Darien Police Commission discusses mailbox security, Marine storage space

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The Darien Police Department at 25 Hecker Avenue in Darien, Conn on Tuesday, September 3, 2013.

The Darien Police Department at 25 Hecker Avenue in Darien, Conn on Tuesday, September 3, 2013.

Brian A. Pounds / Brian A. Pounds

Mailbox security in town was one topic spoken of at length at the Feb. 12 Darien Police Commission meeting.

Commissioner Kim Huffard cautioned residents against putting checks in their mailbox and putting the little red flag up.

“It’s an advertisement for somebody to come take a check,” Huffard said. “If you have anything important, take it to the post office, put it in the safe box, or go inside.”

Darien Police Chief Don Anderson said those tampering with mail in a homeowner’s mailbox are charged with a state crime of larceny. It can be forgery as well, depending upon what the tamperer does with the check, he added.

“This is a difficult issue, for particularly seniors that have not yet adapted to paying their bills online,” First Selectman Jayme Stevenson said.

Police are looking into giving an information program to seniors at the Mather Center to help educate them on how to protect themselves.

Office storage space at Pear Tree Point Beach

This pertains to the Marine Division’s request for office storage space at Pear Tree Point Beach, if the proposed renovations take place.

The Police Commission has researched neighboring towns to see if their Marine Divisions have long-standing water front office space, which they do, according to Anderson.

The commission decided to discuss this topic further at their next meeting.

Noroton Avenue traffic concerns

Regarding the recent complaints by Darien parents about Noroton Avenue corridor traffic safety, the Police Commission is working very closely with Darien School Superintendent Alan Addley.

Anderson spoke about the current busing concern in town that involves the Board of Education’s transportation policy. The board’s policy says students who live within a two mile radius of the school they attend are not eligible to take a school bus.

Anderson said the busing issue is a Board of Education issue.

At last month’s Board of Education meeting, many parents voiced concerns about Noroton Avenue being very busy and difficult to cross.

“There are sidewalks on Noroton Avenue. There are crosswalks. There are traffic signals. There are pedestrian push buttons. There is pedestrian signage,” Anderson said.

He added that he doesn’t “have any identifiable known defect or known issue on Noroton Avenue that I would say this is unsafe.”

“If I did have such a concern, we would be out there fixing it,” he said.

However, Anderson did acknowledge that Noroton Avenue isn’t “ideal” for walking.

“There’s traffic, congestion, there’s I-95 entrance ramps. There’s the Metro-North train station, there’s gas stations. There’s other commercial establishments there,” he said, adding, though, that there’s nothing there that he can identify as “a clear and present danger.”

Regarding crossing guards, Anderson said in his 36 years in the police department, a crossing guard has never been added.

“We’ve contracted some spots,” he said.

Police are specifically looking at the corner of Noroton and West.

“We are continuing to monitor to see if a crossing guard would be warranted there,” Anderson said.

In Darien, crossing guards are run through the police department under the police department budget, according to Anderson. “But we would work with the Board of Ed to see if a crossing guard would be warranted at this spot.”

To monitor school-age children traffic, police are doing counts for school children under different days, different times, and different weather conditions.

Locations of the eight crossing guards in town:

 West and Hollow Tree

 Hollow Tree and Middlesex

 Mansfield and McLaren

 Mansfield and Royle

 Middlesex and Hoyt

 Old Farm and Tokeneke

 Noroton and Clock

 Post and Nearwater

The intersection of Noroton and West is getting expansive signalization upgrades, according to Anderson.

HVAC update

Darien police have had continuing and ongoing issues with its HVAC system for many years.

They have worked very closely with the Department of Public Works (DPW) to develop plans to get the system working properly.

“We can’t go through another summer of major malfunctions of HVAC equipment where portions of the building become largely unusable,” Anderson said.

He continued, “We have identified a plan to move forward. We are going to be presenting a fairly sizable request to the boards for a new condensing unit for the roof and a new building management software program.”

The commission is looking to maintain “a reasonable temperature here year-round,” Anderson added.

Stevenson said the Board of Selectmen approved a transfer of $10,000 to cover a portion of the costs of this project.

Sidewalk Sales

The Police Commission approved the request by the Darien Chamber of Commerce to have their yearly Sidewalk Sales and closing Bay Street on Saturday, July 11.

Watch the full Police Commission meeting on Darien TV79.