The chief of the New Canaan Police Department said he’s “thrilled” that security cameras are being installed at Waveny’s two main entrances.
Asked about the pole-mounted security cameras—there’s one already in place at the park’s Lapham Road entrance—Police Chief Leon Krolikowski noted that New Canaan has seen motor vehicle break-ins in recent weeks at both Waveny and Irwin Parks.
“We have seen video cameras work well specifically at the YMCA, preventing people from breaking into vehicles,” Krolikowski told NewCanaanite.com.
“And if they do commit a crime, it will help us catch and and arrest them and prevent future crimes from occurring. These groups will enter a vehicle if they believe that there are valuables inside. Very typically they strike public parks and public common areas in Fairfield County, recently in Monroe and in our town and other parts of Fairfield County. So it’s not one-off crimes. They hit multiple areas.”
The installation of a camera at Waveny’s South Avenue entrance appears to be underway. Workers were there Friday morning (see photo at left) and a pole appears to have started going up.
The security camera installation comes more than 18 months after an online petition launched by Hilary Ormond—a trial lawyer, Waveny user and New Canaan mom who also holds a master’s degree in forensic psychology—garnered more than 2,000 signatures following the disappearance of Jennifer Dulos.
Soon after the petition circulated, parks officials took up the recommendation, and Krolikowski spoke in favor of installing cameras at Waveny’s entrances to deter and identify criminals. The following month, July 2019, a subcommittee of the Parks & Recreation Commission moved forward with a proposal for cameras at the entrances to the park.
First Selectman Kevin Moynihan said at the time that he’d been meeting with the first selectmen of area towns, and that he intended to address the issue at an upcoming Board of Selectmen meeting. At that meeting, held Aug. 20, 2019, Moynihan said that he had indicated to the Parks & Rec chair “that safety and security is not really within the jurisdiction of the Parks and Recreation Commission—it’s really the Police Department.” Four months later, in December 2019, the selectmen approved a $16,000 contract with a consultant to create an RFP for security system upgrades to several public properties including Waveny Park, Waveny Pool, Town Hall, Waveny House and municipal parking lots. In August 2020, the selectmen approved a $57,222 contract with a Shelton-based company that specializes in areas that include video surveillance and network infrastructure.
Asked last week for an update on the status of the project, First Selectman Kevin Moynihan declined to comment, saying security matters are exempt from Freedom of Information requests.
Krolikowski said, “I’m thrilled that the work is starting because it will only help prevent crime and help us catch these criminals throughout Fairfield County.”
It’s unclear whether signs advising park visitors that the area is under video surveillance will be installed at Waveny’s entrances, as they have been at the New Canaan YMCA. Asked in an email Tuesday about plans for such signage, Moynihan did not respond.
Asked in the same email thread to confirm that security cameras had been installed at Waveny’s entrances Friday, Moynihan responded, “That is not correct information, Michael. You know that work on cameras in various locations has been in progress for months, but you continue to misreport. You suckered me last week with a question without telling me the context of your question. That is not journalism.”
Police and some town officials have called for the installation of security cameras at Waveny for years, such as after several break-ins of motor vehicles in 2012, including those parked in the lot near the paddle hut and Waveny Pool. Ormond in presenting the online petition in the summer of 2019 said that the cameras should have been installed years ago. In addressing Parks & Rec, she noted that a young woman had been harassed while jogging in the park in October 2017 by a 20-year-old man. He accosted the juvenile woman running in Waveny with an offer to pay $2,000 for sex, telling police during an interview prior to his arrest that he “had seen it work in porn,” according to court documents.