Wednesday, November 26, 2003
Chiarenzelli: A Tough Cop With
Chiarenzelli: A Tough Cop With a Smile
William J. Chiarenzelli, Westports retiring police chief, has long been known as a tough cop but at the same time someone with a smile.
When he was sworn in as chief in 1990, Chiarenzelli recalled in an interview the day he joined the force in 1966 as a rookie patrolman.
The chief of police took him into his office, sat him down, and gave him some advice.
William J. Chiarenzelli in 1990 shortly after being named police chief. File photo
ғNo matter what you do and how you do your job, always leave em smiling,є Chief Samuel Luciano told him.
Chiarenzelli said for him, that creed meant that officers should take time to be courteous to the public but still firm in their convictions.
I have found that guidance has worked most of the time for me,Ӕ Chiarenzelli said.
Even today, his officers are on notice to respond promptly and politely to the public, even its a phone call to a busy dispatch center asking what time the library closes or where a pharmacy is open.
During times of crisis or calm, the chief could often be seen on the road, directing traffic himself at a major incident before reinforcements arrived, or helping a stranded motorist.
When downed power lines prevented one resident recently from getting out of his driveway to go to work, Chiarenzelli gave the man a lift to Darien.
In the 1990 interview, he recalled that when he started, there were only three or four officers out on patrol at any one time. None of the officers had portable radios.
So when officers went out in their cars, they kept their eyes on beacons, which were situated throughout the town. If a beacon lit up, they would rush to the nearest phone and call headquarters.
But police work even then was dangerous at times. In 1970, a robbery took place at a home near Hillspoint Road. Chiarenzelli tracked the suspects to an area off of I-95.
As he was about to make an arrest, one of the suspects lunged at him and swung the end of a shotgun at ChiarenzelliҒs forehead. He still has scars.
Posted 11/26/03 at 05:05 AM Permalink