WESTON, Conn. – With all of its police officers living out of town, Weston relies on surrounding areas for assistance. And that has been improved with its new radio system – Project 25 – which allows Weston's officers to communicate directly with other departments through the radio. Previously, an officer had to call a dispatch center, which would then radio the officer.
Per union contract, all Weston officers must live within a 30-mile radius of town. Through a mutual aid compact agreement Weston has with other towns, in the event of an emergency, surrounding departments can be called to help. And Weston helps other towns when needed.
"Say there's a bank robbery and we only have two officers working – we would ask possibly Wilton to respond as well to assist us," said Police Chief John Troxell. "In Georgetown, if there's an altercation at a bar, our officers have been dispatched there to assist in containing the fight."
Troxell said the town doesn't call on other departments very often. Recently, Weston was asked to assist Wilton with an endangered person believed to be suicidal who left his or her house on foot. Troxell said Weston's squad and an officer assisted in searching the area.
"I really feel that we saved a life because of that," said Troxell. "We were able to respond quickly and get into the woods and locate the person before they hurt themselves."
Project 25 was an effort by the government and the Federal Communications Commission to come up with a standardized format and is based on digital communication, not analog, which is more efficient, said Sgt. Pat Daubert.
With the mutual aid compact, there are no problems with officers living out of town, Troxell said. But Daubert said each of the sergeants and officers are specifically trained in certain departments, which can make a process more difficult if that person is not available.
"Officer Brodacki manages and oversees the computer network. I'm also trained in that area – if the servers go down, I know enough so we can get our secondary systems up and running," said Daubert.
But the police department is "stretched" in administration and investigation duties, said Daubert. "We don't have the manpower," he said. Troxell said the department is "still able to respond properly," but line-of-duty injuries in the past couple of years that have decreased the number of active officers.
In the past, the police department has had two patrol officers and one sergeant on duty for both the day and night shifts. For the past few years, there has been only one patrol officer and one sergeant, said Daubert.
"We have a good bunch working very hard. We try to make sure they have the proper equipment and training, and the proper amount of down time," said Troxell.
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