Town police are being urged to redouble their traffic enforcement efforts, especially along Main Street, to curb vehicular problems occurring along that thoroughfare.
Resident Karen Banks of West Street, which links Main Street to Sugar Street, told Police Commission members on September 2 she supports a Main Street resident’s recent comments about the need for heightened traffic enforcement on Main Street.
Police Chief Michael Kehoe has updated Police Commission members about police department staffing matters, including plans to hire two new officers, plus plans for promotions involving the naming of one lieutenant and two sergeants.
Chief Kehoe told commission members on September 2 that the department remains two people short of its full roster of 45 sworn officers.
After months of research and analysis, a former and current Legislative Council member, who stressed they were not working for the council, recommended to the Board of Selectmen last month that the town go forward and determine “the best path” for joining a regional emergency dispatch system. In making their recommendation, Jeff Capeci and Neil Chaudhary emphasized that the town could potentially save 30 percent of the $1.03 million it now spends by consolidating Newtown’s dispatch services with the operations of a regional service in Torrington.
Comments by a resident of Main Street complaining about increased traffic and speeding on Main Street at the recent Police Commission meeting seems to have solved a mystery. We now know where the over 1,700 automobiles and truck diverted as a result of the five Queen Street speed tables went. They went on adjacent streets, specifically the residential section of Main Street.
The Newtown Bee editorial published on Thursday, July 18, 2013, a year ago, summarizes the issue very clearly.
A Police Commission member is resigning from that elected position to take the job of police chief at the Middlebury Police Department.
On June 3, James Viadero, 54, who was serving the first year of his second four-year term as a Police Commission member, submitted his letter of resignation to the commission. Mr Viadero, a Republican, was first elected to the commission in November 2009.
Although town officials have long been exploring the prospect of regionalizing municipal emergency radio dispatching for 911, police, fire, and ambulance calls to improve cost efficiency, Police Commission members this week voiced strong concerns about it, stressing that such an arrangement could do more harm than good in terms of town police operations.
The number of burglaries and larcenies that were reported to town police in 2013 dropped significantly compared to 2012, based on a set of crime/motor vehicle enforcement statistics Police Chief Michael Kehoe presented to the Police Commission this week.
I have been alerting Newtown residents for years that the objective of Queen Street residents was, in addition to speed control, significant traffic reduction. However when the Police Commission installed two, then three, and then five speed bumps the public was lead to believe that traffic diversion and reduction wasn’t significant.
At their January 7 meeting, Police Commission members accepted the retirement of sergeants Darlene Froehlich and John Cole. In her letter of resignation, Sgt Froehlich cited a “cruel work environment” and “hatred” within the department as prompting her decision to retire.
Ms Froehlich, 55, joined the police department in July 1984. Mr Cole, 52, joined the organization in January 1989. The full-pension vesting period for town police officers is 25 years.