WARNING:  Please remember that this website is unofficial and only represents the observations of About Town...

      
                     
CONNECTICUT HOUSE DEMOCRATS/M
"Body cams" for Weston in Police Budget?  Tip:  read this and think about budget implications for small towns.
M.O.R.E. COMMISSION PLAN OF ACTION FOR REGIONALISATION OF MUNICIPAL OPERATIONS:  Did the now almost-gone M.O.R.E. non-Commission ever create any efficiency?






REGIONIONALIZED PD's?
Down the line in Old Lyme and East Lyme, police department merger proposed:  http://www.theday.com/local-news/20171208/old-lyme-police-union-raises-concerns-over-potential-east-lyme-merger







CT-N covered this oral argument and press conference.  What role did the Police Department in Newtown play?




Ambulance chasing attorneys on the alert!!!  Will this be a slam dunk on appeal?  Which way, ultimately?
Appeal of lower court dismissal being heard - we assume it will end up in the U.S. Supreme Court...
Read the full story here:  http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/archives/entry/sandy_hook_families_attorney_says_gun_markers_courtship_with_gunman_began_l/

"...He argued that under the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) passed by Congress in 2005 his client is exempt from the negligent entrustment the plaintiffs claim" is the gun maker's argument;   "Justice Richard Palmer asked whether Koskoff was asking the court to broaden its definition of negligent entrustment" ho ho ho. And in a statement after the arguments, attorney for plaintiffs (not shown) indicates the main focus is on providing insight into how guns are marketed - citing the kinds of protection or "warnings" such as those on other consumer products - those labels that if read, as I do, give one pause....






E M E R G E N C Y    F U N D I N G    F O R    T H O S E    N E C E S S A R Y    I T E M S


      

WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES!  WILL TOWN OF WESTON CREATE A "GO FUND ME PAGE" FOR THE EDUCATION BUDGET?







 




East Haven Also Not Ready To Embrace State Police Gun Range: 
http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/archives/entry/east_haven_also_not_ready_to_embrace_state_police_gun_range/

STATE POLICE GUN RANGE LOCATION PROTESTED: 
http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/archives/entry/another_community_protests_state_police_gun_range_location/







PUBLIC SAFETY COMPLEX NEWS - EVERYBODY'S DOING IT - NEW FACILITY IN BETHEL HAS REGIONAL SPACE, ACCORDING TO FIRST SELECTMAN
Report from Selectmen September 8, 2016

LATEST PLAN SHOWING REGIONAL DISPATCH: 
http://www.westonct.gov/media/file/ProposedPDwithRegionalDispatch.pdf

WITHOUT REGIONAL DISPATCH:  http://www.westonct.gov/media/file/ProposedPDwoutRegDispatch.pdf

JMO
We note that the newspaper has reported on various staff changes either having taken place or going to take place - all of which might have been affected by imminent restructuring of facilities...???







"MY COUSIN VINNIE" GOOD REFERENCE POINT.  Thank you CT-N for showing this live - and although we will watch it in order as "replay" when we get a chance


      

WITNESS IDENTIFICATION STUDY
Held at Yale, we watched a lecture about what we would call "forensics" =  a scientific study. 

  

How lineup protocol works - from "Dragnet" to the present day

We did not watch past 11:40am and as it happens, we missed a lot, including the part where a rape victim reported how truly unpleasant her experience in court was...

NOTE:  This Conference at Yale Law School was all day and began with heavy hitters from CT Judicial Community including U.S. Attorney.

  

W A T C H    N O W

Link to the morning session:  http://www.ct-n.com/ctnplayer.asp?odID=13034

Afternoon session:  http://www.ct-n.com/ctnplayer.asp?odID=13031






WestCOG recognizes this in 2015 at Legislative Breakfast
New Haven declares public health emergency after more than 12 overdoses in 1 day
DAY
Published June 24. 2016 6:08AM

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — Officials in New Haven have declared a public health emergency following a string of overdoses linked to a batch of heroin mixed with fentanyl...story in full:  http://www.theday.com/statenortheast/20160624/new-haven-declares-public-health-emergency-after-more-than-12-overdoses-in-1-day






REGIONAL LOCK UP

http://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/lock-up/








CRIME LAB STORY

http://customwire.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_REAL_TIME_CRIME_CENTER?SITE=CTNHR&SECTION=STATE&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2016-05-24-00-24-08







Is "buckling down" re:  CT budget enforceable?
State Police launching crackdown on seat-belt use
Danbury News-Times
By Jim Shay Published 9:52 am, Saturday, May 21, 2016

...With the Memorial Day weekend upon us, Connecticut’s law enforcement agencies intend to promote safe driving and increase the protection of all motorists...


“In real life you don’t get a second chance,” state police said in announcing the enforcement campaign.  Story in full:  http://www.newstimes.com/policereports/article/State-Police-launching-crackdown-on-seat-belt-use-7907313.php








FOR THOSE WHO WERE NOT IN ATTENDANCE AT GLOBAL FACILITIES...
http://www.aboutweston.com/GlobalFacilitiesCmte.mp3




IS THIS A MEETING TO PROPOSE SOMETHING THAT WON'T WORK, ALREADY REJECTED, OR IS IT WORKABLE?
Building Committee
Commission Room
Tuesday, April 19, 2016 at 7:30pm

Agenda:  http://www.westonct.gov/media/file/BuildingCommitteeAgenda041916.pdf





Police Commission discussing the expansion project for public services.
Town Hall Commission Room
Tues., March 1, 2016

In pictures:



DEJA VU
This was a case of a repeat performance by the architect to further elicit opinions of all public service complex entities.

  
PUBLIC SERVICE COMPLEX COME AGAIN
And they came and spoke and had convinced the First Selectman their point was right about location for their facility no being thrown under the...whichever large vehicle might be located under the portico.




CHIEF TAKES A STAND
See report below - same presentation altho' ideas had been absorbed by architect;  early mid-March deadline to get buy-in by Police Commission (Chief says it was OK with him).



NEW MEMBER SWORN IN - QUITE A COMPLEX OATH - POLICE ARE DIFFERENT!
Congratulations Dawn!!!






SELECTMEN'S MEETING FEB. 25. 2016.


Previous plans drawn for Global Facilities Committee did not progress, so an alternate was described to Selectmen Feb. 25, 2016 Board of Selectmen's Meeting.  Upstairs and Downstairs - existing space and some in Town Hall not previously used for Police. 

  
Architect provided preliminary cost estimates.





        

Police Commission, 2-2-16, Commission Room at Town Hall.

Interesting discussion of new idea for Police Station renovation and accommodation in existing structures with revisiting ideas for acquiring other historic buildings and creating a "Town Commons" expeditiously and adding sidewalks in the cedntral part of town making pedestrian linkages.

Temporary stop signs after study have made all the difference in increasing safety for pedestrians on Old  Mill Road.  It was suggested that Legislators from 18 towns can testify to the safety the stop signs provide!






POLICE STATION NEWS AT POLICE COMMISSION: 
http://www.westonct.gov/media/file/PC_February_2_2016_Agenda.pdf

Board of Finance approves supplementary appropriation for $7000, Jan. 14, 2016.  Police Commission ITEM #1 for Feb 2nd, 7pm meeting report from First Selectman.





ARE THEY IN POLICE BUDGET IN WESTON?

"Body cams" for Weston in Police Budget?  Tip:  read this and think about budget implications for small towns.  Legislature hears this complaint:  http://customwire.ap.org/dynamic/stories/C/CT_POLICE_CAMERAS_CONNECTICUT_CTOL-?SITE=CTNHR&SECTION=STATE&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2016-01-17-11-54-10





   
Cellphone Likely Won’t Tell 911 Operator Your Location
CTBYTHENUMBERS link to Governing article
On 01/07/2016

"When you check movie times on your cellphone, search for a restaurant or hail a ride, the device automatically knows exactly where you are and can suggest things nearby. So it’s understandable that many people assume the same holds true when they call 911 for emergency assistance..." is a quote from the original report in "Governing" magazine from which

CTBYTHENUMBERS article:  http://ctbythenumbers.info/2016/01/07/cellphone-likely-wont-tell-911-operator-your-location/








WHERE THE JOBS ARE FOR THE FUTURE (UNTIL THE MACHINES TAKE OVER)...

Interesting developments elsewhere: 


BUREAUCRATIC CREEP - ONE WAY TO FIGHT TAKEOVER OF THE MACHINES:  http://www.courant.com/community/berlin/hc-berlin-body-cameras-0102-20160101-story.html

CT Surveillance:
 
http://www.courant.com/community/simsbury/hc-simsbury-iron-horse-blvd-security-improvements-20151214-story.html

Drone registry:  http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2015/12/14/drone-registry-faa/77275676/





EASTON REGIONAL POLICE ACTION 2008 SETTLED:

From The DAY:  http://www.theday.com/state-news/20150923/victim-of-botched-connecticut-police-raid-gets-15m

Greenwich TIME in full:  http://www.greenwichtime.com/news/article/Towns-settle-Easton-raid-case-6522610.php









Watercolor of upper part of town by M.S. Wirtenberg.

STATISTICS FROM CT MIRROR...
By 100 ticket-giving police entities, Weston ranks 18th lowest ticket rate per officer.  Speeding and cell phone laws most enforced here plus Friday is our big ticket day.

ANALYSIS BY CT MIRROR OF TICKET STATISTICS IN CT, Oct. 2013 - Sept. 2014.  includes State Police, private entities' police forces (i.e. Yale) and town police departments.  Data below:
 

http://trendct.org/2015/07/13/police-departments-that-hand-out-the-most-traffic-tickets-in-connecticut/






O.K.  So why is it that "open carry" (which means visible but in this context no referring to a shopping cart) in the supermarket is such a big deal? 

STATISTICALLY SPEAKING
Report: Hartford tops list of cities with most homicides in New England
Channel 12
Updated September 10, 2015 11:25 AM

HARTFORD - Hartford is at the top of the list in New England as the city with the most homicides.

Police say a 34-year-old man was shot and killed Sunday night in the city's 25th homicide.

There were 19 murders last year.

The Hartford Courant says the capitol city inched past Boston last week for most homicides this year in New England.

Boston is second with 23, Springfield is third with 14 and New Haven is fourth with 11.

Bridgeport so far this year has had 10 homicides and Stamford has had one.

------------------------



HOW DOES THIS RELATE, IF IT DOES, TO CT POPULATION PROJECTION?
Jan. to Sept. 2015:  A comparison including population totals found online - please note relative sizes of communities.

125,000 pop Hartford, 25 murders;
645,000 pop of Boston, MA, 23 murders;
14 murders for Springfield, pop 153,000
11 murders for New Haven, 130,000 pop.; 
Bridgeport 10 murders, pop 147,000. 
Stamford, 125,000 has had one murder.






NO MORE TRAINING UNDER THE DAM

Weston Police Training video.

More than 51,000 assault rifles registered in state
By Ken Dixon, Greenwich TIME
Updated 11:45 pm, Saturday, September 5, 2015

Someone in Connecticut owns 179 assault rifles, but if he’s your neighbor, you may never know.

Another state resident has 175 of the semi-automatic rifles that can fire 30 rounds in 15 seconds, like the gun Adam Lanza used to kill 20 first graders and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

A third firearms enthusiast keeps nearly 544,000 high-capacity magazines.

In fact, according to a Hearst Connecticut Media investigation into registration records, there were 51,763 assault weapons in private hands statewide at the end of August — enough to equip an army. In addition, 40,491 residents filed paperwork showing they owned ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 bullets...story in full:  http://www.greenwichtime.com/news/article/More-than-51-000-assault-rifles-registered-in-6487021.php







BOARD OF FIREARMS PERMIT EXAMINERS








       

"Issuing Authority" 4-1

Bethany v. First Selectman (???) - Town doesn't show...lots of others go "nole" too.  And not pictured, a case where 40 or more years ago there had been a restraining order issued that the applicant had forgotten...



Groton case from Electric Boat - will get taken care of. we think.  Minutes approved, adjourn.









First item
Cheshire denial of permit reinstatement.  Previous denied.  Family violence.  Denial and rejection.


Second item - compare how cases are race related.
One includes discussion about NYS matter in the past, now married to same woman.  Appeal denied because did because not file backup in advance.


A fish bit me excuse accepted.
Third item from Meriden - appellant didn't list all convictions. 1986-88 in military.- dishonorable discharge from Navy.  Application contradicts itself.  3-2 in favor of appellant.


Fourth case
LSD - Deputy Chief vouches for applicant on appeal.  Mother who called P.D. on LSD now vouches for her son years later.

Second Chance Society indeed.





WONDERING ABOUT CONSTITUTIONAL IMPLICATIONS...


FIREARMS EXAMINERS SEPT. 7, 2017
First case - took drugs out of medicine chest.  Schizophrenic perhaps request to reinstate gun permit.  No letters from psychiatrist.  Battling depression - P.T.S.D.   Case of using medication not his own that produced delusions - unanimous NO at this time. "Land mine" used as comparison.

 
OOPS - Move to another town and your record is clean??? 

Will new town of residence's police force  go back and look up previous town of residence's rejection of gun permit?  New Fairfield doesn't show (r).


INTERESTING USE OF OLD, VERY OLD, PUBLIC DATA
We think we heard 7 yrs previous...drugs taken made him do it (second hand from another officer).  Flight twice.  "I'm going to kill that bitch" then tasered.  Reason?  150 Vicodin, Prednisone, Oxyodone. 

We'll watch the remainder of these hearings at a later date.







June 22, 2017 meeting of Firearms Permit Examiners...had to wait for a quorum.
New rules - everyone is to be identified as "applicant."  By the way, some items on the agenda had been "solved" prior to hearing date.


MORE THAN FOUR HOURS.
We don't think k-9 officer found anything.  Text messages wife/husband.  Did not see text messages.  Risk warrent.  Taken to hospital although not willingly.

Pretty sad stuff.  (We watched the first half hour.)





Local police grant or deny permits in CT
NOT MUCH GOING ON HERE, THE FIREARMS PERMIT BOARD, TODAY


DENIED
Hearing on review of 2014 decision reflects new consciousness, perhaps, of Orlando?  Or just Connecticut's sensitivity especially in the context of the Presidential Election...








"OPEN CARRY" ISSUE - STATE'S ATTORNEY SPEAKS:  http://www.thewestonforum.com/59378/states-attorney-confirms-open-carry-is-legal-in-connecticut/







PISTOL PERMITS APPEAL - 8-13-15

This is part of the Thursday session of this State of CT Board (8-13-15).  The first case came down against the appellant - he lost his pistol permit (but not his long gun rights, we think, unless that too will be denied in the future by the local police).  The second case the police from New Haven did not show up to contest. 

Third was the case of a Yankee fan and Corvette driver.  The facts in this case:  Retired, decorated police officer, in 2013, driving while intoxicated (6 lite beers worth) has intersection accident (bad vertical curvature) at intersection.  Two officers show up, called by other driver (?). 

Officer who testifies two years later has his accident report...BUT...since the appellant had gone thru D.U.I. re-training, the record was supposed to be expunged.  Which goes to show you how well trained the police are regarding the niceties of basic rights...





POLICE COMMISSION MEETINGS WE ATTEND FROM TIME TO TIME




Police Commission meeting we hope to attend Tuesday, December 6 at 7pm in Commission Room:  http://www.westonct.gov/media/file/PCDecember62016Agenda.pdf









September 6, 2016, Commission Room

       
Very interesting meeting, covered lots of topics. 
N
ew School Superintendent discusses how the S.R.O. was doing so far.  On another topic, questions on PC budget.  Also... permission to apply to use capital funds for software re: alarm system and ordinance.
       
NEWEST POLICE OFFICER
We were there for item on The Tree...which was discussed by Town Engineer and Tree Warden - discussion not report.  More study needed before posting.  An example of how The Tree was previously "posted."





September 1, 2015



POLICE COMMISSION SEPT. 1, 2015 at 7pm, Commission Room...http://www.westonct.gov/media/file/PC_Sept_1_2015_Agenda.pdf

Agenda included Executive Session  - we are attending to find out what "went down" if any decisions are made related to Selectmen's participation.  And the answer:  2 hours behind closed doors, and afterward, vote to hire S.R.O. ("School Resource Office").

       

The air-conditioning inside Town Hall was a welcome relief as we waited for the end of the Executive Session.  It was a busy night - the Lachat Town Farm Commission was meeting in the large meeting room and the Library Board was meeting in...the Library! 

They, the Library folks, had had a special 3pm meeting earlier in the day to prepare and prep the Board members for the evening meeting, I would assume.  They certainly do do good work and employ all the best techniques to carry out the public interest and the full involvement of present and potential Library Board members!  Bravo!!!

We left the Police Commission meeting during the Chief's report, and note that the Chief had a written report of some length that appeared to me to be in the spirit of keeping budgetary hold of their finances, noting that at this time, prior to any bad weather (to be polite - my words!) and with officers now off medical limitations, the Police budget looks under estimated outlook...






JULY 7, 2015

 
Police Commission to review remaining candidates for opening, then after discussion, come out of Executive Session and we assume, vote.

All seven (7) members of the Police Commission were present for business (one not pictured here). 

Also to be discussed in or after Executive Session, we think, is response to claims re:  lack of transparency.  Proposal for quarterly budget review for Boards of Selectmen and Finance proposed.  However, further discussion revealed that although Finance Department understands, there is nothing to clearly indicate the delayed flow of reimbursements from State of CT or grants from other entities in the Town of Weston finance department documents.

About Weston did not stay to hear the results - it was 7:30pm when Executive Session began, approx.  Estimate for emerging from Executive Session @11pm.





"Justice delayed is justice denied?"
CT FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION TO PERHAPS SUGGEST CHANGES TO REGS 
FOR EXAMPLE, WITHDRAWAL OF  COMPLAINT THE MORNING OF THE HEARING COSTLY PLUS WHO ELSE CAN'T GET A HEARING AS A RESULT?




REFERENCE TO CUTS TO WATCHDOGS
What a difference one year makes!  Executive Director now reports that OPM has overstepped its bounds with budget cuts.  Suggests next month they should decide whether to ask for Attornney General's opinion...






 
CT F.O.I. Commission very interesting - mention by Executive Director of Legislative changes this Session...


MANY COMPLAINTS TO F.O.I. COMMISSION WITHDRAWN AFTER HEARING REPORT BUT BEFORE COMMISSION DECISION.

First few discussed:  Police Commission, Department of Corrections;  then...

Next few:  C.E.A. v. Pullman & Comley:    "Mootness"  Judge Blue quote.  "Never mind"  Emily Littella.  Wording strengthened.  Next for the same thing came Hartford Courant v. same parties.

Next were schools:
Windsor Public Schools:  "Henceforth..." language requested.  The problem was in how the agendas were written.  HIRE A LAWYER might be a lesson from this?
Waterford:  Executive Session devious.  Administrative decision on medical coverage.  Retired administrators not allowed in.  Att'y for Board of Ed says there are two ways to have legal advice for Board of Education in F.O.I. statute - one to get advice before (our words) and one after being sued.

More police:
Wallingford Police Chief.  Withdrawn matters:  NOTE:  The Commission head of staff made note of a continuing complaint, which we Googled.

Video: 
http://www.ct-n.com/ctnplayer.asp?odID=11807




LATEST A.P. REPORT:  http://customwire.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_BODY_CAMERAS_COSTS_INOL-?SITE=CTNHR&SECTION=STATE&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2016-09-10-11-58-50

NEW HAVEN INDEPENDENT - FROM CTNEWSJUNKIE
May 2, 2016

Did you know  Hamden has a Police Chief named "Hydra?"  Mythical creature "hydra" has eight arms (not only the "long arm" of the law, but eight of them) or is that a giant squid?

Yale research says FOI requests will increase requiring increasing staffing and storage.

"...Hamden Chief Tom Hydra said his department, which has nearly 100 officers wearing body cameras, hasn’t added any additional staff because of cameras. But he said he understands why New Haven wants more.

“'We’ve not added staff, but we should at some point in the future, not only for FOI, but to preserve that record,'” he said. Hydra said Hamden’s program needs someone who can go through the hours of daily footage that those cameras are capturing and preserve what’s necessary for evidence and basic record keeping..."

Story in full:  http://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/foi_body_cam/

    

APNewsBreak:
Low interest in cameras by Connecticut police
By DAVE COLLINS, Associated Press
Aug 5, 3:14 PM EDT

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- Few Connecticut police departments are showing interest in a new state program that encourages them to begin using body cameras as a way to increase communities' trust in law enforcement and improve police accountability.
Only 12 of the more than 100 law enforcement agencies in the state have contacted the state Office of Policy and Management about receiving reimbursement for body camera costs under the $15 million program, the office told The Associated Press...
Story in full (NOTE:  Redding one of the towns to be interested in bodycams - they are presently being sued on this matter):  http://customwire.ap.org/dynamic/stories/C/CT_POLICE_BODY_CAMERAS_CTOL-?SITE=CTNHR&SECTION=STATE&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2016-08-05-15-14-34



Did it pass in the Implementer?  YUP -in any event it was the bureaucracy - of what you had to do if you use body cams that turned off some!

PASSES THE SENATE: No more nice guys - remember, you are being video'd and recorded:  http://www.cga.ct.gov/2015/lcoamd/2015LCO09140-R00-AMD.htm


For example, some language...no such thing as grant money for free!

(c) (1) On and after July 1, 2016, each sworn member of (A) the Division of State Police within the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, (B) the special police forces established pursuant to section 10a-156b of the general statutes, (C) any municipal police department for a municipality that is a recipient of grant-in-aid as reimbursement for body-worn recording equipment pursuant to subparagraph (A) or (C) of subdivision (1) of subsection (b) of section 7 of this act or subdivision (2) of said subsection (b), and (D) any municipal police department for any other municipality that is a recipient of grant-in-aid as reimbursement for body-worn recording equipment pursuant to subparagraph (B) of subdivision (1) of said subsection (b) if such sworn member is supplied with such body-worn recording equipment, shall use body-worn recording equipment while interacting with the public in such sworn member's law enforcement capacity, except as provided in subsection (g) and (j) of this section.  (OUR NOTE:  These subsections relate to gaining evident from witnesses and similar acts that promote solving crimes.)

-----------------

Senate OKs use of body cams for cops

Ken Dixon, CT POST
Published 8:20 am, Tuesday, June 2, 2015
 
HARTFORD --The Senate early Tuesday morning approved legislation that would make the use of body cameras in local police departments an option for which the state would pay.

The bill, which next heads to the House, was a bipartisan compromise that includes a requirement that in police homicides involving allegations of excessive force, state prosecution from outside the judicial jurisdiction of the event would investigate...The legislative was a collaboration of Republican and Democratic leaders as well as the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus. The bill would also encourage the recruitment of minorities to local police departments.

Please search the CT POST archives for the remainder of this story.




WILL THIS AFFECT ANY OTHER REGIONALIZATION?
Emergency Services Commissioner Reverses Dispatch Consolidation
CTNEWSJUNKIE
by Elizabeth Regan | May 19, 2015 5:30am

What has been described as an expensive, disastrous effort to consolidate state police dispatch operations has come to an end.

Responding to a chorus of complaints from citizens, police, and lawmakers about increased response times and spiraling public confidence, Emergency Services and Public Protection Commissioner Dora Schriro on Monday announced plans to put dispatch operations back to the way they were before the consolidation that began under her predecessor.

Schriro said she is returning all state police call-taking and dispatch functions to their original, regional barracks.

...State Sen. Mae Flexer, D-Killingly, has testified before the Public Safety Committee about children in Windham who locked themselves in a bathroom during a 2014 home invasion and had to wait 1.5 hours before a trooper arrived at the scene...story in full:  http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/archives/entry/emergency_services_commissioner_reverses_dispatch_consolidation/





Obama to Limit Military-Style Equipment for Police Forces
NYTIMES
By JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS
MAY 18, 2015

WASHINGTON — President Obama on Monday will ban the federal provision of some types of military-style equipment to local police departments and sharply restrict the availability of others, administration officials said.

The ban is part of Mr. Obama’s push to ease tensions between law enforcement and minority communities in reaction to the crises in Baltimore; Ferguson, Mo.; and other cities.

He is taking the action after a task force he created in January decided that police departments should be barred from using federal funds to acquire items that include tracked armored vehicles, the highest-caliber firearms and ammunition, and camouflage uniforms. The ban is part of a series of steps the president has made to try to build trust between law enforcement organizations and the citizens they are charged with protecting.


Mr. Obama planned to promote the effort on Monday during a visit to Camden, N.J. The city, racked by poverty and crime, has become a national model for better relations between the police and citizens after replacing its beleaguered police force with a county-run system that prioritizes community ties...story in full:  http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/19/us/politics/obama-to-limit-military-style-equipment-for-police-forces.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0




FIND THIS IN CT MIRROR GRAPHICS/TABLES SECTION
MORE THAN TWICE AS MANY POLICE PER 1000 IN WESTPORT
Number of Officers in Weston and around the state:  Murders, rapes and crimes "0" for Weston in all categories.  Wilton, New Canaan and Darien, too.







LESS IS MORE?
Fostering regional compacts...now definitely moving forward in the off-session this summer...






Plans for regional dispatch in Montville on hold

DAY
By Greg Smith
Published April 24. 2015 7:53PM
Updated April 24. 2015 9:36PM

Montville — Unionization of emergency dispatchers in Colchester has delayed plans for establishment of a regional dispatch center in Montville.

The non-union employees at Colchester Emergency Communications, known by the call letters KX, last month voted to join UE Local 222, Connecticut Independent Labor Union/Connecticut Independent Police Union. The union also represents employees at a regional dispatch center in Tolland County.

The move came as plans were falling into place for the nonprofit KX to move from their headquarters at the state police barracks in Colchester into more updated accommodations at the Montville Public Safety Building.

Montville had already signed a five-year contract with KX and secured a $250,000 state grant to facilitate the move, which was expected to become reality by July.

But KX dispatchers expressed a concern of the unknown and wanted to ensure they maintained rights and privileges, "and were not just subject to whatever was agreed to between Montville and (the KX Board of Directors)," said union representative Mike Lewis.

"With the union they have the opportunity to negotiate their concerns with the merger and how it will impact them," Lewis said. "I don't anticipate any problems, and I don't think it will be controversial..."

Story in full:  http://www.theday.com/policefirecourts/20150424/plans-for-regional-dispatch-in-montville-on-hold







Story in full:  http://www.theday.com/local/20150310/town-budgets-would-feel-pinch-if-forced-to-bear--full-expense-of-resident-troopers



REGIONAL SAVINGS DEPT.
Towns Consider Regional Police Departments

CTNEWSJUNKIE
by Hugh McQuaid | Mar 4, 2015 8:01am

Small towns slated to pay more for resident state troopers under Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s proposed budget may abandon the trooper program and create regional police departments, Harwinton First Selectman Michael Criss told lawmakers Tuesday.

The governor’s budget assumes about $4.6 million in savings from eliminating the state’s share of funding for the resident state trooper program. Currently, the state pays about 30 percent of the costs associated with resident state troopers. The town where the trooper is stationed pays the remaining 70 percent.

During a hearing of the legislature’s Public Safety and Security Committee, Criss predicted those saving would not materialize because towns would find alternatives to using resident troopers. He said Harwinton is considering creating a regional department between the town and nearby Burlington...story in full:  http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/archives/entry/towns_consider_regional_police_departments/






EZPASS

Never say never?






Above is a segment from a longer story.

Story in full here:  http://ctmirror.org/state-to-review-ct-police-use-of-military-equipment/










Explanation to be given?




     

Board of Selectmen "Solarize CT" program approved January 16, 2014.

At  Z.B.A. on June 28, 2016 at 7:30pm, Commission Room:

Public Hearing #1:  The first item at this meeting unanimous support for Zoning Enforcement Officer who claimed that no variance had been granted to build solar array within setback.


Public Hearing #2: 

NOTE:  Not a non-conforming lot in terms of total size (it is more than 2 acres).  But building constructed before zoning so the current setback requirements make it non-conforming now!

The last step in this story? A "Negative Easement" turns into a "positive" result?  Yes. 
http://www.westonct.gov/media/file/ZBALegalNotice062816.pdf

--------------

NOTE:  Information on the subject of non-conformity is not official and exclusive to this website






YEAR END 2015 REVIEW STORY
Aquarion settles shooting range lawsuit with neighbors
Weston FORUM
By Patricia Gay on October 14, 2015

The Aquarion Water Co. has reached an agreement with its neighbors, Ian and Mari Lewis, agreeing to limit its operation of a gun range at the Saugatuck Reservoir...

Story in full: http://www.thewestonforum.com/54804/aquarion-settles-shooting-range-lawsuit-with-neighbors/

Land Use terminology warning re:  "Negative Easement"

"...The Lewises and Aquarion settled the case on Sept. 22 by entering into a reciprocal negative easement agreement recorded in Book 574 at Page 407 of the Weston land records.  Under the terms of the agreement, Aquarion agrees to restrict the use of the shooting range to Aquarion employees who are members of the Aquarion police force..."





Cease & Desist Appeal Public Hearing Nov. 25, 2014, Commission Room;  ZBA discussion after Public Hearing closed;  and the Decision
.

ZBA Chairman (l) and Town Attorney (r);  new testimony given by those not having spoken at the opening session in October.  Aquarion presents Nov. 25th directly.

THE ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS ("ZBA") FUNCTIONS AS COURT OF LAST RESORT ON ZONING MATTERS PRIOR TO LEGAL ACTION (THE NEXT STEP).

Tues. Nov. 25, 2014:  ZBA votes 4-1 on:  Shooting range below Samuel Senior Dam - decision of code enforcement officer to not issue cease & desist NOT overturned.

The second night of Public Hearing concludes, with arguments from attorney on zoning, several neighbors supporting a compromise and others supporting a shooting range for the police.

After an hour or so Public Hearing closed and ZBA discussed for perhaps another hour (or less)  the various issues brought up...we note that no motion was on the table at this point.  There were six ZBA members/alternates present - only five of whom could vote.  Although the arguments for not sustaining the Code Enforcement Officer's action did not carry the day, it was a spirited debate!



Cease & Desist Appeal
Public Hearing Oct. 28, 2014, Commission Room

ZBA questions Code Enforcement Officer
Who explains that there was nothing to "cease and desist" from in July 2014.


FORUM reports October 29, 2014 on this first, online


LINK TO FORUM:
Story here:  http://www.thewestonforum.com/22673/weston-zba-defers-action-on-aquarion-shooting-range/




POLICE TRAINING THE UNDERLYING TOPIC AT ZBA CEASE AND DESIST APPEAL;  FORUM FOLLOWS UP WITH STORY DEC. 23, 2014
Chief Troxell spoke near the end of this part of the Public Hearing (it was presentation by lawyer for applicants, rebuttal the first night).

The chief pointed out that an agreement from 1993 made it possible for the police department to practice under the dam;  as part of regional cooperation, we allow this privilege to other departments.  Shooting practice from 8:30am to 3pm so no children at risk.  Internet video posted in 2009 to show how prepared Weston Police Department is to deal with emergencies.



WHERE IT WAS HAPPENING OCT. 28, 2014!
Full house at ZBA for appeal of Cease & Desist decisionWe counted 21 members of the public...more questions than answers, ZBA hearing asked to be "left open" for further comments.  Police Chief makes excellent plea, Aquarion (r) speaks to its willingness to forge new agreements but adds that they are exempt from zoning...and after the long meeting, ZBA notes many points raised for which there will be need of exploration...to be continued at November 25th ZBA meeting.






WHAT'S NEXT?  Big drone (center) not used for planning purposes, we think.  So how big is the Public Safety Complex?
How about use of drones for municipal purposes - how-to use drones for planning.
Now that the election is over, will the administration seek to regionalize the police?  Weston did a survey of other places and the space allocations in their police stations - any sharing possibilities?  Not.
 
Will State of CT mandate regional dispatch?
Newtown considers regional emergency dispatch
DAY
Associated Press
Article published Sep 9, 2014

Newtown (AP) — Two volunteers researching whether to establish regional emergency dispatch for Newtown have found it can increase public safety and save money...

The Police Commission and many emergency responders, including the town's 10 dispatchers, oppose regionalized emergency dispatch. They say it sacrifices autonomy and community familiarity that could slow emergency response.

Newtown's dispatch center was recognized for its professionalism and performance during the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings on Dec. 14, 2012.

First Selectman Pat Llodra says state lawmakers are pushing for more consolidation among municipalities.

Please search the New London DAY archives for the remainder of this story.




NYPOST video of Police funeral  in, Brooklyn?




How does any of this relate to CT?

Camden Turns Around With New Police Force

NYTIMES
By KATE ZERNIKE
AUG. 31, 2014

CAMDEN, N.J. — In the summer of 2012, the year this city broke its own record for homicides, there were 21 people murdered here. This summer, there were six.

Just as remarkably, with shootings down 43 percent in two years, and violent crime down 22 percent, Osvaldo Fernandez now lets his sons walk to school alone. Nancy Torres abandoned plans to move to Florida. And parents from Center City Philadelphia are bringing their children here — notoriously one of the nation’s poorest, most crime-ridden cities — to play in a Little League that has grown to 500 players from 150 in its first season three years ago.

Please search the NYTIMES archives for the remainder of this story.





Police Department facility vote story
According to our review of the news on Google, from Town reports, the Police Department building committee is back to renovating existing space and addition: http://www.bethel-ct.gov/filestorage/1190/83/10494/10616/2015-01-29m_sp_mtg.pdf .




Llodra: Claims against Newtown sergeant, dispatcher “shocking” and “insulting”
Danbury News-Times
Posted on May 19, 2015 | By Nelson Oliveira   

NEWTOWN — Days after the town’s Board of Police Commissioners broke its silence on the drug trafficking allegations against two members of the police department, First Selectman Pat Llodra released her own statement condemning the reported actions.

Llodra said the claims against former Sgt. Steven Santucci and civilian dispatcher Jason Chickos are “very concerning” but do not represent a pattern within the department.

A federal grand jury this month indicted the two men, along with six others, on charges of distributing steroids and prescription drugs. Santucci and Chickos are also believed to have conducted drug deals inside the police department, according to court records.

“It is bad enough that these two employees may have been involved in trafficking illegal substances,” Llodra wrote in an emailed statement over the weekend. “It is further shocking and insulting to think that transactions may have been executed right within our police facility...story in full:  http://blog.ctnews.com/newsbeat/2015/05/19/llodra-claims-against-newtown-sergeant-dispatcher-shocking-and-insulting/










TAKE THAT
Hah!  Drone meets its match in Alaska!  But not exactly in Canada:  https://www.adn.com/nation-world/2017/10/16/commercial-jet-collides-with-drone-in-quebec-a-first-in-north-america/







Lawmaker Hopes This Is The Year Connecticut Regulates Drone Use
CTNEWSJUNKIE
by Jack Kramer | Mar 15, 2016 12:07pm

The state cannot afford to delay taking action on regulating the weaponized use of drones, according to Rep. Mary Mushinsky, D-Wallingford...see full and long story here: http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/archives/entry/lawmaker_hopes_this_is_the_year_connecticut_regulates_drone_use/

One of the bills referred to history:  https://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/cgabillstatus/cgabillstatus.asp?selBillType=Bill&which_year=2016&bill_num=148

Program Review & Investigation - REPORT out of Committee:  https://www.cga.ct.gov/2016/JFR/s/2016SB-00148-R00PRI-JFR.htm






SO WAS THIS GUY SURPRISED WHEN HE WAS ARRESTED?
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/05/nyregion/new-jersey-man-is-arrested-after-drone-hits-empire-state-building.html?module=WatchingPortal&region=c-column-middle-span-region&pgType=Homepage&action=click&mediaId=thumb_square&state=standard&contentPlacement=8&version=internal&contentCollection=www.nytimes.com&contentId=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nytimes.com%2F2016%2F02%2F05%2Fnyregion%2Fnew-jersey-man-is-arrested-after-drone-hits-empire-state-building.html&eventName=Watching-article-click&_r=0








Connecticut Audubon Society bans drones in all its sanctuaries
By HAN Network
Weston FORUM
February 2, 2016 i

The Connecticut Audubon Society announced that it has banned the use of drones at all 19 of its sanctuaries because of concerns that they are likely to disturb wildlife and cause an annoyance to visitors...full story:   http://www.thewestonforum.com/59088/connecticut-audubon-society-bans-drones-in-all-its-sanctuaries/






Drone Regulations Should Focus on Safety and Privacy
NYTIMES
By THE EDITORIAL BOARD
JAN. 9, 2016

Though it would have been inconceivable just a few years ago, among the most popular gifts this past holiday season was the drone...http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/10/opinion/sunday/drone-regulations-should-focus-on-safety-and-privacy.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=opinion-c-col-right-region&region=opinion-c-col-right-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-right-region





Greenwich fliers, real estate companies, sending drones into the sky
Greenwich TIME
By Paul Schott
Updated 12:37 am, Monday, January 4, 2016

Points to note, quoted from the Greenwich TIME article:
Very informative artical!
http://www.greenwichtime.com/news/article/Greenwich-fliers-real-estate-companies-sending-6732650.php





Is it a bird, or is it a plane or is it...a drone?  No, it is a creature from the Amazon, as opposed to a Googleplex: 

Amazon reveals a new prototype of one of its delivery drones
Matt McFarland, The Washington Post
Posted: 12/19/15, 4:22 PM EST | Updated: 52 secs ago

Almost exactly two years after announcing its plans to deliver packages with a drone, Amazon revealed a new prototype of one of its delivery drones.  Amazon’s prototype is an octocopter — meaning it has eight propellers and can take off and land vertically, like a helicopter. But the design also includes wings and a “pusher motor” so that it can transition from helicopter takeoffs to the energy-efficient flight of a plane at altitude. A pure octocopter wouldn’t be capable of a range of 15 miles, like this prototype...story in full:  http://www.nhregister.com/business/20151219/amazon-reveals-a-new-prototype-of-one-of-its-delivery-drones






CHANNEL 12 REMINDS US:

STRATFORD - New regulations for drone owners go into effect today.  The FAA is now requiring people to register all small, unmanned aircraft weighing more than half a pound.  Drone owners can register on the FAA website.


FAA begins drone registry Dec. 21
Bart Jansen, USA TODAY 3:44 p.m. EST December 14, 2015

Nearly all owners of remote-controlled aircraft across the country will have to register hundreds of thousands of drones with the Federal Aviation Administration starting Dec. 21 (2015)...story in full:  http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2015/12/14/drone-registry-faa/77275676/



FAA task force wants even smaller drones registered
Alaska Dispatch
Cecilia Kang, The New York Times
November 23, 2015

Drones, those remote-controlled flying machines, are expected to top many wish lists this holiday season.

Now those who open those gifts will most likely need to tell the federal government.

On Monday, the Federal Aviation Administration, scurrying to prepare for hundreds of thousands of more drones flying into the air, released a list of recommendations for how to better monitor recreational use of the machines. Under the proposal, most drone owners would have to register the machines with the federal government, which would place the information in a national database, the first such requirements...story in full: 
http://www.adn.com/article/20151123/faa-task-force-wants-even-smaller-drones-registered



Most drone users will have to register their aircraft, FAA officials announce

BY Adam Edelman, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Monday, October 19, 2015, 4:46 PM

The federal government wants to identify your flying objects.

Most users will have to register their drones with the federal government, officials said Monday, in a move designed to curtail the growing number of close calls caused by the popular unmanned aircraft...story in full: 
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/drone-users-register-aircraft-article-1.2403257




No one injured as it was an early round - hit the  "cheap seats".
NYPD: Teacher arrested for allegedly flying drone at US Open
Channel 12 - The Associated Press
Updated September 4, 2015 2:30 PM

NEW YORK - (AP) -- A New York City teacher was arrested early Friday for allegedly crashing a drone into an empty section of seats at the U.S. Open, police said.

Daniel Verley, 26, faces charges of reckless endangerment and operating a drone in a New York City public park outside of prescribed area.

A police department spokesman said Verley was a teacher at the Academy of Innovative Technology in Brooklyn. Calls for comment to the school and the Department of Education were not immediately returned Friday.

It wasn't immediately clear if Verley had an attorney who could comment on the charges on his behalf.

The drone buzzed over the court in Louis Armstrong Stadium on Thursday night before crashing into the seats. U.S. Tennis Association spokesman Chris Widmaier said no one was injured...story in full:  http://connecticut.news12.com/sports/nypd-teacher-arrested-for-allegedly-flying-drone-at-us-open-1.10807692









WHAT'S THE PROTOCOL FOR USE BY WVFD?
Weston Volunteer Fire Department gets a drone
FORUM
By Gregory Menti on September 2, 2015

Story here:  http://www.thewestonforum.com/53338/weston-volunteer-fire-department-gets-a-drone/





Top secret Clinton emails include drone talk
DAY
By BRADLEY KLAPPER and KEN DILANIAN, Associated Press
Published August 14. 2015 6:15AM 

Washington — The two emails on Hillary Rodham Clinton's private server that an auditor deemed "top secret" include a discussion of a news article detailing a U.S. drone operation and a separate conversation that could point back to highly classified material in an improper manner or merely reflect information collected independently, U.S. officials who have reviewed the correspondence told The Associated Press.

The sourcing of the information could have significant political implications as the 2016 presidential campaign heats up. Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic nomination, agreed this week to turn over to the FBI the private server she used as secretary of state, and Republicans in Congress have seized on the involvement of federal law enforcement as a sign that she was either negligent with the nation's secrets or worse...

The State Department advised employees not to use personal email accounts for work, but it wasn't prohibited. But Clinton's senior advisers at the State Department would have been briefed upon basic protocol for handling classified information and retaining government records. In Clinton's time, most officials saved their emails onto a separate file or printed them out when leaving office. Only recently has the department begun automatically archiving the records of dozens of senior officials, including Secretary of State John Kerry.

In the emails, Clinton's advisers appear cognizant of secrecy protections.

In a series of August 2009 emails, Clinton aide Huma Abedin told Clinton that the U.S. point-man for Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke, and another official wanted "to do a secure" conversation to discuss Afghan elections. Clinton said she could talk after she received a fax of a classified Holbrooke memo, also on a secure line. Later, Abedin wrote: "He can talk now. We can send secure fax now. And then connect call."

But other times, the line was blurred. Among Clinton's exchanges now censored as classified by the State Department was a brief exchange in October 2009 with Jeffrey Feltman, then the top U.S. diplomat for the Middle East. Both Clinton and Feltman's emails about an "Egyptian proposal" for a reconciliation ceremony with Hamas are marked B-1.4, classified for national security reasons, and completely blacked out from the email release.

A longer email the same day from Clinton to former Sen. George Mitchell, then Mideast peace envoy, is also censored. Mitchell responds tersely and carefully that "the Egyptian document has been received and is being translated. We'll review it tonight and tomorrow morning, will consult with the Pals (Palestinians) through our Consul General, and then I'll talk with Gen. S again. We'll keep you advised..."

Story in full:  http://www.theday.com/nationworld/20150814/top-secret-clinton-emails-include-drone-talk





Lawmakers: Time Ran Out on Bill That Would Have Made Armed Drones Illegal
CTNEWSJUNKIE
by Elizabeth Regan | Jul 24, 2015 12:00pm

As four gunshots and the whir of helicopter rotors reverberate across the Internet, Connecticut law remains silent on the issue of weaponized drones.

A Clinton teen unleashed an international media firestorm after he posted a YouTube video of a “flying gun” that shot four rounds from atop a drone hovering in a wooded area. The video has since garnered 2.7 million views.  The gun is a semi-automatic handgun affixed to a homemade multi-rotor helicopter, according to the video posting.

The Associated Press reported that the Federal Aviation Administration is investigating whether 18-year-old Austin Haughwout broke a rule prohibiting the careless or reckless operation of a model aircraft.  In February, the FAA released regulations for commercial drones but did not address recreational use...

NOTE: 

This issue follows on request for study from a previous Session;  we followed this issue and report now the Federal Government has issued regulations for commercial use. 
P.R.I. approved December 11, 2014 report:  http://www.cga.ct.gov/pri/docs/2014/Drone%20Use%20Regulation%20Staff%20Findings%20and%20Proposed%20Recs%20vmeeting.pdf



Story in full:  http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/archives/entry/lawmakers_time_ran_out_on_bill_that_would_have_made_armed_drones_illegal/

------------------

Our previous research below, on surveillance, FAA action, Emergency Services use, NTSB, Pentagon, and our favorite, impact on urban planning.




CCSU Professor To 18-Year-Old: Making Gun-Firing Drone A 'Terrible Idea'
Hartford Courant
July 22, 2015, 10:07am

CLINTON — An 18-year-old Clinton man might be in trouble with federal aviation officials after posting a video online that shows shots being fired from a drone that had been jury-rigged with a handgun.  The Federal Aviation Administration said Tuesday that it was investigating whether Austin Haughwout violated its regulations, which prohibit the careless or reckless operation of a model aircraft...story in full:  http://www.courant.com/breaking-news/hc-gun-fire-drone-investigation-20150721-story.html




How's that again?  

FAA, police investigating gun-firing drone in Connecticut
Jul 17, 8:33 PM EDT

CLINTON, Conn. (AP) -- Connecticut authorities say a video showing a drone firing a handgun in the woods has prompted investigations by police and the Federal Aviation Administration.  Clinton police say the 14-second YouTube video was posted by 18-year-old town resident Austin Haughwout...story in full:  http://customwire.ap.org/dynamic/stories/C/CT_GUN_FIRING_DRONE_CTOL-?SITE=CTNHR&SECTION=STATE&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2015-07-17-20-33-58




Surveillance not a drone in this case...
Norwich surveillance cameras lead to arrests in fraud, gun cases
By Greg Smith, The DAY
Published June 18. 2015 7:11PM
Updated June 19. 2015 10:18AM

Norwich — When police and emergency medical responders arrived at the scene of an accident involving three vehicles Thursday morning, they found a man sitting at the rear of a car clutching his leg — an apparent victim.

But a routine investigation of the accident, aided by a city surveillance camera, revealed the man actually had positioned himself on the ground near the vehicle after the accident occurred, police say. The man was arrested shortly after his release from the hospital.

Thursday's accident was just one of several recent examples of how the city's 16 strategically placed cameras, along with the emergency dispatchers behind the monitors, have provided crucial aid in police investigations, said Norwich Police Capt. Christopher Ferace...

Ferace said it is impossible to actually monitor all of the cameras at all times but they can tilt and pan to watch a live event and are especially useful in looking at past events. The cameras were paid for through Community Development Block Grants.

New London police had proposed a similar system of cameras, but the estimated $300,000 cost was rejected by the City Council last year.  Deputy Police Chief Peter Reichard said there is an existing system of cameras along the port and waterfront areas, along with some on Bank Street.

“However, they are old technology and in need of upgrades to make them more effective,” Reichard said.

Reichard, a proponent of the installation of more cameras, said “the incident in Norwich and others across the nation show what can be accomplished public safety wise through the use of camera systems.”


Story in full:  http://www.theday.com/policefirecourts/20150618/norwich-surveillance-cameras-lead-to-arrests-in-fraud-gun-cases






FAA Green Lights Drone Use For Connecticut Businesses
MARIE K. SHANAHAN Special to The Courant
8:24 a.m. EDT, May 17, 2015

More drones will soon be humming overhead in Connecticut....

Commercial drone use is regulated by the FAA, but recreational use is not. Anyone can buy and fly a drone as a hobbyist. No license or training is required.  But hobbyists have attracted unwanted attention after flying UAVs in public spaces.

...How They'll Be Used

The Travelers Cos. is moving quickly to integrate drones into its operations.

The company says drones will allow it to more efficiently and safely assess property damage, more rapidly adjust claims, and improve safety not only for its own employees, but for vendors and customers too.

Patrick C. Gee, Travelers senior vice president for personal insurance claim, said the company will "immediately expand our UAV Research and Development to include broad-based flight testing." The FAA approval "will also allow for selective use [of UAVs] at customer roof inspections," he said in an email.

"Travelers has licensed pilots on staff that are participating in our current UAV Research and Development," Gee said. "We intend to train our qualified employees to operate the UAVs."

Travelers is the fourth major U.S. insurance company to earn FAA permission to deploy drones "in support of its catastrophic response strategy," according to the company's FAA petition. State Farm, AIG and USAA were cleared for UAV use earlier this year.

Joshua Vilches, the C.E.T. Aviation entrepreneur who on May 5 won FAA approval for his company to fly drones, said he plans to create an "eyes in the sky" consulting business. Vilches said C.E.T. Aviation will offer clients UAV filming services, photography, and aerial data collection, such as mapping and thermal imaging.

...Waiting For FAA Approval

Drones can only be used commercially with expressed permission from the FAA, determined on a case-by-case basis. Businesses must petition the FAA for what's called a "Section 333 exemption." Turnaround time for approvals is averaging three months.

The FAA has been criticized for being too slow to adopt regulations or ease restrictions for commercial drone use. But the UAV petitioners from Connecticut who were interviewed agree that some UAV flight standards are necessary to protect public safety and privacy....

From Hobbyist To Entrepreneur

Vilches, 34, was a teenager when he bought his first model, remote-controlled aircraft. The first time he flew it, he crashed it. But the experience sparked an interest in flight that eventually led him to a degree in aviation technology and a career in corporate aviation maintenance.

"Maintaining multimillion-dollar private jets and helicopters for Fortune 500 companies and for high net worth individuals proved to be very challenging and fun," said Vilches. But the industry was volatile, he said, and in his 17-year career he was laid off three times.

"Flight departments are one of the first to get restructured when a large company downsizes," Vilches said. "Being a witness to all the new UAV technology that was coming down the pipeline, it seemed to be the perfect opportunity to get back to my radio controlled roots and see if I can use this technology to create a viable business."

Vilches, who is also a licensed pilot with 17 years of recreational flying experience, predicts UAVs will create more jobs as demand increases for low-cost aerial services.

"The UAV market will take a small bite out of the very expensive full-sized aircraft they are replicating," he said. "Smaller companies, farmers, law enforcement agencies, environmental and engineering firms with lower operating budgets can now have the means to use UAVs to enhance their businesses or operations."

Most UAVs are all electric and produce zero emissions, so they are more nimble and environmentally friendly, too, Vilches said.

Vilches said he didn't think drones would proliferate in the skies as quickly as mobile phones have multiplied in our pockets.

"It takes quite a bit of skill to operate UAVs to produce professional results," he said.

Still, he added, Connecticut should prepare now for the technology by educating state officials, law enforcement and the public about drones.

"UAVs are growing in popularity and will eventually become easier and easier to operate, so that's why the public needs to become educated in the technology, the difference between commercial and non-commercial UAV operations and respond to regulations that are being proposed today," Vilches said.

"UAV technology is here to stay."

Please search the Hartford Courant archives for the remainder of this story.





Region's hazard team adds drone's eye in the sky to tools
Genevieve Reilly, Westport NEWS
Published 7:39 am, Saturday, May 16, 2015

Emergency personnel in Fairfield County have launched a new tool in their arsenal -- an unmanned drone.

Members of the Fairfield County Hazardous Incident Response Team, based in Westport, got a demonstration and started training in using the drone Friday at Fairfield's Fire Training Center.

"It's such an exciting tool, to use technology like this is really going to revolutionize the information we're getting," Fairfield Deputy Fire Chief Kyran Dunn said...

Please search the Westport NEWS archives for the remainder of this story.






DRONES IN THE NEWS



  
Definition of public airspace
Sen. William Tong, D-Stamford, “We don’t want the legality decided by the FAA.”   Not just a problem on our "side of the pond"...


Connecticut lawmakers mull warrant requirements for drone use by authorities
New Haven REGISTER
By Mary E. O’Leary
Posted: 02/25/15, 8:04 PM EST |

HARTFORD >> Lawmakers heard praise for the proposed use of drones by law enforcement in Connecticut, as long as they operate under the same Fourth Amendment rules that require a warrant for surveillance of an individual...

Attorney Tejas Bhatt of the Connecticut office of chief public defender, Wednesday said the proposal before the legislature would allow police to spy on the public without court approval, using the standard of “reasonable and articulable suspicion that an offense has been or is being committed.”

He said he is certain this lower level standard would be overturned by the courts as unconstitutional.

The 13 other states that regulate law enforcement’s use of drones all require a warrant in the case of private property and individuals...David McGuire, staff attorney for the ACLU-CT, said lawmakers could make those exceptions absolutely clear by amending the proposed law.

But to leave in the “reasonable and articulable suspicion” standard would make Connecticut “clearly an outlier.”

McGuire said this is the last opportunity to regulate drones before the Federal Aviation Administration does so in November.  Both McGuire and Bhatt said the capability of drones, as opposed to planes and helicopters, is much more invasive.  They can be equipped with heat-sensing devices, night-vision cameras, facial recognition technology and license-plate readers and are cheap to operate.

Unlike helicopters, they can get very close to private property.  State Sen. John Kissel, R-Enfield, said he did not want to handicap law enforcement and he wished that it wasn’t as time consuming as it is now to get a court search warrant...story in full:  http://www.nhregister.com/general-news/20150225/connecticut-lawmakers-mull-warrant-requirements-for-drone-use-by-authorities





Man who crashed drone into White House turns self in
By Jamie Schram, Bob Fredericks and NYPost Wires
January 26, 2015 | 3:56pm


A man contacted authorities Monday to admit he was responsible for the drone that crashed earlier on the White House grounds, sparking a security scare and temporary lockdown of the building and grounds.  A government official said the man told the Secret Service that he was using the drone recreationally and didn’t mean to fly it over the White House.  The official said the operator of the drone is a Washington resident and that he’s cooperating with investigators...story in full:  http://nypost.com/2015/01/26/man-who-crashed-drone-into-white-house-turns-self-in/








SEEN FIRST AT NYTIMES
Story in full:  http://www.politico.com/blogs/media/2015/01/cnn-strikes-drone-deal-with-faa-200930.html?hp=b2_l1




 
Obama-led drone strikes kill innocents 90% of the time: report
By Andrew Blake - The Washington Times
Thursday, October 15, 2015

Drone strikes conducted by the United States during a 5-month-long campaign in Afghanistan caused the deaths of unintended targets nearly nine out of ten times, leaked intelligence documents suggest...story in full:  http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/oct/15/90-of-people-killed-by-us-drone-strikes-in-afghani/




Pentagon seeks speedy ‘autonomous’ drones for urban operations
By Douglas Ernst - The Washington Times -
Thursday, January 1, 2015

The Pentagon is developing lightweight autonomous drones with the flight capabilities of small birds and insects that can zoom through tight spaces at high speeds.  The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) new Fast Lightweight Autonomy (FLA) program hopes to put troops in possession of drones that can fly up to 20 meters per second in tight urban environments....DARPA will hold a Proposers Day webcast on the program on Jan. 6 from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. EST. Companies that hope to take part in the program must submit their proposals by Feb. 5.  For story in full:  http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/jan/1/pentagon-seeks-speedy-autonomous-drones-urban-oper/





Will WestCOG get one?

Aerial videography business lifts off for Oak Harbor brothers
by RON NEWBERRY,  Whidbey News-Times
Dec 27, 2014 at 5:00AM

...“We are basically a flying camera,” Paul Skinner said.

Getting their business off the ground didn’t come without careful research, an understanding of legalities and attention to rules.  The Skinners needed to navigate through the gray legal areas regarding drone usage and the stigmas attached to the devices themselves.

“The term ‘drone’ has gotten a different kind of popularity over the past year,” Paul said. “We drop the word when necessary. Some people have strong opinions about the word drone. They think of military spying and that sort of stuff.”

Flying unmanned aircraft for recreational use is allowed by the Federal Aviation Administration as long as it follows prescribed weight (less than 55 pounds) and safety rules.  However, the FAA doesn’t endorse commercial usage and has been ordered by Congress to issue national rules legalizing drones for such purposes by September of 2015.

The rules are expected to be revealed early in the year as the FAA projects 10,000 such devices in the U.S. skies by 2017.  The Skinners, whose father is a prominent Oak Harbor attorney, believe their business model to be unique and compliant.

“We are not charging for the service of flying,” Paul said. “We’re charging for content.”

“We charge for our video and photo-editing services,” Justin said.

“We prefer the word cinematography. Video can pertain to home video of a family celebrating a birthday. Cinematography is geared more toward professional video production...”

Well-versed in privacy and safety rules, they know not to send their drone buzzing higher than the FAA’s allowable limit of 400 feet to avoid other aircraft, even though it is capable of heights five times that number. They also must respect a two-mile, no-fly zone around Whidbey Island Naval Air Station, as well as people’s privacy.

“UAV use on a personal level is completely legal as long as you’re respecting the privacy of people’s property or boundaries,” Paul said. “Just like you’re not going to stand in somebody’s backyard with a normal camera.

“Some people say they’re used for spying. That’s like saying that’s what cameras are for.”

Story in full:  http://www.whidbeynewstimes.com/news/286902021.html







OUR QUICK SUMMARY:
The Bi-partisan Program Review and Investigation Committee report notes that its reach is only to Drone use by State and Local government, and the Federal Government is in charge of regulating private use of drones.  Recommendation by About Weston:  Purchase blinds.

Story in full here:  http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/archives/entry/committee_approves_drone_recommendations/





http://appealinglybrief.com/2014/11/18/ntsb-rules-that-drones-are-aircraft/#more-3076




Making commercial and recreational drones safe
Washington Post
By Editorial Board December 14 at 6:21 PM

THE POTENTIAL for unmanned aircraft — also known as drones — to make life easier is tantalizing, eliciting images of tiny package-delivery devices zipping around town so UPS trucks wouldn’t have to. On the other hand, as The Post’s Craig Whitlock reported, the Federal Aviation Administration has received 25 reports of drones nearly striking manned aircraft in the past six months, often near airport runways. So should the government crack down or loosen up? In fact, it should do both.

...Meanwhile, the FAA should also find better ways to keep drones out of sensitive airspace. It is already tracking down operators responsible for breaking the government’s fairly simple restrictions, and it takes pride in its efforts to educate hobbyists about the rules. It could do more of both. Yet the most effective new enforcement tool might also have to come with Congress’s blessing. Some manufacturers are already building systems into their recreational drones that prevent them from breaching the FAA’s 400-foot ceiling or getting too close to airports. Lawmakers should give the FAA the authority to mandate that these restrictions are written into recreational drones’ firmware — and if Congress doesn’t act, the industry should do so voluntarily.

Editorial in full:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/making-commercial-and-recreational-drones-safe/2014/12/14/199dfb6e-7a79-11e4-9a27-6fdbc612bff8_story.html?hpid=z3


IN NEW HAMPSHIRE, TOO...

Story in full:  http://www.unionleader.com/article/20141214/NEWS07/141219541


IN CT:

Story from Channel 12 in full here:
http://connecticut.news12.com/business/ap-exclusive-drone-sightings-up-dramatically-1.9609191




Planning drones smaller, we think.  Police use for traffic control, as we see it.

How Drones May Reshape The Future Of Urban Planning
http://urbantimes.co/2014/09/how-drones-may-reshape-the-future-of-urban-planning/
Ash Blankenship
13th September 2014

Drones have changed the way we view our cities, offering the possibility of witnessing our neighborhoods and parks from above. In just a few years since their introduction to the public, they have allowed us to peer above the Eiffel Tower, fly above Portland’s Willamette River, and get a bird’s eye view of the London’s Big Ben.

But with increase in drone use, many have raised privacy issues over the devices. Is there a medium for drone use that we can all learn to live with? The answer could be drone zones.

The future of drone use in our cities could lie with urban planners. Zoning for drones could become a new tactic used to specify areas where drones could be used. 

Mitchell Sipus, an urban designer says creating drone zones in urban planning can be beneficial with the right rules. “It’s not really that different than regular automobile traffic. Back in the day, cars were invented, people who could afford them started driving like crazy, getting drunk, driving off the road, driving into trees, causing all sorts of chaos, he tells Popular Science. “But clearly there were a lot more benefits to having automobiles than sticking to the old horse and buggy system...”

Please search the Web at URL above for the remainder of this story.




Drones may give big lift to agriculture if FAA permits
DAY
By CHAD GARLAND Los Angeles Times
Article published Sep 20, 2014

When Steve Morris began building unmanned aerial systems in the late 1990s, he envisioned flying them over fields and collecting data that would be useful to farmers.

But after the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, drones became largely associated with military strikes and surveillance operations. Morris said the technology became the subject of contentious political debates and public paranoia.

"The entire dream evaporated at that point," said Morris, founder and president of MLB Co. in Santa Clara, Calif. "In an alternate universe where (drones) rose to prominence through helping the economy, creating businesses and jobs, people would have a different view of them."

More than a decade later, attention is refocusing on development of drones for commercial purposes. Amazon.com Inc., Google Inc. and Walt Disney Co. are grabbing headlines with plans to develop drones for deliveries, mapping and entertainment.

But the big boom in unmanned aircraft may come from what's known as precision agriculture - using high-tech systems to help farmers increase yields and cut costs...Please search the LATIMES archives for the remainder of this story.




NYC
*
Union issues and collective bargaining agreements, the place to resolve differences?  And in pictures we've seen, the police outside church faced forward, electronically speaking.