NORWALK, Conn. – Two of three new Norwalk Police officers planned as part of the next fiscal year’s budget will be dedicated to Norwalk’s middle schools, Chief Thomas Kulhawik said Wednesday.
The 2013-2014 operating budget includes funding for three additional police officers, as has been publicized. Kulhawik said they aren’t technically new positions as they have been authorized for the department for years. But the positions haven’t been funded.
One officer will be assigned to the elementary schools, Kulhawik said. The other two will be assigned as school resource officers to two middle schools each.
“Middle schools are an area where they can have big impact, because that’s where these issues start, with the gangs, you’ve got bullying, with drugs,” Kulhawik said.
Mayor Richard Moccia agreed. “Just the presence, even rotating through the schools, makes people feel better,” he said. “Plus, they would be available should there be a call in the area, emergency call. So it wouldn’t be, ‘Hey, I’m in the school’ if anything else happens, ‘I can’t go a couple of blocks.’ They have that coordination.”
There are no vehicle purchases planned in the budget, although the department is requesting a pickup truck that can be used to plow the police headquarters parking lot, and a new prisoner transport van.
The mayor and Finance Director Thomas Hamilton discussed Gov. Dannel Malloy’s proposed biennial budget with Office of Policy and Management Secretary Ben Barnes Wednesday. Moccia said there may be state grant money (from LoCIP, the Local Capital Improvement Program) to buy police vehicles.
He said, “No guarantees, because we have a lot of demands. … At least it’s an option we might have to have.”