City council debates whether to keep police officer once grant expires

Norwalk would be responsible for the full cost of the officer for the second half of 2013 and then the full cost beginning in 2014.
Scott Seitz2
Dec 13, 2012


The city of Norwalk recently discussed whether to take on the full cost of a police officer once the COPS grant expires next year.

Officer Paul Gardner was hired a couple years ago, with the help of the COPS grant, which pays for the officer's base salary.

Because that grant is set to expire in mid-2013, city officials were faced with deciding whether they could afford to keep the officer employed.

Keeping Gardner would mean Norwalk must pay the full cost of the officer for the second half of 2013 and then the full cost beginning in 2014. The full cost for an officer for one year, including salary, benefits and uniforms, was estimated at city council at about $80,000 annually.

When passing the 2013 budget during its recent meeting, council made its decision.

A story about this subject was published in the Reflector.




@ CC:

Why scratch your collective heads over this one when increased public spending seems to be your primary fiscal agenda?

Keep the officer on the city's payroll and let some future CC and Admin. take the heat for hiking taxes and/or fees that will eventually be needed to pay for this and all the recent new spending.

Cliff Cannon

Here's hoping Paul Gardner is hired on full time. Not only, is our force staFFed at 1989 levels,which is to say;We need more cops. Paul Gardner--- who dreamed of being a cop as a child. Seems to be not only an extraordinary cop,but an extraordinary man as well.

And in this day and age,isn't a man of his caliber is worth keeping ?


I gotta say getting rid of an officer at this point would be pretty stupid. We need all of them the way things are going in this city. Officer Gardner is a good guy too. I hope they keep him.

hit the road jack

Don't say that I haven't told you so! the drawback with Govt. grants to hire someone,you hire them,they pay the wages only for a year or so then the bottom falls out(the Govt. piggy bank runs dry)then the poor guy has got to go find a job,don't blame Norwalk,blame the damn Govt. for their stupid grant system and its misleading ways. I don't know the guy and he may be a better cop than what they have,its just sad that this is the way it is,but if he is any kind of cop he will be hired,what about HCSO? that would be better and less headache than city cop.

swiss family

without making this a personal issue, and I am sure that this officer has done an outstanding job, but I think we need to look at what woulds benefit the city best and at the most economic fit for all involved.I wonder if the city ever considers the option of becoming involved in an "internship" perhaps through the vocational schools (EHOVE being one) and using some of those talented people who are just dying for someone to give them some experience..and I would imagine the pay could be so much cheaper as well..

Dr. Information

swiss, you do realize that you cannot have an "intern" roaming around Norwalk acting like a police officer right? They won't be able to be armed, are not deemed by the law able to enforce any laws as an officer, because they are not one. So you would be paying someone who has no jurisdiction, no badge, no say, and no experience as an officer....pretending to be one. Yeah here's another GREAT IDEA from the good old Swiss Tree of Ideas.

swiss family

Dr,,, if you disagree with my idea that is fine... but to verbally assault me is against the code odf ethics.. if we are enforcing that for everyone...

swiss family

Dr,, I do love the fact that your "contribution" was merely to tell me how my idea was wrong... BUT it is pretty noticeable that you have NO IDEAS of your own that are worth you even mentioning.... it is true , what they say... "a mind is a terrible thing to waste" unless you simply don't have a functioning one...

swiss family

most interns are NOT paid!

Dr. Information

So you want a non paid, inter fake officer roaming the streets of Norwalk unarmed and unable by law to arrest or pull over or enforce the laws? Did I read that correct? How about keeping it simple and just keep the trained, official officer already there. Not all ideas are good ones and clearly yours isn't.

swiss family

I do believe that even an unpaid intern that is wearing the uniform would have the authority to pull over and interrogate anything and anyone suspicious.Obviously I am not as well associated with the Norwalk Police department as you seem to be, so at this point, I would probably NOT recognize any of the Policemen in town anyway.. so if one were to pull me over, I wouldn't have any idea if he were a "real" one or an intern.. I would show them both the same respect.... or how about this Professor... we use actual policemen for the D A R E programs... and Safety town.... so these officers are probably making a decent salary... so why not train an intern to do that.. where they do not need a gun, and move the current "real" officers to street patrol???? again I am reminded that "a mind is ma terrible thing to waste"

Cliff Cannon

@ Mr. Family : Personally,I think you have a good idea in using a 'reserve' oFFicer ( rather than an 'intern') for programs like "Safety Town" as well as " Dare". Last I knew,'reserve' policeman made $9 per hour, which certainly would be far less than a full-time policeman.

However, " blogville " is obviously,not the best place to find out the viability of your idea. That place would be to ask Chief Light himself.

So why don't you (if you know the chief) just ask him ? If you don't know him,either meet him or write him with your suggestion. No doubt,the Chief being a tremendous public servant will listen,then tell you the pro's & con's of your idea. So get crackin on this one,please.

P.S. I'll bet a wooden nickel the Chief has already thought about your idea