NORWALK, Conn. – Former Norwalk Police Chief Harry Rilling has made official what many people have known for some time: he is running for mayor.
Rilling for Mayor sent out a press release Friday morning inviting the public to the Hilton Garden Inn at 3 p.m. Sunday, where he will make his announcement and outline his plans for the future of Norwalk.
Rilling, the grandfather of children currently enrolled in Norwalk Public Schools, will announce plans to restore confidence in the school system, spur economic development and restore civility, transparency and accountability in government, the press release said.
He joins three other Democrats vying to become their party’s nominee to take on Republican incumbent Mayor Richard Moccia. Former Town Clerk Andy Garfunkel and District D Chairman Vinny Mangiacopra have both filed papers to run for mayor. Councilman Matt Miklave has formed an exploratory committee; Miklave said Thursday that he should have a decision within days about whether he is going to enter the race completely.
Rilling, 65, was born and raised in Norwalk. He has been an active participant in civic life in Norwalk – both professionally and personally – since returning from four years in the U.S. Navy, according to the press release. He served 41 years on the Norwalk Police Department, including 17 years as the police chief, until his retirement last summer. He is currently employed as a compliance manager in the private sector.
Rilling is on the Zoning Commission, ruffling Republican feathers when he voted to keep affordable housing on site at 20 North Water St. That was shortly before he registered as a Democrat, after having been listed as unaffiliated during his tenure as police chief. The former chief says he was a Democrat before that.
Rilling is a graduate of Norwalk High School, a summa cum laude graduate of Iona College, and has a master’s in public administration from the University of New Haven, the press release said.
Rilling was elected president of both the Fairfield County and Connecticut Chiefs of Police associations, and served as Connecticut delegate to the International Chiefs Association. He is said to be an expert in the organization and performance of local police departments, and has led quality and organizational assessments of the departments of 25 other municipalities.
Rilling has served on the boards of the Vitam Youth Treatment Center, the Norwalk Cities in Schools Program, and the Human Services Council, the press release said. He was assistant district commissioner of the Boy Scouts of America, a member of the Mayor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Race Relations, and has been active in the Mid-Fairfield Substance Abuse Coalition. In addition, he was an adjunct professor of criminal justice at Norwalk Community College, the release said.
The Hilton Garden Inn is located at 560 Main Ave.