Norwalk cops begin fighting crime with their feet

Norwalk Police Chief Thomas Kulhawik, left, says he has taken a cue from the Sacremento (Calif.) Police Department and is ordering officers to get out of their vehicle at random intervals.

NORWALK, Conn. – If you’re one of those people who think Norwalk Police need more feet on the street you’re in luck – Chief Thomas Kulhawik is taking a step in that direction.

Warmer weather has brought the debut of Hot-Spot Patrols, an idea Kulhawik got from the Sacramento (Calif.) Police Department, he said. The enhanced community policing initiative means that police patrols are going to be less predictable, thus giving those with criminal activity on their minds something else to think about.

Officers have begun randomly parking their patrol cars and walking areas they have identified as Hot Spots, according to a NPD Facebook post.

“In addition, we believe having officers patrol on foot will increase positive interaction with the community,” the Facebook post reads. “These patrols will also be utilized in areas with high foot traffic such as Washington Street and similar areas throughout the city.”

The theory is that even just 12 to 16 minutes of highly visible police activity can lower the crime rate in a “hot spot,” the online Community Police Dispatch says. Sacramento Sgt. Renee Mitchell tested that idea in early 2011 and found that crime dropped 25 percent in those areas. Police productivity did not.

Other officers continued policing in their usual way as a control group. Crime went up in those areas, the website says. The study further showed that the Sacramento Police Department saved a significant amount of money through the initiative, costs associated with crime.

Kulhawik read about it in Police Chief magazine, he said in an email. “It has been in the works for several months and now, with our new bid May 1st and the warmer weather, we are pushing it amongst the officers,” he said. (Officers bid for new patrol shifts each quarter, he said.)

There’s more.

New police officers are being asked to spend two weeks walking a beat after they complete their field training and before they are assigned to a motorized patrol beat, Kulhawik said.

The Facebook post said, “We believe this will allow residents and business owners to get to know the officers and for the officers to better assimilate into the community they will be serving.”


18 responses to “Norwalk cops begin fighting crime with their feet”

  1. Tim T

    Sounds like an election year show to me.
    With that said I find it frighting that our out of town chief had to learn about foot patrol from a magazine.
    “New police officers are being asked to spend two weeks walking a beat after they complete their field training and before they are assigned to a motorized patrol beat, Kulhawik said”
    I would think he would tell them and not ask and I would think it would be at least a year of foot patrol before getting a car and not a token 2 whole weeks. However the chief is going to asks current officers to get out of their cars for a full 12 to 16 minutes per shift.
    If I didn’t know better I would say this was a script for Reno 911

  2. oldtimer

    There is a barrier between the people in the community and police officers going by in patrol cars. Getting more officers on foot, even if only for limited periods, sounds like a step (no pun intended) in the right direction. Tim seems to disapprove of everything the police dept does. He forgets that the chief, like the rest of us, has to do the best he can with limited resources. There are not enough officers to restore full time walking beats, no matter how good an idea that might be. Getting the money approved to add substantially increase the number of officers will be a real challenge, although retired chief Rilling has said he believes it can be done, over a period of several years and he intends to do it. Should be interesting to hear him and moccia debate that issue.

  3. Tim T

    The reason I disapprove of everything the police dept does is simple. They don’t seem to do anything right. The only ones I see approving of the NPD are the police themselves (current and retired) and of course the criminals as they don’t get caught . Also the administration that is in denial of the Norwalk crime epidemic seems to think things are just fine. I always find it amusing how people will accept failure from the police but tend to have different standards of accountability for everyone else.

  4. Tim T

    One other point old timer. Maybe if we did away with the overtime at construction sites we could restore full time walking beat. I wonder if the chief would consider attacking that cash cow .

  5. Al Raymond

    I have lived in Norwalk all my life(62) & back in the day the officers were driven to there beat by there supervisor left there for the 8 hour shift.No matter what the weather rain snow hot cold , if the weather was bad they would stop in at the stores talk to the owners customers get to know everyone that lived there in the neighborhood that way they could tell who belonged & who didn`t. You get what I`am saying this is a practice that should have never stop & should be mandatory that an officer has to walk there beat everyday. I tryed to get Harry to do this same thing years ago. Anyway To all of the officers out there I know your job is not easy keep up the good work & be safe out there.

  6. Harold

    Hmmmm… This just might have something to do with Mangiacopra stating he would be walking the beat on his first day as mayor. This is one of this administrations problems, they are reactive when they need to be more proactive

  7. Joanne Romano

    Once again comments that counteract a positive! I can go back to blog after blog year after year, comment after comment about how everyone believes the police should/will be walking the beat, there’s a whole slew of negativity. Are you kidding me now? Growing up cops walked the beat and got to know each and every citizen within their area. This is the most pro-active start to something that could actually reduce the amount of time crimes occur in our neighborhoods! I say Kudos to the chief and deputy chiefs for putting this in place. Bicycle cops, cycle cops and beat cops, getting back to the way I remember growing up when my dad was a cop, he walked a beat he rode a cycle and everyone knew and respected him and he gave respect back as did all of the beat cops and everyone felt a closer relationship with those guys who were there to protect them! They knew everyone’s name and they paid special attention where it was needed! Respect breeds respect and we all grew up respecting all the officers. So Kudos to this new/old way of doing things!

  8. oldtimer

    The chief is looking to recapture, to some extent, the benefits of a neighborhood cop becoming a well-known person in the neighborhood without loosing the fast response of a patrol car. I hope he is able to keep the same officers in the same patrols and the officers are enthusiatic to making friends, getting to know somebody other than the bad guys and their victims.
    This has nothing to do with officers working extra duty overtime at street jobs sites and I don’t know why we can’t make you understand that. I would expect you to appreciate the extra eyes and ears out there every day at no cost.

  9. Tim T

    Old timer
    This has everything to do with the cops working dirt jobs at 65 per hour. If we could have the savings of 65 per hours for cops vs 15 for flagmen. This saving plus the savings of the extra fleet of cars and gas for dirt jobs could pay for full time additional cops to walking the beat full time. I don’t know why we can’t make you understand that.
    What the chief has proposed is 12 minutes per shift and 2 weeks for new officers. What I am proposing is many additional cops assigned to just walking the beat full time and paid for with the wasted dirt job overtime as in no extra cost to the taxpayer. Why is it that you are always attempting to protect the dirt job cash cow. I have provided you with studies time and again that show the police can not justify the need for this overtime

  10. Joanne Romano

    Once again in case some have been living under a rock..the police who are at as you describe as working the dirt jobs at &65 per hour do not and I should repeat do not get paid through city funds! The companies who are doing the work hire, yes I said hire the police officers because of the safety issues. Yes they get paid from the city but the companies pay for their time, the gas etc. that it takes to fulfill these positions. Police are needed here because we do have people who have no clue that when construction is going on you can’t drive 60 mph in a construction zone and mowing down workers is a huge problem the city and contractors wish to avoid! Come on be serious here, we have idiots who don’t pull over for an ambulance/fire truck or police car en-route to an emergency so what makes you think they care about a construction worker who is inconveniencing them? Say what you want but I would rather see a police officer at a construction sight than a construction worker who’s only mistake is going to work in the morning and may be the victim of a careless driver who may be lets see…texting, trying to drink too hot coffee, late for work/train, last minute touch ups to their make-up, my all time favorite is reading the freak’n newspaper or arguing/laughing hysterically with someone on the phone instead of paying attention. And then you have those who just don’t give a you know what for anyone but themselves! I see this sometimes even when there is a cop on duty at these sites because of their blatant disrespect for authority and actually almost cause an accident which happened to me the other day when a construction worker was holding up a slow sign and the idiot behind me decided to play speed racer around me and almost came head on with another car! So please get the facts straight before always condemning what our police department is trying to do to make our lives that much safer!

  11. Tim T

    Once again Joanne Romano you are wrong the police working dirt jobs DO get paid with city funds. The cost of traffic control is figured into the contract. If it is police it 65 per hour. If it flagman its 15 per hour. If its flagmen instead of police its a saving of 50 per hour to the taxpayer. The taxpayer pays for that contract. Now Joanne Romano do you understand how the taxpayer pays for each and every penny of the police overtime for dirt jobs. Also the construction companies do NOT pay for the gas and city car so you are also wrong on that point. I would have thought with all your many years in norwalk politics that you would have understood this but I guess not. The taxpayer has been lied to for way to many years about this matter with the lie that the taxpayer is not paying for this when in fact the taxpayer is paying for 100 percent of this overtime.

  12. Tim T

    Joanne Romano
    A little something from a Massachusetts survey
    Police officers working at construction sites on local roads were paid an estimated $94.3 million statewide last year, more than three times the amount civilian flaggers might have cost, according to a study that questions whether details pay off in road safety.
    The study contends that taxpayers and businesses could have saved $37 million to $67 million if local laws allowed companies and government agencies to hire civilian flaggers instead of uniformed officers to direct traffic at construction sites.

    “Somebody owes the public a big explanation as to why we are wasting millions of dollars a year on these details,” said David Tuerck, executive director of the Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University, which conducted the study. “The police cannot produce one shred of evidence to support why we need this expense.”

    Connecticut (Norwalk) law unlike Massachusetts law currently allows for flagmen vs cops at construction sites.

  13. Tim T

    Joanne Romano

    Here is a perfect example. A few weeks ago on Strawberry Hill
    where the “City” (not the homeowner) is putting in new sidewalks and storm drains. In a section less than an eighth of a mile I saw no less than 7 police cars all running of course with no less than 7 cops either sitting in the car or staring aimlessly into the hole. This has been going on for weeks. I will give you a break down.

    7 cops times an 8 hour day equals 56 hours
    56 hours times 65 per hour equals $3,640.00 per day
    $3640.00 times 5 days equal $18,200.00
    Plus and estimate on 7 running cars with wear and tear and gas $500.00 per week (low ball)
    Total car and cops $18,700.00

    Now the cost for flagmen
    7 flagmen times an 8 hour day equals 56 hours
    56 hours times 15 per hour equals $975.00 per day
    $975.00 times 5 days equals $4,875.00
    No city car and no city gas
    Total $4,875.00

    Cops $18,700.00
    Flagmen $4,875.00

    Savings of $13,825.00 with flagmen vs cops
    Plus the added benefit of the flagmen actually directing traffic)
    For one eighth of a mile
    For one week
    The numbers don’t lie. The only ones I can fathom protesting this saving are the ones currently profiting from this or the ones that have profited from this in the past, as in the police themselves.

  14. Suzanne

    I have had nothing but good experiences of the Norwalk Police Department. Whatever political incentive some have to criticize their work, this has not been my experience.

    I do recall that I had to hire a City policeperson for my wedding to direct traffic. I paid for the service and, I believe, it was a check to the Police Department at $100.00 per hour. Well worth the investment for a smooth celebration.

    In addition, they have assisted me more than once with an ID theft problem as well as more personal and difficult disputes which they dispatched quickly and professionally.

    I feel lucky to have the Norwalk Police Department of service to me and my neighbors’ needs. Whatever the complaints or negative experiences others have had, when I have needed them, the Norwalk Police Department was there.

    I don’t care about the politics of it and I don’t believe all of the complaints about their pay are genuine. One person with an axe to grind does not the entire reputation of the NPD make. Thank you, NPD, for your good service.

  15. Joanne Romano

    Hey Tim, when did we move to Mass? Not every town/city has the same rules…in Norwalk, police are paid for their services by individuals and companies who require their services! I know you have a thing about Norwalk police but I bet they will still save your butt should you need it and won’t take into consideration that you do nothing but trash them on a daily basis…you see I did not mention you by name in my postings but you seem to have a need to always respond negatively to whatever I say because unlike me, you are indeed the expert on all things and should really come out from behind the great oz curtain and run for mayor/police chief or anything else you have expertise on…be careful though, ToTo may pull back the curtain one of these days!

  16. Joanne Romano

    PS apparently you have all the answers..I live within the Strawberry hill area and travel it on a daily basis and I just haven’t seen what you are describing???? But again, perhaps you might understand this better if you take the blinders of hate off and again listen to the fact that in order to do construction in Norwalk one must “HIRE” the local police if in fact they want to use them at construction sites same as if you have a wedding, a party, a concert or any other activity requiring police presence! Do you know how much good you could do if you would just step away from the computer and get out in the community and maybe volunteer your time? Just say’n!

  17. Tim T

    Joanne Romano
    First I would like to say no need for your sarcasm as that only proves you are defeated in your view. I will once again educate you on the matter.
    You say
    “When did we move to Mass?”
    I am well away this is not Mass. However if it’s Mass, CT, Nevada or CA it’s of no importance as the study proves waste and waste is waste. Maybe millions of dollars of waste is ok for you tax and spend Republicans but it’s not for me, especially with the Republican Moccia’s 4 percent tax increase.
    You say
    “Not every town/city has the same rules…in Norwalk; police are paid for their services by individuals and companies who require their services!”
    The thing you fail to add is that when these services are part of a construction company contract that the taxpayers are paying for the police at 65 per hours vs 15 for flagmen. Also this ”rule ” seems to be an unwritten rule as I can’t seem to find it in the city code book or find any such ordnance . Please provide that info if you have it. Also even if such ordnance did exist that could be change as ordnances are so often. It seems this is yet another case of the administration sucking up to the police union.
    You say
    “Know you have a thing about Norwalk police but I bet they will still save your butt should you need it”
    FYI I would not depend on Norwalk Police for anything…..I will say however that part of your post is comical.
    You say
    “Should really come out from behind the great oz curtain”
    I think you may have me confused with the mayor as that is what he is referred to by the public due to the lack of transparency of his administration
    You say
    “Norwalk one must “HIRE” the local police if in fact they want to use them at construction sites same as if you have a wedding, a party, a concert or any other activity requiring police presence”
    You are also wrong on this as the only requirement is traffic control as in flagmen or police. Also as far as weddings, parties and so on the only requirement is security not necessarily police. I would suggest you check with continental manor as they use their own guards, which do a fantastic job.
    In closing it’s a shame that you do not see this waste of millions of dollars as important. I just hope once we weed out the rest of the Norwalk political dinosaurs come November and replace them with people that think outside the box without blinders on this will all change.

  18. Joanne Romano

    So, you’re going to run for public office? Have at it! Exactly what we need, an expert on everything! But you’ll have to leave your puter and anonymous blog postings at home and be scrutinized like you choose to do to others every day!
    By my statement one must hire police offers I meant, they don’t come free and if you would like to have them at your event, construction site etc. then you must pay for that service as you do for a caterer, a construction worker etc. I did not mean it was required…I guess I need to slow down when I write so you can understand what I am saying. and on that note, I’m done arguing with you because you’ll never approve of the NPD or anyone else …can’t wait to see your path of destruction after the next election because I’m sure that no matter who is elected, you’ll find fault and you will begin another campaign of trash and destroy. Again, come out from behind the curtain and run for office…I’m sure we would all be so much better off with someone like you at the helm! I will stand by my account of our police department and will defend them when defending is warranted! I will not however condone outright total disregard of respecting our hard working dedicated men and women who do their best to protect us each and every day! The world we live in is not perfect and the trials and tribulations mount each day and I commend them and the fire officials for all they do to make our lives that much easier! Dinosaurs? Please, many of our elected officials have dedicated their lives for the better part of 20+ years, taking precious time from their families to try to make a difference and I would commend most of them. This is the exact reason I chose to leave politics, its people like you and all the naysayers who make people flee from getting involved!

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