office.

For each event, a total of 15 signs are allowed on town property and in the town right-of-way. These signs cannot be placed more than 2 weeks before the event, and they must be removed within 2 days after the event.