‘I Don’t Think the Public Knows’: Police Commission Calls for Renovation of NCPD Headquarters

Though it may look perfectly fine to those driving past on South Avenue, the New Canaan Police Department building has defective plumbing, mold, crumbling masonry, 16 broken windows, a leaking skylight, a sewer fly problem in the men’s locker room, loose and broken tiles in the women’s and poor or non-existent ventilation throughout, officials said Wednesday. Two of four men’s jail cells have been closed due to plumbing issues, Police Chief Leon Krolikowski said during a regular meeting of the Police Commission, and the old-style cell bars in them also must be replaced with flat plexiglass doors because prisoners have tried to hang themselves by the bars. 

Several offices in the building are not connected to its centralized HVAC system, and 48 windows require hardware that’s no longer available because the windows themselves are so old, he said. “There is moisture in some rooms—that’s not a good thing,” Krolikowski said during the meeting, held in the training room at police headquarters. “Ventilation in processing areas is nonexistent and we often get narcotic smells in our hallways due to evidence storage and no way to ventilate that.”

The comments came during a general update to the Commission, as the police building itself—though multiple town bodies have acknowledged the pressing need for renovation—sits as-is while town officials consider a complicated, multi-transaction proposal that would see the department relocated downtown (more on that below). “I don’t think the public knows any of this,” Police Commissioner Jim McLaughlin said, referring to the problems enumerated by the chief during his brief presentation.

Police Report Sharp Rise in Motor Vehicle Violations

New Canaan Police last week reported a 35 percent rise in the early part of the year in motor vehicle violations flagged by officers. 

Two-thirds of violations such as speeding and distracted driving results in verbal warnings, while one-third end up in tickets for motorists, Chief Leon Krolikowski said at the Feb. 27 meeting of the Police Commission. “We are trying to target mostly moving violations that cause accidents,” Krolikowski said during the meeting, held at the New Canaan Police Department. 

In January alone, New Canaan Police reported 524 motor vehicle violations, up 387 from the same month in 2018, the chief reported. 

Commissioner Paul Foley said policy of issuing verbal warnings to motorists in violation for two-thirds of the stops represents “good community policing.”

“Because I just don’t want to go back to the old days of writing a lot of tickets just to write tickets,” Foley said. He added that “people really appreciate the verbal [warning].”

“They do, because I hear about it,” he said. Krolikowski said officers issue that warning “when it’s appropriate.”

“It all depends on the circumstance,” the chief said.

Chief: Police To Establish Volunteer Service Award in Jim Cole’s Honor

New Canaan’s police chief said the department is creating a new award to honor a recently deceased town resident known for his active volunteerism in the community, including with emergency response agencies. Among other roles, Jim Cole had served as head of New Canaan’s Police Commission, Fire Commission and Office of Emergency Management, and was known in town as an architect of the Community Emergency Response Team. 

He died Feb. 5 at age 81 following a brief illness. Police Chief Leon Krolikowski said it was “clear to me that we had to do something” in considering of Cole’s volunteer work and the “thousands of hours he gave to the town in different capacities.”

The New Canaan Police Department is establishing a Volunteer Service Award in Cole’s name, the chief said. The Cole award would represent just the second such NCPD honor that could be earned by a civilian.

Police Chief Warns of New IRS ‘Bureau of Tax Enforcement’ Scam 

New Canaan’s police chief is warning residents about a new scam where individuals are instructed through a mailed letter to make “delinquent tax payments” or face severe penalties. The “Bureau of Tax Enforcement” letter includes a “due date” and toll-free 866 phone number that recipients are told to call or “your United States passport will be revoked along with your CT State driver’s license,” according to a copy provided to NewCanaanite.com. Its letterhead appears to include an IRS-like seal. Police Chief Leon Krolikowski said he phoned the number, spoke with a man and asked a few questions. 

“When I told him it was the New Canaan Police investigating a possible scam, he quickly hung up,” Krolikowski said. “The number appears to be disconnected.”

In this case, the letter demanded $49,439 to be paid and said the IRS “Bureau of Tax Enforcement, Internal Processing Service for Fairfield County” must be phoned by Feb.

‘An Unsung Hero’: New Canaanites Remember Jim Cole 

Saddened by news of Jim Cole’s passing this week, New Canaanites are remembering the longtime former resident as a dedicated volunteer who served the community quietly and in numerous ways while helping to shape emergency preparedness in town. A former chairman of the New Canaan Police and Fire Commissions who went on to become the town’s director and later deputy director of Emergency Management and served on its Traffic Calming Work Group, Cole died Monday in Florida, according to First Selectman Kevin Moynihan. In calling for a moment of silence at a regular meeting of the Board of Finance on Tuesday night, Moynihan called Cole “a great friend of New Canaan” and “great volunteer” alongside his wife, Nancy Upton. Known for his deep involvement in the Congregational Church of New Canaan, local service organizations and the Community Emergency Response Team, a volunteer group known as ‘CERT,’ Cole was a widely respected expert on emergency response for whom the safety of the community was imperative, according to those who knew him. 

He not only helped plan for emergencies but also rolled up his sleeves to work hard when they struck, according to Mike Handler, New Canaan’s director of emergency management. Handler called Cole “a remarkable guy” who “took community engagement and involvement to a different level” not only as a volunteer but also as a great recruiter who was “fiercely loyal” to those who gave of their time as he did.