New Canaan Police announced Monday that they’ve hired a 27-year-old area resident as the department’s newest officer. Nicholas A. Rienzi, of Pound Ridge, N.Y., worked most recently for six years for the Burlington Police Department in Vermont, according to a press release issued by Lt. Jason Ferraro, NCPD’s public information officer. A graduate of Fox Lane High School in Bedford, N.Y., Rienzi earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Vermont, and he’s a member of the Pound Ridge Volunteer Fire Department, the press release said. “Nicholas participated in the winter 2020 recruitment process for Entry Level Police Officer with the New Canaan Police Department,” the release said. “He was one of over 100 candidates who submitted eligible applications for employment.
[Note: This article has been updated with new information from New Canaan Police.]
A motorist on Wednesday afternoon crashed through a rail at the Transfer Station, plunging a vehicle headfirst into a garbage dumpster several feet below. No one was injured in the crash at the Lakeview Avenue facility, according to New Canaan Police Lt. Jason Ferraro, the department’s public information officer. Police, fire and EMTs rushed to the Transfer Station at about 12:18 p.m. on a report of the accident.
There, two individuals could be seen in the front seats of a gray Chevrolet Caprice Classic whose front end was nosed at about a 45-degree angle into a partially filled dumpster that’s used for residents to drop off their household garbage.
“Initial reports indicate that the operator mistakenly pushed the accelerator rather than the brake and his vehicle drove over the curbing and sidewalk through the fence at the top of the transfer station platform,” Ferraro said in an email “As a result the vehicle’s front end fell into the container that is used to collect garbage.” Several members of New Canaan Police, Fire and Emergency Medical Services cordoned off the area while firefighters secured the vehicle and worked to extract its two occupants safely. The crash remains under investigation, Ferraro said.
Town officials last week promoted two longtime members of the New Canaan Police Department.
The Police Commission during a special meeting April 21 promoted Sgt. Joseph Farenga to lieutenant, and on April 23 promoted Officer Michael O’Sullivan to sergeant, according to Chief Leon Krolikowski. “We are thrilled to have Lt. Farenga and Sgt. O’Sullivan join our leadership team,” Krolikowski told NewCanaanite.com. “Both of these veteran department members will help us lead our department into the future as we all continue to selflessly protect and serve our community.”
Farenga is a 20-year veteran of the department whose past roles include youth sergeant, supervisor of the Motor Enforcement Program, human trafficking instructor and A.L.I.C.E. instructor.
New Canaan Police through the first two months of 2020 responded to seven calls for psychiatric problems, officials said last week—up from just one the prior year and expected to rise steeply amid the COVID-19 emergency.
The figure will “continue to increase because of lots of different issues regarding anxiety and bringing out behavioral health issues related to the COVID crisis,” according to Police Chief Leon Krolikowski.
“So I expect to have more medical calls and more psychiatric calls,” he said during the March 23 meeting of the Police Commission, held via videoconference.
New Canaan had 48 confirmed cases of coronavirus disease 2019 or “COVID-19” as of Tuesday evening, according to Emergency Management Director Mike Handler. Five town residents have died from the virus. Those local businesses allowed to operate during the crisis have changed protocols in order to minimize the risk of transmission.
Police also have changed the way they work. Krolikowski announced last week that while officers will continue to respond to emergency calls—such as for medical emergencies or crimes-in-progress—they’re now required to limit contact with the public for safety’s sake. Incidents that can be investigated via phone, email or video chat will be handled that way until further notice, the chief said, while access to NCPD headquarters is restricted, the Records Department is closed and fingerprinting is suspended. In reviewing department spending with the Commission, the chief noted that “except for the COVID expenses, our costs will be in budget but my expectation is that over the next several months we will be spending more than normal because of the COVID-19 and that’s going to drive our budget up.”
“I think everybody expects that to happen,” he said.
Police at 9 p.m. Friday arrested a 63-year-old New Canaan man and charged him with second-degree breach of peace.
At about 8:31 p.m. on Feb. 7 officers took a complaint of a domestic dispute at 18 Forest St., according to a police report. The address is the location of New Canaan Diner. Following an investigation, the Smith Ridge Road man was arrested on the misdemeanor charge.
It isn’t clear who was involved in the dispute, how he or she is related to the arrested man, what caused it, whether it turned physical or who reported it. Police withheld details, saying only that it’s a domestic matter.