NORWALK, Conn. – Former Norwalk Police Chief Harry Rilling has gotten a ringing vote of confidence in his drive to unseat Mayor Richard Moccia – that of the men and women who worked under him for years.
The Norwalk Police Union voted last week to endorse Rilling, a Democrat, according to a statement from Det. David Orr, union president. Orr cited Rilling’s record as police chief, and while he threw bouquets of gratitude to Moccia for eight years of “dedication and commitment,” strongly suggested Rilling is the man for the job now.
The words are very similar to those used by the Norwalk firefighters union.
“The men and women of the Norwalk Police Union believe that as mayor, Harry Rilling will work to re-establish a cordial working relationship between city employees and city managers, and that he will respect not only the collective bargaining agreements that the city has with their unions, but the spirit of honesty and fairness with which they were written,” Orr said in the statement.
Both Moccia and Rilling spoke to the union membership last Thursday, Orr said. Rilling, a zoning commissioner, missed a combined meeting of the Plan Review Committee and Zoning Committee to be there.
“The Norwalk Police Union is grateful for Mayor Moccia’s dedication and commitment to the city through the past eight years,” Orr said in the statement. “The Union recognizes and has always appreciated the amicable and mutually respectful relationship that we’ve had with the mayor during his tenure.”
Moccia was not available for comment.
Rilling was with the Norwalk Police Department for more than 41 years, spending 17 years as police chief.
“Harry Rilling rose through the ranks of our police department and established a reputation as an intelligent, progressive, tactful, and compassionate leader,” Orr said in the statement. “While managing the state of Connecticut’s sixth largest municipal police department, Harry Rilling always managed to remain accessible to the men and women he led and to the citizens that he served. As demonstrated through his leadership as chief of police, Harry Rilling understood the paramount importance of treating his workers fairly and with honesty and compassion. Harry Rilling understands the challenges that we face as police officers, and the important role that we play in promoting quality of life for the citizens of Norwalk.”
Rilling did not return a request for comment.