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New Greenwich Police Chief Makes Big Plans

GREENWICH, Conn. — Chief James Heavey has led the police department for fewer than 100 days, but he’s hoping to add more intelligence-led policies and hire more officers to be at full capacity over the next year.

“The big thing is trying to get the right people in the right positions,” said Heavey. “We are already a very effective community-policing department. The next piece of that is we’re going to be intelligence-led community policing.”

Community impact officers will analyze work in their area of town to “work smarter” as they “work harder” to solve and prevent crime. Heavey said he also would like community impact officers to integrate with patrol officers who are in their sections of town 24/7.

“We have to get them to work as a team to empower them to do more community policing,” said Heavey. “It’s hard because you’re sometimes a slave to the radio, because you’re still responding to 65,000 calls a year.”

In 2011, crime did not increase in town, Heavey said, although there may be a statistical increase based on improved reporting. “Chief [David] Ridberg warned me on numerous occasions back when I was a captain to never take credit for when the crime goes down because then you have to take credit when it goes up.”

A continuing problem across town, however, is larcenies from motor vehicles. Heavey says residents need to lock their cars every time to avoid these crimes of opportunity.

“Criminals are mostly ‘commuter criminals,’ so we have to have a stronger motor vehicle enforcement, since most criminals are driving to ‘work,’” said Heavey. “One goes with the other: If we do strong traffic enforcement, our residents are going to be safer, and the bad guys will say, ‘I’m not going to Greenwich.’”

For now, Heavey says he will continue to have his hand in choosing the right officers to fill current and future openings from anticipated retirements. At full strength, the department would have 155 officers. But for now, 143 spots are filled.

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