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MINUTES

DARIEN POLICE COMMISSION

SPECIAL MEETING

FEBRUARY 13, 2013

1.         CALL TO ORDER

The 2,256th meeting of the Darien Police Commission was held on the above mentioned date at Police Headquarters.  Commissioner Johnson Commissioner Santarella, Chief Lovello, Lt. Anderson and Jan Lesko (Commission Secretary) were in attendance.  Eagle Scout candidate Nicholas Cohen, Atty. Wilder Gleason and his client, Loren Meyer, were also in attendance.  The following Darien police officers attended the meeting:  Saverio Boccuzzi, Thomas Whyte, Jeremiah Johnson, Robert Shreders, Daniel Ehret, Daniel Noto, Mark Cappelli, Thomas Moore, William Duignan, Gary Pavia, Chet Perkowski, John Murphy, T. Courtney Isaac, Stuart Schwengerer, Christopher Jimenez, Michael Cummings, Kathy Conlin, Greg Benedetto, Derek Mulcahy, George Vitone, James Martin, Joseph Licari, Kerry Pirone, and John Lawlor.  Commissioner Harrel joined the meeting at 5:05 PM via telephone but did not introduce or vote on any motion.  Channel 79 was present, recording the meeting.  The meeting was called to order at 4:00 PM.

2.         APPROVAL OF MINUTES

Commissioner Santarella motioned to approve the minutes of the special meetings held on January 9, 2013 and January 23, 2013, seconded by Commissioner Johnson.  All were in favor. The time was 4:05 PM.

3.         CORRESPONDENCE

The Commission reviewed a letter received from a Darien resident commending the services of Lt. Ronald Bussell and Det. John Murphy.  The Commission unanimously commended both officers for their excellent service.

4.         DEPARTMENT ACTIVITY

Chief Lovello advised there were 3 residential burglaries this week – 2 on Locust Hill Road and 1 on Old Kings Highway South near the Post Road, from which some evidence has been retrieved.  School security initiatives continue and facility upgrades are being made.  Tomorrow is the kickoff for the 1 Billion Rising domestic violence initiative.

5.         OLD BUSINESS

Traffic Issues

Route 106/Pedestrian Signage Update – The Board of Selectmen has approved the installation of pedestrian signage on Hoyt Street near the New Canaan town line.  They are reviewing encroachment issues with the State Dept. of Transportation.  The best placement for a curve sign southbound at Talmadge Hill is in New Canaan.  A request for New Canaan to fund 50% of the cost of the signage was denied.  The signs are on order and Lt. Anderson will be scouting locations for the installation.  The only assistance we are receiving from ConnDOT is the issuance of the permit.  Darien Dept. of Public Works will be responsible for the installation of the signage.

Leroy Avenue/Middlesex Road Crosswalk – Lt. Anderson advised that improving this intersection has been a 1½-2 year ordeal.  One option is to acquire private land and extend the sidewalk.  The other option is to straighten the road to transform the current “Y” intersection to a “T” intersection which would enable the installation of a crosswalk.  Either option would be an improvement to the site.  A crosswalk cannot be installed in the present configuration.  It is Lt. Anderson’s understanding that the Board of Selectmen has been in contact with the Dept. of Public Works to get cost figures.

6.         NEW BUSINESS

Proposed Commercial Development – 164 Old Kings Highway South

Atty. Wilder Gleason and his client, Loren Meyer, made a presentation to the Police Commission regarding a proposed commercial development at 164 Old Kings Highway South.  Lt. Anderson, the Department’s legal traffic liaison, had reviewed the application and submitted a report to the Police Commission citing his concerns as relates to traffic impact.  The application was sent to Planning and Zoning “to establish a new commercial sales and service use generally requiring external storage or activity; construct an addition to the existing building, with a new driveway off Cross Street; construct associated parking and landscaping; and perform related site development activities”.  The parcel is just under .3 acres in size and would require 8 parking spaces on the parcel.

The proposed project includes an additional curb cut on Cross Street to provide ingress/egress to the establishment.  Cross Street is 167 feet long and 15’10” wide at its approximate midpoint.  It is Lt. Anderson’s opinion that adding commercial traffic and an ingress/egress driveway for commercial vehicles on Cross Street would be problematic.

Atty. Gleason advised that his client is willing to remove all of the stone wall on Cross Street, have a large tree removed, and remove a section of fencing.  He is also willing to pay to widen, as much as possible, the roadway.  He will not, however, pay to have the utility pole on the corner of Cross Street and Old Kings Highway South moved.  The building would be single use for his business only.    Vehicles that would be kept on site when not in use at a project would be a bobcat, dump trailer, and pickup truck.

Commissioner Johnson commented that pulling out of the proposed egress onto Cross Street cannot be done without encroaching on both travel lanes.  Lt. Anderson advised that any roadway less than 20’ in width is non-forming to standards.  Even with widening, Cross Street would still be less than 20’ in width.

Lt. Anderson will revisit the site with Director of Planning and Zoning, Jeremy Ginsberg and Dave Keating and will report back to the Police Commission.  Until that time, the Police Commission will not take action on this project.

Proposed Eagle Scout Project – Bicycle Racks

Nicholas Cohen made a presentation to the Police Commission regarding a proposed Eagle Scout project wherein the scouts would install new bicycle racks at the Darien railroad station and the Noroton Heights railroad station.  They would replace the old existing bicycle racks with new, double-locking inverted “U” dock-style racks which are made in the U.S.  They would buy and install 24 new racks.  Each rack holds 2 bicycles.  The racks can also be utilized to lock mopeds.  The actual installation would be done in concert with the Dept. of Public Works.  The scouts would also install signage and educate the public through the media.  The scouts are looking for funding in the amount of $4,200 to provide for the purchase of the new bike racks.  Chief Lovello was confident that the $4,200 could be raised in private funding.  Commissioner Santarella motioned to approve the endorsement of the proposed Eagle Scout project to install new bicycle racks at the Darien railroad station and the Noroton Heights railroad station, seconded by Commissioner Johnson.  All were in favor.  The time was 5:00 PM.

Officer Michael Dos Santos – End of Probationary Period

Chief Lovello advised that on February 12, 2013 Officer Michael Dos Santos successfully completed his one-year probationary period.  Commissioner Santarella motioned that Probationary Officer Michael Dos Santos be appointed Patrol Officer effective February 12, 2013, seconded by Commissioner Johnson.  All were in favor.  The time was 5:02 PM.

Merit Increases – Lt. William Duignan and Sgt. Thomas Moore

Effective February 8, 2013, Lt. William Duignan completed one year since his promotion to Lieutenant.  Chief Lovello advised that Lt. Duignan has performed admirably and recommended that he receive his merit increase to Step 2 effective February 8, 2013.  Commissioner Santarella motioned to approve that Lt. William Duignan receive his merit increase to Step 2 effective February 8, 2013, seconded by Commissioner Johnson.  All were in favor.  The time was 5:04 PM.

Effective February 8, 2013, Sgt. Thomas Moore completed one year since his promotion to Sergeant.  Chief Lovello advised that Sgt. Moore has performed admirably and recommended that he receive his merit increase to Step 2 effective February 8, 2013.  Commissioner Santarella motioned to approve that Sgt. Thomas Moore receive his merit increase to Step 2 effective February 8, 2013, seconded by Commissioner Johnson.  All were in favor.  The time was 5:04 PM.

At this time, Commissioner Harrel joined the Commission meeting via telephone.

Darien Police Association – Pending Grievance

Saverio Boccuzzi, President of the Darien Police Association, addressed the Commission to discuss the issues of public safety and police safety due to the decreased number of patrol officers on the road.  Commissioner Johnson advised it was not appropriate to discuss this since it is in the grievance process.  Det. Boccuzzi was in agreement and discussed, in general terms, concerns regarding safety and response times.  Upon Det. Boccuzzi’s conclusion, Commissioner Johnson advised that the concerns have been heard and it is his belief that the grievance procedure will go forward.  Det. Boccuzzi then advised that the Darien Police Association is looking for status quo prior to January 1, 2013.

8.         ADJOURNMENT

There being no other business to be considered, Commissioner Johnson motioned to adjourn, seconded by Commissioner Santarella.   All were in favor.  The time was 5:23 PM.

 Jan Lesko, Commission Secretary