2022 – A Year in Review

Over the course of 2022, the Fairfield Police Department:
  • Responded to over 47,000 calls for service
  • Provided a combined total of almost 12,000 hours of training to its sworn officers.

Additionally, we continue with unprecedented efforts, to recruit, hire, and train new officers. In last year’s budget, two police officers were added to the department.  After a number of retirements, 13 new officers were hired and sworn in!  This was the most new hires in a single year in two decades; even more than the eleven (11) new officers that were hired in 2021! These new officers bring the Fairfield Police Department’s total to 109 sworn personnel (out of 110 budgeted).  Additionally, 13 officers were promoted into new roles in the department!

Recruit Officers attended the State of Connecticut Police Academy in Meriden as well as satellite academies in both Bridgeport and Waterbury.

In the coming year, the Fairfield Police Department will continue in its efforts to recruit and hire qualified candidates to not only fill its final opening, but to replace officers lost through normal attrition.

Accreditation

The Police Department has made immense progress toward becoming a POSTC Tier-1 Accredited Agency and are on target to meet the POSTC Tier 1 Accreditation deadline of 12/31/23. This Process involves meeting one hundred and twenty three (123) individual standards, which are further broken down into over 450 sub-sections. The process of becoming accredited involves modifications to policy, equipment, training, and practices that demonstrate the high level of service we are capable of offering the community of Fairfield.  While POSTC Tier 1 Accreditation is the current primary goal for 2023, we are also progressing towards satisfying the several hundred additional Standards required for Tiers 2 and 3 in the coming years.

Radio & Communications Upgrades

The Town of Fairfield applied for and received a 3.5 Million Dollar Federal radio upgrade grant and requested a proposal to replace the existing Police and Fire conventional radio system which was outdated and failing.  Motorola Solutions and Norcom were awarded the contract and provided a solution to join the Connecticut Land Mobile Radio Network (CLMRN) which will allow for interoperability amongst neighboring towns for enhanced coverage and communication.

This project will drastically enhance emergency radio coverage for the Police and Fire Departments which is expected to be completed in the upcoming year. This radio system upgrade will improve in-building coverage within the Town of Fairfield, will provide increased user capacity and interagency interoperability and eliminate recurring costs related to the existing conventional radio system.

Police Officers and Firefighters will receive upgraded and new mobile and portable radios which will allow for uninterrupted transmissions significantly improving all emergency communications. We are very excited for this opportunity and thank all of those who assisted with making this project come to fruition.

K9:

It is with a heavy heart that the Police Department bid farewell to their beloved K9 Ruger this past November. Ruger and his partner, Officer Kevin Wells, were a dedicated team who served the town proudly for 5 years together. The Police Department would like to welcome its newest crime fighting partner, K9 Bolt, to its ranks. Bolt is a 14 month old German Shepherd Certified in Narcotics Detection and Patrol Functions such as building searches, tracking and suspect apprehension.  K9 Bolt will be teamed up with Officer Nick Ardizzone.

ECC:

On March 1, 2022, the Fairfield County Regional Dispatch Center located on the Main Campus of Sacred Heart University opened its doors.  This new state of the art facility at Sacred Heart University will be a regional dispatch center, bringing together the dispatch services of Police, Fire, and EMS of both the Towns of Fairfield and Westport, as well as the dispatch services of the New Canaan Fire Department.  The Town of Westport plans on joining the regional dispatch center in March 2023.

LCSW:

As a means to remain progressive in mental health services, the Fairfield Police Department implemented and engaged in a variety of programs in 2022. In February of 2022, the Fairfield Police Behavioral Health Network (FPBHN) was established. This network is comprised of a variety of local and regional mental health agencies. The purpose of the network is to build awareness of, and familiarity among as many mental health services/partners as possible. The FPBHN meets quarterly and continues to grow its affiliations. All partners in the network have been invaluable resources of information and have provided assistance in number of challenging cases.

In October of 2022, the Fairfield Police Department entered into a research collaborative with the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) Forensics Division. The Research Collaborative is called “SIM” (Sequential Intercept Mapping). The research collaborative is comprised of a variety of local and regional mental health resources that deal primarily with mental health, substance abuse, and homelessness issues experienced by persons traversing the criminal justice systems and following arrest and incarceration. The collaborative examines the pathway from fist contact, to arrest, to adjudication, to reentry into the community, and identifies critical gaps intervention and recovery in services. The collaborative is already in the process of innovating solutions to several gaps.

In December of 2022, the Fairfield Police Department created a position for an embedded Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW).  We welcomed to this new position Jessica Bloomberg, a current LCSW and retired Stamford Police Officer. This position will be invaluable to the community and the Police Department, with the goals of increasing services to the Town of Fairfield, specifically in the areas of mental health and addiction services. The main objective is to increase consumer access to timely mental health and/or addiction intervention, thus providing more complete and thorough responses and resolutions to behavioral health calls for service.

Body Cameras, Virtual Reality & Early Warning

The Fairfield Police Department implemented a variety of new equipment and services as a result of funding received through the American Rescue Plan last year.  Recognizing recent legislative changes related to police accountability and the necessity to evolve as a police agency with regard to transparency and accountability, as well as the need to improve training surrounding empathy and use of force, the Fairfield Police Department contracted with Axon Enterprise, Inc, to provide services which fulfill those needs.  Axon provides our agency with next-generation devices and software, ensuring our officers get home safe while working efficiently to build officer and community confidence.

In March of 2022, the Police Department began the process of issuing new equipment to our officers and training them on its use. This includes a body camera for each sworn officer, an in-vehicle camera for every front line patrol vehicle, new and upgraded electronic control devices (or Tasers), and a variety of signal devices which activate an officer’s body camera upon either the display or use of certain weapon systems.  Additionally, we have implemented programs such as ‘Axon Performance’ which streamline supervisor reviews and measure body-worn camera performance in near real-time, and identify areas to improve training and establish clearer policies.  Axon’s systems further allow us to more efficiently and securely store and share electronic evidence and provide for an easy to use interface for the public to submit digital evidence during a call for service.  Officers have also begun training with Axon’s virtual reality products, which allow officers the ability to immerse themselves into life like simulations and benefit from additional training on empathy, de-escalation and use of force.

The Police Department is currently in the process of integrating with Axon’s ‘Standards’ module, which is designed to streamline internal incident reviews and provide an early warning system for officer use of force and other behaviors.

Fairfield Police Foundation:

The Fairfield Police Foundation CT, Inc. a 501(c)(3) was created and seeks to support the mission and essential functions of the Fairfield Police Department and its personnel. The Foundation’s Board of Directors is comprised of a several Fairfield Residents and Business Owners.  These individuals have dedicated themselves to assisting in funding a variety of initiatives through a number of fundraising activities.

The Foundation’s purpose is to raise and distribute funds to the Fairfield Police Department for a variety of purposes, including, but not limited to, essential equipment, technology and training typically outside the municipal budget, costs associated with officer wellness initiatives, officer recognition programs, and the continued community funding of the Fairfield Police K9 Unit.

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