Patrol officer productivity on the New Canaan Police Department’s motorcycle in some ways has been greater than in regular cruisers in the past year, officials say.
Sgt. Scott Romano told members of the Police Commission at a recent meeting that on the motorcycle he has “the ability to be a little less conspicuous when doing enforcement, and it is easier for me to sit in certain areas.”
“One of the ones before tonight was Silvermine and Valley Road,” Romano told members of the commission at their July 25 meeting, held at the department’s South Avenue headquarters.
“I can tuck in and sit in driveways where definitely a patrol car can’t, and so I have the ability to view the trouble areas and take enforcement action as needed. So it certainly works better for those things than a patrol vehicle.”
The feedback from Romano—a 20-year NCPD veteran who was promoted Aug. 30 to sergeant—came one year into an analysis of the re-launched department’s motorcycle program.
Last July, following a cost analysis and breakdown of the motorcycle’s benefits—including increased community relations as well as setting up radar in tight areas—the commission supported restarting the motorcycle program. It had emerged in 2008 with Sgt. Joseph Farenga under the Chief’s Challenge but was later discontinued due in part to budgetary constraints.
According to Romano, the bike has been on the road continuously since last summer, weather permitting. It’s been out for the Waveny fireworks, Memorial Day Parade and St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Norwalk, and costs have been minimal—mostly fuel, oil changes and brake pads, he said.
Romano credited Lt. Carol Ogrinc for her support of the motorcycle program, saying she has allowed him to take the bike out so long as staffing allows it (specifically, the department first must be able to cover each of New Canaan’s six sectors with a patrol vehicle, meaning six or more patrol officers must be working).
Though the department likely has not met an initial objective of getting the motorcycle out two to three shifts per week, it has still been out, “give or take, once a week,” Romano said, “maybe less with the snow in winter.”
Police commissioners Paul Foley urged Romano and other officers certified for the motorcycle to “get off the bike when you are in town” in order to practice “community policing.”
Romano said that’s already happening.
“We did Parade Hill for a little while and some of our points there—I had multiple people walk up to me while I was on the bike so we could talk about what was going on and what I was seeing and as far as perception versus reality,” he said.