Police Commission Approves Sunday Morning Partial Closure of Park Street for Church Services

Town officials voted last week in favor of closing the street in front of the Congregational Church of New Canaan for 90 minutes on Sunday mornings so that the faith community may gather and worship outside while maintaining social distancing. 

The Police Commission voted 3-0 in favor of the measure, which will apply to the short one-way stretch of Park Street atop God’s Acre from 8:30 to 10 a.m. Sundays. Deputy Chief John DiFederico, who received and presented the church’s request to the Commission, called it a “very reasonable request.”

“Most other churches in town have their own property and have the ability to expand outdoors into parking lots and what not, but the Congregational Church does not have that luxury,” DiFederico said during the Commission’s May 20 meeting, held via videoconference. “It is very easy to detour around,” he said. “It is not a state road or anything like that, so it would not be too difficult for us to manage. I don’t even know if we would need to station an officer out at that intersection.


New Canaan Sees Sharp Increase in Thefts from Motor Vehicles

New Canaan has seen a dramatic increase in thefts from motor vehicles through the first four months of 2020, officials said last week. The larcenies increased from two in 2019 to 17 this year, according to Police Chief Leon Krolikowski. “People are just not locking their cars and [they are] leaving their keys in cars that are getting stolen,” Krolikowski said during a May 20 meeting of the Police Commission, held via videoconference. 

“We did have a window broken on a vehicle and a lot of items stolen in it. I suspect because the thieves came in and saw so many valuable items in the car that they decided to break the window and take everything. But that is not the norm.

Two New Canaan Police Officers Promoted 

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.

Officials: New Canaan’s Shekaiba Bennett Set To Become First-Ever Woman To Serve on Police Commission

The Board of Selectmen are scheduled to vote Tuesday on the appointment of the first-ever woman to the New Canaan Police Commission. Shekaiba Bennett is a 16-year resident of the town who has served on the Historic District Commission, Democratic Town Committee, board of the Interfaith Council and New Canaan Library Art and Stoddard Art Committees and is co- chair of the United Nations Committee of New Canaan. Nominated to the selectmen through the DTC, Bennett said she was “deeply honored that I am given this opportunity to serve this town that I love.”

Asked why she pursued a nomination to the Police Commission specifically, she said, “I feel like it’s one of the commissions where you learn a lot about the town and what is going on. My history in the past 16 yrs of being in this town has always been getting involved in things that I can getter understand how the town operates, and I feel like this Commission is one of those that I, as a citizen of this town, can give back to the community.”

A professional documentary photographer and art educator who works as photography teacher at Greenwich High School, she also will be the first woman to serve on the three-member appointed body, officials say. Her nomination comes about 18 months after lifelong New Canaanite Beth Jones became the first woman appointed to the Fire Commission.