Getting outside in the nicer weather despite the pandemic was one of the main topics of discussion at the May 6 Darien Police Commission meeting.

Darien beaches have recently been reopened to vehicles. The Parks and Recreation Department has posted “very reasonable rules for park use and social distancing,” Police Chief Don Anderson said at the meeting, which was held at Town Hall.

The meeting was physically attended by Anderson and Commissioner Kim Huffard. All other members participated remotely.

Reopened beaches

“We’re expecting people to follow the rules and enjoy the beaches within reasonable limits as we roll it out to see how it goes,” Anderson said. “The parks and rec department has been working very hard to hire on additional security staff.”

“We are looking for folks to take reasonable steps to keep themselves and others safe,” he continued.

The beaches are open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. until further notice.

For the next few weeks, police will deploy officers to the beach.

“We will reassess as we go forward what our presence at the beach might need to be,” Anderson said.

“There’s so many more people out walking in the neighborhood because they need something to do,” Anderson said.

Police recommend residents take extra care when driving through neighborhoods, especially in the beach areas.

Huffard reminded residents to walk against traffic but bike with traffic.

Marine division coverage

Police are considering adding additional coverage of the marine division out on the water.

“Normally, we would start the weekend of May 16, and continue with weekends only through the middle of June,” Police Capt. Jeremiah Marron said. “We may be looking at more of a full-time status a little bit earlier just because of the nature of what’s going in, due to the pandemic.”

“There’s probably going to be a boating season that will start prematurely,” he added.

Having school resource officers deployed back into patrol will allow them to deploy the marine division on a more regular basis, according to police.

Patrol update

Since April 6, patrol officers have logged almost 900 criminal prevention activity entries, including patrolling parks, beach areas, school grounds, and other areas of town, to prevent criminal activity from taking place.

These preventative patrols are occurring at a rate of almost 30 times per day, Anderson said.

COVID-19-free environment

To date, the police department has maintained a COVID-19 free environment.

There are no positive employees with COVID-19, including civilians and sworn officers.

Car burglaries

Since April 17, there has been 10 burglaries of unlocked cars. There has been five stolen cars, four of which were unlocked and the keys were inside. One was unlocked, but the owner maintains that the keys were not in the vehicle.

Tattoo request

The Darien Police Commission unanimously approved police to have visible tattoos on a one-year trail basis, with an annual review thereafter.

“Tattoos will be at the discretion of the chief of police and the police commission to determine what is appropriate and what is not,” Anderson said.

The order doesn’t allow for tattoos that would be in any way offensive or derogatory, or on the hands, face or neck.

Funding for toy cars

The Police Commission unanimously approved $2,400 to buy 1,000 of stress police toy cars that they give out at their events.

The funds for the toys will be taken out of the false alarm account fund.

Police have to buy them at 1,000 at a time, according to Anderson. One thousand of these small squishy police cars with the Darien police logo costs $2,391.

The cars last many years, according to Anderson.

Both the Memorial Day parade and fireworks have been canceled.

The next Darien Police Commission meeting will be May 27 at 4 p.m.

Watch the Darien Police Commission meeting on Darien TV/79.

sfox@darientimes.com