Police investigators in New Canaan hope that the town’s plan to install cameras at Waveny’s entrances as a result of the Dulos case leads to more video surveillance throughout town.
For the fourth straight year, the New Canaan Police Department Investigative Section is asking that municipal officials especially consider installations at the town border and entrance and exit ramps of the Merritt Parkway, according to an end-of-year report from the head of the section, Lt. Jason Ferraro.
“This is directly supported by the Dulos case and the huge role that video evidence played in leading to the arrests of [Fotis] Dulos and [Michelle] Troconis,” Ferraro said in the report, discussed briefly at Jan. 15 regular meeting of the Police Commission and obtained by NewCanaanite.com through a public records request.
“We realize this is a capital item but having LPR’s [“license plate recognition” cameras] located at strategic locations would greatly improve our ability to get ahead in an investigation and improve the likelihood of an arrest occurring. Hopefully the approval to install cameras at Waveny Park as a result of the Dulos case will be the beginning of more cameras at vital locations within New Canaan.”
The Board of Selectmen last month approved the hiring of a Bridgeport-based technology consulting firm to put together an RFP for updating security systems in New Canaan. The RFP should be completed by early February, so that the Board of Finance can include a line item in the fiscal year 2021 budget, officials have said.
It isn’t clear how much the security upgrade will cost, though it likely will be a multi-year plan, officials said. The effort follows from a grassroots push to install security cameras at Waveny after Jennifer Dulos’s SUV was found parked along the park’s southwestern edge.
The manpower that New Canaan Police dedicated last summer to the investigation of the missing local mom, whom authorities have since come to believe was murdered by her estranged husband, drained the department’s staff to minimum levels for a time, officials said in November.
Police Chief Leon Krolikowski in presenting a proposed fiscal year 2021 budget to the Board of Selectmen on Thursday called 2019 “a tragic year.”
“We worked a complex missing person murder investigation that took up a significant amount of time and was very impactful on our department,” Krolikowski said.
He added, “I couldn’t be prouder all our men and women and the work they do and how well they work with other agencies. I think justice is what we are all looking for.”
The Police Department’s spending plan calls for a 1.76% decrease in spending on operations, to about $6.5 million, despite contractual wage increases of 2.75%.
Ferraro in his report called the Dulos investigation “by far the most high profile case in the history of the town and department.”
“This case gained international attention and to this day continues to grab headlines on national network news broadcasts. The Investigative Section was forever changed on this date in terms of what we as investigators were exposed to. Specifically in areas including but not limited to forensic evidence, digital evidence, scope of people involved in the investigation, over 2,500 tips coming into the department, cooperation with other local, state and federal law enforcement agencies and international media outlets.”
During the Board meeting, Selectman Nick Williams asked Krolikowski whether it was true that New Canaan “get a bill at some point from the state because of their [Connecticut State Police] participation in the investigation.”
Krolikowski said “it’s been threatened” but that he would be “surprised if we get one.”
“We shouldn’t pay it if we get it,” the chief said.
He added, “No one on the town side agreed to pay anything. We help other agencies all the time and it’s a cooperative relationship.”