Westport’s Police Chief Announces His Retirement William J. Chiarenzelli, Westports highly respected police chief for the past 13 years, announced his retirement today effective Jan. 1 after 38 years of service to the town. “I think 38 years is enough,” Chiarenzelli told WestportNow. “But there’s still plenty to do and there are good people here who can do it.” No immediate successor to the 59-year-old Chiarenzelli was named, although First Selectwoman Diane Goss Farrell is expected to choose a new chief from among department ranks, according to a Town Hall source. “It has been an honor and a privilege to have worked with Bill in his capacity as Westport chief of police,” Farrell said in a statement. “His dedication to the protection of Westport’s citizens has resulted in nearly 38 years of superior and highly professional service. “He holds the respect of his peers as one of Connecticut’s pre-eminent chiefs of police. Westport will miss Bill’s caring compassionate leadership. We wish him well in what we expect will be a very active retirement.” Earlier this year, Farrell promoted three veteran officers to Deputy Chief Җ Don Brown, Al Fiore, and David Heinmiller when Chiarenzelli was temporarily sidelined for health reasons.
Police Chief William J. Chiarenzelli poses with First Selectwoman Diane Goss Farrell Nov. 20 during a group picture for graduates of the Citizens Police Academy. WestportNow.com photo
All are highly regarded in the police community and are the leading candidates to succeed to the top post, the source said. Chiarenzelli, who joined the force in 1966, was said by friends to be hoping for a low-key retirement ֖ thus the announcement on the day before Thanksgiving. When the time comes, I just prefer to go out quietly,Ӕ he told a reporter recently when asked about a career-reviewing interview. Following his retirement, Chiarenzelli is expected to continue his long association with state and county police organizations as well as the Westport Police Athletic League (PAL). After a period of rest—some of it spent gardening at his Easton home—he will consult in the private sector on matters of corporate security and crisis management. Chiarenzellis tenure as WestportҒs top cop coincided with a tumultuous time in the towns history as it moved from the 90s into the 21st century and the age of heightened security concerns. His list of accomplishments ranged from creating the ғAre U Okay program for senior adults to initiating WestportԒs weapons of mass destruction protective equipment program. Chiarenzelli was sworn in as police chief in July 1990, succeeding Ron Malone, now a member of the Representative Town Meeting (RTM). He was appointed by former First Selectman Douglas Wood. Eight years after joining the force, in 1974, he was promoted to sergeant. In 1976, he became a lieutenant, and moved up to inspector in 1985. Chiarenzelli attended Housatonic Community College and Babson College in Massachusetts. He holds a Master Training Certificate granted by the State of Connecticut. He is a past president of the Fairfield County Training Officers Association, the Fairfield County Chiefs of Police Association, and the Westport PAL. During his career, he has served in line and staff functions in the Westport department and has been honored with numerous departmental commendations. A resident of Easton, he is married to Susan Solomon Chiarenzelli. They have three children and six grandchildren.
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.
Todays New York Times, in a front-page story, takes a look at an effort by WestportҒs Staples High School to cut down on student cheating, something it says exists all over the country.
Excerpt: A Crystal Rock water bottle is Exhibit A in a campaign to reduce cheating here at Staples High School, a bastion of affluence, academic achievement and unrelenting pressure to succeed.
ӓThe label of the bottle had been peeled off, the history of atomic theory printed on the back and the label restored in preparation for a chemistry test. The test taker hoped for a handy crib sheet indeed, it was even magnified by the water.
דBut it also turned out to be easily visible to the teacher, who was more alert than he was at this time last year and gave the student a failing grade.
Cheating was not often discussed here until last spring, when two incidents forced Westport to confront a problem that exists all over the country and is growing worse every year.Ӕ
First Selectwoman Diane Goss Farrell’s 1754 farmhouse home is among six homes featured in this year’s Westport Historical Society 17th Annual Holiday House Tour. Tickets for the Sunday, Dec. 7 event from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. are $45 in advance and $50 on the day of the tour from the society at 222-1424 or its Web site. Contributed photo
Volunteers from the Interfaith Housing Association (IHA) and the Conservative Synagogue unload pies today at St. Luke Roman Catholic Church. Stew Leonard’s donated a refrigerated truck and bakeries from Westport and the surrounding area donated the pies which were sold for $20 each to benefit the IHA. More than 1,000 were sold. WestportNow.com photo
The Day of New London says Staples is gaining increased recognition in its poll of state football coaches.
Staples of Westport (11-0) is making a strong push toward the No. 2 ranking in The Day state coaches poll, and understandably so,Ӕ the newspaper reported today.
The Wreckers, who trail No. 2 Ansonia (10-0) by just two points, picked up a second first-place vote after a convincing 35-0 win over Danbury in the 38th Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference championship game Friday.
ӓThe Hatters (9-2) were No. 9 headed into the FCIAC final, and it was the Wreckers’ second straight shutout in six days as they beat No. 7 Greenwich (9-1) 28-0 on Nov. 15.
Staples tailback Jimmy Hughes rushed 15 times for 188 yards and three touchdowns (1, 15 and 78 yards) against Danbury while safety Scott Damassa added three interceptions ӗ all in the first half.
Westports Paul Newman appeared on the David Letterman Show Monday night to promote his new book about NewmanҒs Own and talked about life at the age of 78. Among his disclosures: he burned his tuxedo in the driveway of his Westport home much to the horror of wife Joanne Woodward ֖ because at his age he figured he did not need it any more.
Paul Newman visits with David Letterman Monday night. CBS-Worldwide Pants/WestportNow.com photo
He said he had attended enough awards events and such and decided it was time to get rid of it. His favorite alcoholic beverage continues to be beer. ItӒs the drink of the common man, he said, to the applause of the studio audience. Letterman asked about NewmanԒs racing exploits and showed some recent pictures of him in action on the race track. Asked how fast he was going in one race, Newman replied, Oh, about 170 miles per hourӔ and said he did it for about an hour. Letterman wondered whether Newmans wife was concerned about his racing at his age. ғShe takes out a new life insurance policy every year, the actor replied. Newman said as long as he can get out on the track and not look terrible, he plans to continue racing. ԓIm not worried about racing,Ҕ he said. IӒm worried about getting in and out of the car. Its a tight squeeze.Ҕ Newman was on the program to promote his new book, Shameless Exploitation in Pursuit of the Common Good.Ӕ Written with fellow Westporter A. E. Hotchner, it tells how the two became accidental entrepreneurs and launched a company that now sells dressing, pasta sauce, popcorn and more in eight countries, all to the benefit of charities.
Workers busily prepare for Tuesday’s 10 a.m. opening of Smith & Hawken, the newest arrival to Westports commercial scene. The California-based chain will open its 55th garden and home accessories store in the building formerly occupied by KidsҒ Wear at 1045 Post Road East. The Westport store will be the third in Connecticut, in addition to one in New Canaan opened in 1995, and Glastonbury in 1999. WestportNow.com photos