NORWALK, Conn. -- The Norwalk Police Department received a $41,000 federal grant that will be used for practices such as increasing police visibility and better enforcing traffic laws.
U.S. Rep. Jim Himes (D-4th District) announced the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant along with Norwalk Police Chief Thomas Kulhawik and Mayor Harry Rilling on Thursday morning. Himes said people often talk about how Connecticut is an expensive place to live, and wonder whether tax dollars that go to Washington ever come back to the community.
"This is one example of how they come back to help keep our streets safer, to help alleviate tax burden on local municipalities," Himes said.
"What we're going to focus on this year is overtime predominantly, which is to get additional officers out on the street in areas where they're needed and this will continue our goal of continuing to reduce violent crime," Kulhawik said.
The grant allows the department to be flexible with how it uses the money, and that it will be spread around different areas of the city, he said. Among the focuses will be distracted driving and other traffic enforcement, as well as walking patrols in high-traffic areas.
Kulhawik also spoke about the shooting Wednesday afternoon in South Norwalk, where police said an unidentified man shot at a group of two or three other men at the corner of North Main Street and Ann Street.
"We have to keep things in perspective, and over the past five years violent crime has dropped dramatically in the city," he said. "And so far this year our violent crime has also continued to drop, and we want to see that continue.
"These funds will help us get additional resources in the areas where they're needed, when they're needed and give us the flexibility to really continue our mission to not only reduce it but eliminate it," Kulhawik said.
Rilling also mentioned the daytime shooting.
"It's an isolated incident. That doesn't make it any less of a concern, and we want to make sure we minimize the opportunity for that to happen, and these grant funds will be used to put officers on the street where it's been identified that there may be some problem areas," said Rilling.
"If you look at what's happened in Norwalk over the past four or five years, you will see that there's been a significant reduction in these kind of incidents."