The manpower that New Canaan Police dedicated this past summer to the investigation of a missing local mom drained the department’s staff to minimum levels for a time, leading to a decline in motor vehicle violation citations, officials say.
Year-to-date motor vehicle violation incidents were down about 20% as of Oct. 31, officials reported at last month’s meeting of the Police Commission.
Responding to a question from Commission Chair Sperry DeCew about the decline in incidents—from 3,648 through the first ten months of 2018 to 2,933 this year—Deputy Chief John DiFederico said, “With the investigation this summer, that took a lot of manpower away.”
“We also had a very high number of order-ins,” DiFederico said at the meeting, held Nov. 20 at NCPD headquarters. “With the manpower drained that that investigation took, we were working with minimum shifts for a significant amount of time this summer, and we are also down five officers. So we’re working with a skeleton crew, but the shifts are improving and we are on working with the supervisors, the lieutenants and sergeants closely now and we are on the upswing of things.”
DiFederico added that the picture already is improving, as the number of motor vehicle violation incidents increased from 235 in September to 310 in October.
Jennifer Dulos has not been seen since May 24, the Friday of Memorial Day weekend. Police on May 25 issued a Silver Alert regarding her disappearance. One week later, police charged her estranged husband, Fotis Dulos—a man she’d said she feared in divorce and custody filings—and his girlfriend, Michelle Troconis, with felony hindering and tampering. Federal and state authorities joined New Canaan Police in the missing person and criminal investigations. In September, police brought a second tampering charge against Fotis Dulos, as well as Troconis. Fotis Dulos has pleaded not guilty and is next scheduled to appear Jan. 7 in state Superior Court in Stamford. Troconis also has pleaded not guilty and is scheduled to appear Jan. 31.
In New Canaan, residents rallied behind the mother of five and her family, expressing concern for the children’s welfare and honoring the missing woman with multiple vigils. Representatives from the family have repeatedly thanked New Canaan Police and other agencies for their hard work on the case, including in the days leading up to Thanksgiving.
Police Chief Leon Krolikowski noted during the Commission meeting that the department is facing “unprecedented staffing issues.”
“We are at minimum shift 83% of the time, last month and consistently over the summer because of some resignations and retirements and the time it takes to get back to full strength,” he said.