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MINUTES

DARIEN POLICE COMMISSION

REGULAR MEETING

JANUARY 18, 2012

1.         CALL TO ORDER

The 2,239th meeting of the Darien Police Commission was held on the above mentioned date at Police Headquarters.  Commissioner Johnson, Commissioner Harrel, Commissioner Santarella, Chief Lovello, and Jan Lesko (Commission Secretary) were in attendance.  Also in attendance were:  Jayme Stevenson, First Selectwoman; John Lundeen, Selectman; and Darien residents Cassandra Haggerty and Holly Schulz.  State Rep. Terrie Wood later joined the meeting. The meeting was called to order at 5:05 PM.

2.         APPROVAL OF MINUTES

Commissioner Johnson motioned to approve the minutes of the meeting held on January 4, 2012, seconded by Commissioner Santarella.  All were in favor. The time was 5:07 PM.

3.         DEPARTMENT ACTIVITY

An active investigation continues regarding the recent David Harvey Jewelers burglary.  Investigation continues into the 2nd floor residential burglaries occurring not only in the north section of Darien, but several other Fairfield County communities as well.

4.         NEW BUSINESS

Commissioner Johnson motioned to change the order on the agenda and proceed with addressing the Hoyt Street issue, seconded by Commissioner Harrel.  All were in favor.  The time was 5:10 PM.

Hoyt Street Traffic Issues

Hoyt Street resident Holly Schulz opened the discussion by advising that she has been in contact with Lt. Donald Anderson, the Department’s Traffic Authority Liaison, regarding traffic issues on Hoyt Street, specifically as regards pedestrian traffic to and from the Talmadge Hill train station.  It was agreed that the requested sidewalk project is a separate issue from road signage and road markings, with the sidewalk request being reviewed by the Board of Selectmen.

Commissioner Johnson reviewed a letter sent to CT DOT on September 27, 2010 by Chief Lovello requesting that the State DOT study this area, specifically in regards to the following enhancements:  installation of additional overhead street lighting on Hoyt Street, installation of flashing pedestrian warning signs, other compliant roadway signs and markings, and identification of areas where safe and compliant pedestrian crosswalks might be installed.  To date, a response to this request has not been received.  Due to the fact that Hoyt Street is a State road, any modifications must be approved by the State prior to implementation.  Implementation of any approved modifications traditionally vests in the State.

Holly Schulz advised that State Reps. Terrie Wood and Bob Duff have been dealing with the DOT.  It is the position of the DOT that the DOT may be amenable to approving certain enhancements at Town expense.  Chief Lovello remains hesitant for the Town to fund what can be labeled as necessary and prudent enhancements on a highway owned and otherwise maintained by the State.

Chief Lovello addressed the issue of additional crosswalks.  A crosswalk must provide crossing from one safe area to another safe area which is currently problematic on Hoyt Street, as no such locations have been identified to date.

Commissioner Johnson suggested to both Ms. Haggerty and Ms. Schulz that they start contacting State Rep. Bill Tong.  Due to the recent redistricting, now is the time to begin getting State Rep. Tong involved.

Commissioner Harrel advised that it might be more productive to break down these requests and attack the issues one step at a time.  Discussion was held regarding the benefits of an illuminated pedestrian warning sign and additional street lighting.  There were concerns about the lighting and sign harming the character of the neighborhood and residents who could be impacted by having the sign erected near their property.

When queried about the number of pedestrian commuters who walked to the Talmadge Hill train station, Ms. Schulz stated that in the summer, approximately 35 employees of the Woodway Country Club walk to and from the station and there are approximately 20 residents who walk.  It is unknown if this number would increase should pedestrian improvements be made on Hoyt Street.

Commissioner Johnson advised that upon Lt. Anderson’s return from vacation, Lt. Anderson will make a study of the area to determine the feasibility and dynamics of installing a flashing pedestrian warning sign on Hoyt Street and will submit a report to the Police Commission.  The issue of the increased lighting on Hoyt Street would be handled by the Board of Selectmen.

Cassandra Haggerty, Holly Schulz, and Terrie Wood thanked the Commission for their time and excused themselves from the remainder of the meeting.  The time was 6:00 PM.

First Selectwoman Jayme Stevenson advised the Police Commission that she strongly recommended improved street lighting and will work on the design with Bob Steeger of the Public Works Department and Joe Ouellette of the State DOT.  They have already been looking into alternative lighting on Hoyt Street.  Three issues were identified for study:  increased street lighting, a dynamic pedestrian warning sign, and DOT-approved road markings.

First Selectwoman Stevenson and Mr. Lundeen then excused themselves from the remainder of the Police Commission meeting.  The time was 6:10 PM.  The Commission resumed the meeting, following the agenda set forth.

5.         OLD BUSINESS

Status of Police Department Building Project

A meeting of the Police Department Building Committee was held earlier today.  The project is proceeding close to schedule.

School Resource Officer

Plans for having a School Resource Officer in place by September are moving forward.

Request for Outside Employment – Officer Pirone

During the Police Commission meeting of December 21, 2011 a request from Officer Kerry Pirone seeking part-time employment with Darien Public Schools was tabled pending further research.  Chief Lovello advised that employment with the Town’s school system would be considered concurrent employment with another Town agency, specifically the Board of Education, and therefore could trigger overtime payments for any combination of hours over 40 in a work week.  The Commission subsequently voted unanimously to deny, with regret, Officer Pirone’s request.

6.         NEW BUSINESS

False Alarm Account

Chief Lovello requested $5,000 from the False Alarm account funds for the purchase of a used ambulance which would be used as a command post for crime scene investigations, accident investigations and other uses as needed.  The Department would be trading the 1981 Saulsbury truck as part of the ambulance acquisition.  Commissioner Harrel motioned to approve the use of $5,000 from the False Alarm account to purchase the used ambulance, seconded by Commissioner Santarella.  All were in favor.  The time was 6:25 PM.

Review of 2012/2013 Budget

Chief Lovello will be presenting the Police Department’s 2012/2013 budget proposal to the Board of Selectmen on January 30th at 7:45 PM.  Various highlights of the budget proposal were reviewed by the Police Commission.

7.         ADJOURNMENT

There being no other business to be considered, Commissioner Johnson motioned to adjourn, seconded by Commissioner Harrel.   All were in favor.  The time was 6:35 PM.

 Jan Lesko, Recording Secretary