Rilling Officially Announces Bid For Norwalk Mayor

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Former Norwalk Police Chief Harry Rilling officially announced his bid for mayor on Sunday to a crowd at the Hilton Garden Inn.
Former Norwalk Police Chief Harry Rilling officially announced his bid for mayor on Sunday to a crowd at the Hilton Garden Inn. Photo Credit: Alissa Smith

NORWALK, Conn. – Former Police Chief Harry Rilling says his goal is to make Norwalk the best it can be, if he wins the mayoral race this year.

“I owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to this town,” Rilling said Sunday after speaking about his life as a Norwalk resident. And now, he said, its time for him to “pay up.”

Rilling formally announced his candidacy Sunday afternoon to a crowd of nearly 150 supporters, all vocalizing their agreement.

"At one point Norwalk was a destination, and it can be again," Rilling said to a round of applause. “It’s our job to work together to make it better.”

Rilling said that if he was elected mayor, he would focus on four main aspects of the city: education, development, crime and government.

Part of his plan is to make sure the Board of Education is fully funded, but not to excess, he said. That means ensuring a reasonable budget to improve the school system through aspects like technology and implementing the Core Curriculum Program in all grades, he said.

Bringing new development to the city is a huge aspect of his plans. He spoke about how the communities surrounding Norwalk were outstripping the city in business development in hopes of increasing the grand list while also decreasing the tax burden on homeowners. “It’s time to get Norwalk moving again,” he said.

Another part, one he called near and dear to his heart, is crime prevention. Rilling spent 41 years in the Norwalk Police Department, 17 years as chief, before he retired last year.

“The Police Department does a wonderful job,” he said, but he added that the department is only one aspect of crime prevention and that it doesn’t do enough with rehabilitation. Which is where, he said, the city really needs to look.

Rilling spoke about giving the city a transparent government with a monthly “Mayor’s Night Out,” in which he and department heads would meet with citizens and business owners, whether the department heads wanted to or not.

“As chief of police I had the responsibility to provide for the public safety of Norwalk. The ultimate provision of public safety and security lies in the hands of the mayor,” Rilling said. “I knew I wanted to serve at the greatest capacity to give back to Norwalk because Norwalk has given so much to me.”

Rilling is the fourth Democrat to enter the race against incumbent Republican Mayor Richard Moccia, who is seeking re-election and so far has no primary opposition for the Nov. 5 general election. The other Democrats, who will face off in a Sept. 10 primary, are District D Democratic Chairman Vinny Mangiacopra; former Town Clerk Andy Garfunkel, who lost to Moccia two years ago; and Common Council member Matt Miklave.

The petition filing deadline for candidates to run for municipal offices is Aug. 7.

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Comments (13)

I don't know how to break the news to you but a crossing guard is not a career in law enforcement

I'm sure most of the men and woman on the Norwalk police department where as many as 5 a day do just that act as crossing gaurds would agree.

Its priceless to lure uninfomed taxpayers out of the knoll.

The posting was to compare what a gaurd gets paid as to what a trained police officer gets.($40.00 or 12.00) saying anything else would just get a point of information that simply makes no sense from the gallery.

Once the city taxpayers truly understand how money is thrown around the city maybe when it comes to a new Mayor they will look back and see who spent money and who ignored that spending.Why make the same mistake each election?

UNIFORMED TAXPAYERS are great posters

Be even better if Harry goes after the fire depts budget he of course knows about the 1 .5 employee who makes a $100,000 a year.Trick question they use that money for other things but calls it a member of the force.Wonder what they do with the fuel bill and how fuel gets to the two fire boats that sit in the water and do nothing.Haryy should be the first to tell you the POLICE dept needs to run the fire boats they have experience and yes guns.

Creative book keeping was one of Harrys best traits maybe now he can help us out with the math,Professer Dick may be in for at least an interesting election after all,hope he gets some rest he looks tired.

Those three new officers Dick wants will they replace the regular officers directiong traffic that would be a good plan in this particular case.

Please understand if your home from school today posting, not all crossings are at directly in front of your school.

Our current Mayor is no savior either but we need to steer as clear of liberal govt as we can. Almost every issue facing us, especially our financial problems, are the result of liberal policy.

Hoo boy. Ken P Jr couldn't possibly live more in a delusional world. He blames liberals for our financial problems. Let's see. We had 14 years of Frank Esposito followed by TWO years of Alex Knopp. That was followed by our current Mayor Moccia. Yep, those damn liberals sure have had a strangle hold over Norwalk for the past 20+ years alright.
I think Buddy's questioning of his stability is overly generous.

That said, Rilling promises his administration will be transparent, accessable, and responsible. It will apparently also be even more in denial than our current mayor. His track record as police chief isn't something he should crow about. He still hasn't acknowledged publicly there's a gang problem in Norwalk. While crime statistics may show a decrease in overall violent crime, the public has seen shootings and violence in parts of town that never had these issues before. No longer simply a matter of avoiding certain parts of town; you can now get shot or robbed just leaving Stop & Shop.
Rilling isn't the answer and it remains to be seen if the dysfunctional Democratic Party leadership can get its act together enough to field a viable candidate that could challenge our current mediocrity. It seems doubtful considering the Republicans at least have a solid organization running their show. Norwalk will continue its downward spiral, yet it will be all sunny smiles at The Norwalk Inn.

Norwalk PD is no joke by the way. I have a career in law enforcement and have first hand knowledge they are well respected. So if you don't know what you're talking about please don't comment. Thanks

On crime I think he was right, without the co operation of the community in Sono theres nothing he can do. The PD is only considered a joke by a few loud mouths with nothing real to offer. Its easy to sit in front of a computer & point fingers.

As far as Rilling goes, I'm not sad he's no longer the chief & wouldnt want him as a mayor. The two positions have virtually nothing in common. My biggest issue with Rilling is that citizens and his service to them came second in my experience with him. Second to what I'm not sure but he wasnt concerned with state statutes requiring a decision on pistol permits within 8 weeks at all. They regularly took up to 16 or more weeks. If he cant ensure that a simple thing like that was done expeditiously when it obviously concerns citizens rights I dont think he takes our rights seriously.
Our current Mayor is no savior either but we need to steer as clear of liberal govt as we can. Almost every issue facing us, especially our financial problems, are the result of liberal policy. Even our Republicans are too liberal but ushering in a new wave of whats been killing us is not what we need.

I was hoping agreement would be reached by the dem town committee to nominate one candidate and support that candidate. Is it too late to avoid a primary which will surely benefit moccia more than anyone else. ?


Just so you know The Norwalk Police Dept. is one of the most up to date, well respected police agencies in Connecticut and it is all because of one man, Harry Rilling. He is a proven leader and will run circles around any other candidate out there! He never made excuses for anything and put his heart and soul into his career as Chief. It's unfortunate you have no idea what you are talking about when you speak of "Crime Prevention.". Norwalk is a great place to live and extremely safe for a city it's size. Compare it to other small cities, say.......Waterbury. You tell me where would u rather live? And same goes to you "The Norwalk Truth" please with the name.

From what you have said the Westport PD has changed how they feel?

That chase that started in Norwalk and ended in Westport when they used stop sticks and blew out 20 tires on cars while stopping the car wanted by Norwalk that turned out to be an unwarranted chase and stop has been forgiven?

I'm sorry I agree we have some outdtanding officers but when will the public hear about the recent NPD officer who was caught DUI at a construction site almost hitting a out of town officer?

This may be a great time for Harry to come clean chill and take Duffs place I'm sure Darien may embrace that idea instead.

Norwalk was a destination and still is by drug dealers and gun runners from the Bronx to New Haven.

Meriden just had a large fire where the Diablo cycle gang losts its former headquarters maybe Norwalk can reach out and invite them here we have plenty of vacant homes for them to squat in and control crime.

Shame we didn't have our own place in the Daily to list just some fact next couple of weeks both harry and Dick would be slighted maybe enough to run not for office but to run from the truth.

Lets see what happens when Harry is asked some questions on developers and who has seen help already by his zoning moves.

Payback is what Norwalk is all about nowadays we see it in the council can't imagine how funny this will get hen we near election time.

There are so mnay uniformed people in Norwalk up till now

The Norwalk Police Department is considered a comedy act by many. They have failed miserably with preventing or solving crimes. We can also discuss the many officers themselves that have been arrested or violated major departmental policies.
Also its such a shame that we are now being compared to Waterbury.

So true Jane so true..All we heard from Rilling during is time as chief were excuses. He is not the answer for Norwalk as mayor anymore than he was as chief.

I hope he has a better plan for crime prevention than he had as Chief...something better than blaming the community for not doing his job.