Police Chief John Troxell, in his address to Weston residents at a recent Democratic Town Committee-sponsored presentation on school and town security, told the audience that Weston is indeed ahead of the curve when compared to most towns in the area with regard to school and town safety.
“We’re improving on what we already had in place [prior to the Sandy Hook tragedy],” Chief Troxell said.
According to the chief, since the Columbine (Colo.) shootings, the Police Department has been proactive in its stance on ensuring that its force is prepared for any threat to residents’ safety that may come its way.
The department goes above and beyond the minimum number of hours of ongoing training required in both target shooting/range training and “scenario” training.
They have been trained in lockdown procedures and home invasion intervention as well as a range of other emergencies.
One example Chief Troxell gave of the Police Department’s proactive stance is that Weston would not wait for a SWAT team to arrive if needed. As was the case at the time of the Columbine shootings, police departments waited for SWAT teams to intervene.
“We learned from that experience. We are trained not to wait for a SWAT team to arrive; we go in with the focus on eliminating the threat,” Chief Troxell said.
Thoughtful hiring, quality ongoing training and proper equipment are what separates a quality police force like Weston’s from others, according to Chief Troxell.
Another point of pride Chief Troxell has is the highly regarded (computer) forensics lab headed by two technologically savvy police officers.
“Many towns, including Stamford, Bridgeport and Norwalk, look to our forensics team for assistance,” Chief Troxell said.
Chief Troxell specifically talked of the school campus’s Mile of Safety, which is no longer “just a traffic safety issue,” the hiring of a school resource officer for the 2013-14 school year, and the high quality of the school security staff on the school campus.
Chief Troxell also highlighted the excellent collaborative relationship the department has with the Board of Education and school administration.
“We all work very well together to ensure that our school campus and town will continue to be a safe place in which to live,” Chief Troxell said.
When asked her opinion of not only the turnout for Chief Troxell’s address but also the address itself, DTC Chairman Barbara Reynolds said, “The DTC welcomed the opportunity to sponsor an address on town and school campus safety and was pleased to find community members representing parents, senior citizens and those in between attending Chief Troxell’s presentation. It was informative and gave us a firsthand look into how our town prepares for any and all emergency safety issues that might arise.”