Norwalk Schools Overhaul Emergency Plan

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Norwalk Mayor Richard Moccia (center) discusses the planned review and updates of all security plans at Norwalk's public schools.
Norwalk Mayor Richard Moccia (center) discusses the planned review and updates of all security plans at Norwalk's public schools. Photo Credit: Casey Donahue

NORWALK, Conn. – Norwalk officials are beginning a top-to-bottom review of security measures at all Norwalk schools and will be identifying short-term and long-term changes that can be made.

Police have already increased the random patrols that they conduct at schools and will likely continue that through the end of the year, Police Chief Thomas Kulhawik said at a press conference Wednesday with Mayor Richard Moccia, Fire Chief Denis McCarthy and school officials.  Police will  assess each school’s security measures and suggest improvements, as well as conduct drills with teachers and emergency responders.

School officials will meet twice a month with members of the city’s Emergency Management Office to outline specific goals for an updated emergency plan that can be put in place in case of an event like last month’s shooting in Newtown, McCarthy said.

“There is an emergency plan right now and until we make changes that will be our plan for events that require the activation of the schools’ crisis teams or the city’s emergency team,” McCarthy said. The last time the emergency plan went through an overhaul was in 2001, though McCarthy said his office has routinely worked with the superintendent’s office to make changes to it over the years.

Moccia said that the proposed Board of Education budget for next year includes $100,000 for updates to security. If there are any improvements that are identified before that budget cycle begins in July, they will be made and reimbursed later.

“We’re not going to put a price or timetable on kids’ safety. If something is immediately identifiable and it’s fixable, we’ll fix it,” he said.

Moccia said the city would not likely be able to place a police officer in each of the schools without receiving money from the state or federal government. There is a school resource officer in each of the three high schools, as well as an officer who teaches D.A.R.E. and moves throughout the school system, Kulhawik said. There are talks with the Board of Education of increasing the D.A.R.E. program.

The updated emergency plan will likely take a few months to complete and will not only include plans for violent emergencies like a school shooter, but also for natural disasters like hurricanes or tornados.

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Comments (17)

When was the last time the Mayor pushed a matching grant from the feds on officers?

Every other city in Ct has,showing if Norwalk wanted to get as in Bridgeport millions in grants for police we as a city would of had to spend some money,instead our grants are hanging on walls or sitting in and around departments of the city looking great once a year in parades,

Why if Norwalk DPW has the equipment to trim trees did the city or was it the Parking dept which now has reach into things beyond its expertise hire a compnay from NY to work washington street for three days with four trucks after the tourism season when Linda opened her office on Washinton st?

Took two police officers three days 8 a day to do the work,again it was contract money we as city paid so they could hire our officers?

The more examples of this money shell game shows how city hall in its wisdom may not be able to manage our money on such jobs anymore.

Why havn't we heard anything about new cruisers we are over due and this is one thing Norwalk needs to ensure our officers have.

Tim T: Please don't speak for the majority of Norwalk in saying we have 'all lost faith in the Norwalk PD'. I know loads of people who respect the work they do, which is by no means easy. Handling the issues in a town like Norwalk is no easy feat and the PD needs our support. If you think you can do such a good job, why don't you join the Norwalk PD and show them how to do it? I have read your posts time and time and time and time again and really all you do is spew negativity and claim 'they are not solving crime and not doing their job', etc. Are you out there in the community trying to repair things and make things better? You have an opportunity to be a positive influence, I'm sure, yet you devote sooooooooo much time and energy to posting negative after negative after negative after negative posts. Is this really the mark you want to make on society, given the opportunity?

I would suggest that you take your own advise as for not speaking for the majority of Norwalk.. I know loads of people that look at the NPD as failures and lazy and just in it for the big bucks. I always find it comical when some blow hard says "If you think you can do such a good job, why don't you join the Norwalk PD "...Let me ask you would you say the same thing to someone complaining about an auto mechanic that can never seem to fix the car correctly ..Hey if you don't like it why don't you become an auto mechanic..See just how stupid that sounds. Also as a taxpayer it is not my job to take a job with the failed NPD. It is my job top pay my taxes and demand that they do their job...much like the auto mechanic. Also get off your soap box about how hard of a job the cops have as its simply not true and this is the job that they chose and if they cant handle it they can always quit.

Has city hall kool aid been passed out?

Most of us in the city are now convinced leaving solutions in the hands of some of those who create problems and and make uniformed decisions is a bad route for the city to go.

Watch those council meetings we are now seeing the fights now are brought to the council.

Involved in the city,stepping up to the plate and supoporting those who never have had a voice is now the norm and its not very comfortable for those who have had a death hold on Norwalks politics.

Seems the Democrats have instilled the need for those who have seen nothing but garbage come out of the planned votes.People are now stopping the process by asking questions uts not siting well is it?

Mark on society?Norwalks quality of life has left the room and people are now using what tools they have.To be insulted by our Mayor is now a badge of honor you think that is the way we all want Norwalk to be listed in History?

The police needs our support,you really think no one has tried and been dismissed as trouble maker?

Trying to repair things tells us you also realize the city is in trouble,what 1 single thing have you done to change the insane grant purchases,stop the work done by non professionals because they work for the Parking auth insure every citizen when they call for help the same level of concern care and equipment is given as other places.

Its a given the media including The Hour has reported this last week shooting at SCHOOL defying Dicks and Toms account it was near a school.The downplay of major issues is called working the crowd yet Tim and many others are not playing into what the crowd is told,

You honestly think the damage that has been done to Norwalk by dept heads is going away if we all go to one of your metings it now makes it worse we all go with questions and come home with even more without the first ones addressed.

We need more police if not for the schools for the city what part of that is not sinking in its a problem.The council members who have jumped ship they won't be back the ones who think the Inn is on the city seal are in for a surprise as well.

Norwalk needs leadership playing the crowd or working the crowd now is ineffective our residents don't speak Republican they speak many languages and now those are now heard on the council floor we are all seeing some displeasure among the chosen few.

I don't agree with how some attack without facts but it amuzing to see what is said to discourage what most of us feel with the facts.In other words find some facts and correct the delvery is more in line than ask if Tim is a connected.

Read the news it we are seeing better facts telling us things are bought and sold and no one is privy untill the ink drys.

How much money did Norwalk make today how much did they lose and how much was spent foolishly and then ask yourself who is running the city?

Pricetag on security price tag on solutions and the price tag on things we don't need as a city doesn't seem to matter when talking about wht the Mayor is going to do next until after its done,

Time for a manager time for a open book at city hall and more important less time at the INN.

As a teacher I am happy to see something is being done about safety, I must however point out that the children will be incredibly safe but will still be missing the technologies, teachers, library aides, books and other supplies that they need to get an education.

Exactly why do you think they will be safer?
As a parent I find it very disturbing that my two children are in a place where they are basically unprotected every day and have seen or heard nothing that makes me believe its any different now than a month ago.
If we cant place an officer in every school (a thing not known to prevent mass shootings anyway) We should be seriously considering what exactly the result of our gun free school law has been. Its a CT issue as the federal law has an exception for permit holders. Every single one of these tragedies has been in a gun free school. Its almost like complaining about mosquitoes after banning bug spray.

"Moccia said the city would not likely be able to place a police officer in each of the schools without receiving money from the state or federal government".

Especially at time and a half..Maybe its time that the next police union contract does something about the ridiculous overtime clause. This contract seems to provide for more reasons for overtime than straight time..However I am sure that Moccia will not be the one to renegotiate a contract with the NPD as the old boys club would not have it.

It would be good to know why you are so angry about Norwalk police, but it would be unkind to speculate. You seem to think they don't do anything right, but the facts do not support that opinion. Could they do better ? Probably, with more support and better technology, but they do pretty well right now.
The ridiculous overtime clause is based on state law requiring time and a half for overtime and is not just something the Norwalk Police get. There is a lot of overtime work available for Norwalk officers because the policy has been to leave a number of slots unfilled and cover some of those jobs with officers working an extra shift. City accountants have figured that is cheaper than filling all the authorized positions when the training and benefits are calculated. It has been that way for years. Only a small number of officers volunteer for all the overtime they can get and earn a lot of money.

one thing is a fact dirt jobs or private details fall within shift change when school is getting out is when cars are fueled and roll call is taken how hard is it to modify the shifts? I bet its impossible between unions and contractors the very ones who run the dept.

Old Timer
I am not angry, I am disgusted with the failure of the current NPD as many in Norwalk are. I and many in Norwalk see them as lazy and only in it for the bucks. As far as them not doing anything right the facts unfortunately do support that and so do the shootings, stabbings, gangs, drug dealing, burglaries, armed robberies and killings in Norwalk the majority unsolved. KEY WORD UNSOLVED...
We also could go into the many officers that have been arrested themselves and for some strange reason are back at work...We also could go into the many officers that violated major department policies which should have resulted in termination and for some strange reason are back at work
As far as overtime the union as far as I am concerned is holding the taxpayer hostage as in other towns, cities and Moccia urban centers they have traffic agents and auxiliaries that watch the hole at much less than 65 per hour without a city car and city gas. Also you say a small number of officers volunteer for all the overtime , I guess you didn't see the top paid city employee list as majority of them are cops.
I however do agrees with many of your posts expect when it comes to the police and with your background I do understand why you refuse to see what a failure the current NPD is.. NOTICE THE WORD CURRENT AS I DO BELIEVE IN THE PAST THEY WERE A FINE DEPARTMENT.

Do you have any data supporting the accusation that the Norwalk PD solves any less crimes than other cities?

I tend to agree on the overtime thing. I see no reason why we need 2 or more officers, each with a cruser running all day, on a road job. Other towns use traffic services at a fraction of the cost, some let the off duty cops use their own cars. Many will say the taxpayers dont pay for it but we do, just not directly, but you can rest assured that the utilities & contractors dont just absorb the expense, its passed on in higher rates ect.

It was reported last year the case load was 120 more each day how can that be right? We have less officers and less vehicles but more work.

The cops you see at construction sites are not dictated by the union nor the police dept. It is the construction company's insurance companies that ask for police officers, if possible. There are alternatives and some construction jobs are covered by laborers with flags or signs. Believe it or not, the savings is not all that much and motorists respond better to police officers who have the obvious ability to go after them (police car) if they fail to stop or proceed recklessly through a construction area. The construction companys generally feel much safer with police officers at the site.
If you look at the FBI reports, published annually, Norwalk police do pretty well and crime rates have gone down. Unfortunately, there is still too much of certain kinds of crime, but the police are working on that and making progress.

Old Timer
FBI reports are not worth the paper they are printed on. I think that you would agrees that John Jay is the premiere CJ university ..Here is just a small part of the article where an FBI agent as much as says this.

When asked how confident the agency is in its stats, given recent controversies, FBI spokesman Stephen Fischer wrote in an emailed statement that the agency "relies on the integrity of reporting agencies to report crime in accordance with FBI UCR policies." "Given the fact participation in UCR is on a voluntary basis, no sanction can be applied for noncompliance," he added.

what is a reliable source is the bodies that have been shot up, killed or stabbed which seem to be almost daily in Norwalk.

its been said the shift change is out prevents officers working dirt jobs before or after their shift on contractors time

Does a officer get more to replace a crossing gaurd is another big question

The crossing guard question is a good question

If Moccia and the NPD are the ones doing the planning I have no faith in it..Moccia has proven time and again not be an ineffective leader ...Also most in Norwalk have lost confidence on the NPD to prevent or solve crime.