Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Public Safety Commission Meeting

Several interesting topics were covered in last night's Public Safety Meeting, from gun noise pollution to carnivals...

 The meeting opened up with a call for support from the coordinator of the Carnival cultural festival that is set to take place the weekend of August 17th-19th. Carnival (with the start of the Carnival season known as Dimanche Gras (Big Sunday)), is a loud, vibrant celebration of color that most famously takes place in such places as Trinidad and Tobago, but has had a large following in the Hartford area for the past 15 years or so as well. So far the celebration/parade, which would take place downtown, are still in the preliminary planning stages, and they were presented before the council in hopes of getting police assistance in coordinating road blocks, safety, etc. The council was more than enthused with the prospect of bringing such a large event to Middletown, and expressed optimism that with more planning the festival will be launched in a safe and organized manner; the Police Chief was also eager to provide support for this event.
Just one of the many elaborate costumes from Carnival in Trinidad
The Police Chief than listed several successes and matters of correspondence (for a detailed list, please see the Council minutes here) as well as touched on old matters such as the finalization of installation for the new MDT systems, and the continuation of training for all officers in how to use the new system. He was very satisfied with the new system and was confident that training was going well.

An interesting point of contention at last night's meeting was the issue of identification badges and writing up an accompanying set of regulations for the use of said badges. The argument for official badges is that it gives members of the council a proof of identity; which would be particularly helpful for members of Planning and Zoning/In-lands and Wetlands, and which could also be used as possible parking passes/building entry passes. The council agreed that if such badges are in use regularly, there is a definite need for a written policy to prevent abuse or misrepresentation through the badges.

Councilman Serra brought up yet again the noise pollution caused by the Middletown Police and SWAT team gun-training areas has been worsening in recent months to the point of becoming unbearable, and the strong suggestion of a neighborhood informational meeting was accepted.

Concern was also raised for the intersection of S. Main and Highland; in the past 5 years there has been 36 accidents at that intersection, at least one of which proved fatal. Councilwoman Kleckowski reaffirmed worries that that intersection needs a stop light, and it was learned that the state is in the process of evaluating that intersection for a possible installation of a streetlight. The council agreed that one was very much needed, and hoped that the DOT will install one soon.

Finally, the council expressed future optimism for the work done by Middletown's Emergency Management team to further strengthen preventative measures in the case of future severe storms such as Hurricane Irene and the October snow storm. They are working on creating short-term, medium-term, and long-term goals for emergency management and response, and briefly discussed the upcoming state-wide preparedness drill. The council also expressed frustration at an incident that occurred last fall, in which an anonymous individual falsely accused the council of not supporting Emergency Management. While the mayor did an admirable job of damage control, the council felt that they were owed a written apology from this individual.


Anonymous said...

thank you for this report! what is MDT systems? I checkd the meeting minutes but cannot figure out what this is. And i had no idea that Carnival was coming to Middletown. more info please! who is sponsoring that and where ? if anyone knows please enlighten us. thanks again for covering this.

Anonymous said...

MDT- mobile data terminal

Anonymous said...

MDT (mobile data terminal) I had to go to March minutes to find.

This was also in the minutes related to the MTDs: "Bill Oliver feels IT department is understaffed. IT department is spread thin at this time. IT department needs to consist of at least 8-13 people in order to be staffed adequately."

Can you imagine anyone in the private sector going to their boss and saying "I need at least 8-13 people in order to be adequately staffed." Assuming a 40 hr week, that's a difference of 200 hours per week. Any IT director who can't put a sharper pencil to that estimate needs to be replaced.

Anonymous said...

MDT systems (I believe) stands for mobile data terminals (I believe), and are used for dispatches and communication between vehicles/home bases. It's quicker and more efficient than the old system for getting officers to where they need to be more quickly. It's been a long time installing them but they are in the last stages now I believe (contact the Police Chief for official word, this is just what I know as a non-tech savvy person!) And yes, I believe the Carnival is going to be in Middletown; they are still in the planning stages and I have no idea who is involved in sponsoring it yet, but as soon as I get more information I will of course let everyone know.

Anonymous said...

What happened to radios? Also, when's the last time you've seen a police officer not on a cell phone? Have they replaced radios? If so, will cell phones still be used instead of the MDTs? If cell phones have not replaced department communications methods, why are they making personal calls and using a cell phone while driving without handsfree device?

Anonymous said...

Funny you should mentions that. I was on Laurel Grove Rd today and the cop who was supposed to be directing traffic was leaning against a vehicle and texting, oblivious to the traffic waiting for his direction.