Police Update

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The Suffield Police Department (SPD) held two swearing-in ceremonies three weeks apart near the end of 2016. Neither was a surprise, but both were happy, well-attended events, generally felt to augur favorably for the department. On November 21, Officer Geoff Miner, whose promotion had actually occurred in September, was sworn in as a sergeant. He had served three years as a patrol officer and had recently received a community policing award from the U. S. Attorney for Connecticut.

And on December 12, Christopher McKee, a veteran policeman most recently a lieutenant in the Windsor Police Department, was sworn in as captain. That position had been vacant since the end of June, when Captain Richard Brown, now the department’s chief, was promoted to deputy chief.

A new patrol officer, Alex Scata, of Farmington, has been hired. Already on payroll, he began training at the Connecticut Police Academy in Meriden at the end of December; the training program takes about 22 weeks. Interviewing and testing is under way to fill two more slots.

One of the department’s focuses in recent months has been traffic safety, and residents have noticed some recent results. The speed tables on South Stone Street and centerline rumble strips on several roads have been reported in recent issues of the Observer. Chief Brown reported in the November Police Commission meeting that Suffield Academy had purchased a radar speed limit sign to be placed on North Main Street. (Such a sign was installed on that street briefly as a trial not long ago.) Officer Mark Sergeant has been working for many months with the State Traffic Commission on the cumbersome project to bring the speed limit signs in town into better agreement with the needed limits. And in general, traffic enforcement in town has been given greater emphasis.

A pop-up check point was held on North Main Street in late November to check seat belts and child safety. On December 14, in response to residents’ complaints about traffic on Main Street, Suffield Police joined a collaborative effort there with State officials. Eleven commercial vehicle operators were fined for safety and regulatory matters, and ten passenger cars were stopped for seatbelts, cell phone use and other violations. Three drivers were arrested, two for lack of registration and one for drugs and drug paraphernalia possession.

Another cooperative effort took place on January 12, this time with State and East Granby officials, on Route 187 near the town line. That resulted in eight commercial drivers fined for safety and regulatory matters and 58 passenger cars stopped for speeding and other violations. One driver was held in custody on an active warrant for failure to appear.

December saw three unscheduled traffic incidents involving two Suffield residents and one non-resident arrested for DUI. A fourth, which began with a collision on the Enfield bridge, involved two non-residents arrested for possession of narcotics and breach of peace.

In happier matters, two Suffield High School students thanked SPD for allowing the Suffield lock-up to be used in their Safe Driver video, a class assignment. Four officers participated in “Shop with a Cop” before Christmas, an annual charitable event in Enfield. Three SPD leaders joined other Emergency Service personnel to serve over 100 seniors their annual Holiday Luncheon at the Senior Center. Three veteran SPD staffers received service pins at the Town employees’ holiday luncheon. And, according to Patch, Officer Robert Dabkowski got over 13,500 Facebook views for his picture removing a fishing lure from the beak of a troubled goose. The goose flew off, unhooked. Just part of the job.

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