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Marine Patrol Officers Agree to Return to Duty Without Guns

Marine Patrol Officers Agree to Return to Duty Without Guns

Source: Candlewood Lake Authority

The News-Times

June 18, 2010

CANDLEWOOD LAKE – Jun. 18—The Candlewood Lake Authority will be able to muster enough marine patrol officers to put a full force on the lake for the foreseeable future.

Mark Toussaint, the authority’s vice chairman, said Thursday that the authority’s leaders met Wednesday night with members of the patrol and many officers agreed to return to duty — most without carrying firearms for protection.

“They’re pretty passionate about what they do out there,” Toussaint said.

Larry Marsicano, the authority’s executive director, said 15 members of the 27-member patrol agreed to start work. He and Toussaint said they’ll try to contract the remaining 12 officers and sound them out about returning.

“I can’t tell you how happy I am,” Marsicano said. “First, because we’re putting patrols out on the lake, and because we’re going to be able to maintain all that experience.”

The officers’ agreement to return to the lake means the authority’s Marine Patrol will have two patrol boats and two officers on personal watercraft to work on the lake.

Toussaint said that’s a normal complement of officers for a weekend. He said he expects the patrols to continue throughout the coming weeks.

This weekend, the lake will have a regular Marine Patrol for the first time this summer.

In late May, the week before Memorial Day — one of the busiest weekends of the year — the authority decided to pull the patrol off the lake because the state Department of Environmental Protection refused to provide a supervising officer.

The DEP, which lost many senior conservation officers to early retirement in 2009, said it could no longer staff the supervisor’s position. It also claims a 2009 agreement between the DEP and the authority did away with the need for a supervisor for the patrol.

In turn, the authority has maintained that its decade-old agreement with the DEP about the marine patrol, along with its bylaws and state statutes, have precedence over the 2009 agreement.

Without a DEP supervisor, the authority said, the officers, and the authority itself, would be at much greater risk from lawsuits.

This dispute was settled, in a way, last week when the authority, the DEP and the five towns around the lake agreed to compromise, with the DEP providing a supervising officer this summer.

In fall, when the recreation season ends, the town leaders hope to sit down with the DEP and take a new look at the relationship between the DEP, the authority, the five towns, and the Marine Patrol.

But as part of this compromise, the five towns, the authority and the DEP agreed that none of the officers could carry handguns on the lake unless they have certification from the Connecticut Police Officers Standards and Training Council, the same certification police officers get.

Only two of the Marine Patrol officers have this level of training, while the remainder get a yearly firearms certification from the DEP.

Toussaint said the officers were concerned that without firearms they could put themselves at risk when dealing with belligerent, alcohol-influenced boaters at night.

“It’s different during the day and at night out there,” Toussaint said.

But in the end, Marsicano said, the officers decided to return to the lake to maintain safety.

“None of them do this to get rich,” he said.

Contact Robert Miller

at bmiller@newstimes.com

or at 203-731-3345.


To see more of the News-Times or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.newstimes.com.

Copyright © 2010, The News-Times, Danbury, Conn.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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  • Photo_user_blank_big

    rsironron

    about 4 years ago

    5220 Comments

    I agree with Whalewatcher.

  • Marvin_max50

    lajustice

    about 4 years ago

    1178 Comments

    I understand them wanting a trained force, but your putting officers lives in jeopardy. I wish i could remember the article, but i read one once that the officer pulled up to investigate a boat floating in the commercial channel, and next thing he knows he is in a fight for his life being fired at with a high caliber weapon. officer was hit i believe and the suspect was finally killed.

  • Jack_bauer_max50

    Allen705

    about 4 years ago

    1466 Comments

    why don't they contract this out to the SO/PD in the area as an off-duty job? i know that would mean less coverage with a bigger budget, but at least then they can put someone in jail. Sounds like something they where they detain a violator and turn them over to the local pd/so anyway.

  • Jack_bauer_max50

    Allen705

    about 4 years ago

    1466 Comments

    So what were these guys before? Glorified security guards on the lake?? I don't have any problem with them being state certified peace officers, that's the way it should be.

  • Eagle_logo_max50

    Jimshnuks

    about 4 years ago

    36 Comments

    I agree, no one should be able to carry on duty unless LEO certified. Whalewatcher brings up a great point about financial backing, but if they want proper use of certified personnel then they will have to pay for it! If not, then they should be fine...until someone gets seriously hurt, or worse.

  • Anonymous-killer-whale-232189_1__max50

    Whalewatcher

    about 4 years ago

    11226 Comments

    I agree with everyone who is saying get the certification, but questions come up: Who is going to pay for the certification ? Do the officers need only the firearms training portion, or do they need to attend a full academy ? No doubt it's probably an expensive procedure. More info would be nice, but, personally, I would like to see the officers get reimbursed by the Candlewood Lake Authority for the cost of the training/certification if they initially pay for it out of pocket.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    about 4 years ago

    :(

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    about 4 years ago

    doesnt at all sound like they are state certified peace officers then

  • Battering-ram-full_max50

    OlSkoolBlu89

    about 4 years ago

    2484 Comments

    Simple, get certified problem solved!

  • Ba_old_glory_max50

    Jonas

    about 4 years ago

    43856 Comments

    This is unconscionable (rough trans..like totally stupid to the million billionth......) on every level. First we disarm law biding citizens, voluntarily. Then we get our warriors to volunteer to do the same.

  • 100_7432_max50

    petecoolcattt

    about 4 years ago

    652 Comments

    Get properly trained then tooled up.. simple.. no one wants untrained law enforcement members carring guns.. Gutsy move on behalf of the unarmed members here though - that's what I call dedication and committment. Goodluck..

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    about 4 years ago

    So much for individual officers personal safety. Sounds like tombstone courage to me.

  • Jess_and_i_max50

    whitebread0000

    about 4 years ago

    154 Comments

    Uhhhh......what??? No guns? Way to stick together and tell your dept NO guys! I wouldn't don any uniform without having a sidearm.
    Have fun I guess and TRY to go home alive.....

  • Dressed_up__2__max50

    luke3302

    about 4 years ago

    928 Comments

    Doesn't sounds like these are Police Officers. Sounds more like private security. Get the officers their certifications. Someone is going to get hurt if they do not get this straight.

  • Pug_max600_max50

    DALLASCRANE

    about 4 years ago

    19382 Comments

    Too many drunks on the lake. The less protection you have the braver the "Booze Brains" become. Get your certifications and be safe.

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