Chairman of the Wilton Police Commission Chris Weldon’s 10-year term limit expires in February 2016, and he will be stepping down at the end of December to allow for the timely appointment of his replacement.
“I’m at a point where I think I’ve done what I can do with the police commission from my perspective,” said Weldon. “I leave it in good hands; I’ve put some new things in place and hopefully they’ll be carried on as it goes forward, and hopefully the things that have occurred in the last year relative to the changes will be positive for both the police department and the town.”
Weldon was appointed to the police commission in 2006 and was voted chairman in 2011. Three different chiefs headed up the Wilton Police Department during his tenure: Ed Kulhawik, Michael Lombardo and now, as of Sept. 22, Robert Crosby.
“He’s probably got the biggest challenge out of the last three chiefs,” Weldon said of Crosby, “because he’s got a whole new force basically, and he can mold them whatever way he believes will most suit the town, and he’s at the helm of it. I think he’ll do a good job; I think he’s an extremely confident officer and chief, and he’s been in this town or around this town since high school, and will make a very good chief for the purposes of where we are today.”
Weldon sat on the police commission through the closure of the Nick Parisot manslaughter case, the introduction of the K-9 and the resolutions of a number of grievances, but he considers the large-scale hiring of so many new officers to be the highlight of his service to the town.
“The biggest change that went on in the police department when I was there is this complete flip of 50% of the force and our hires that have come,” he said. “I think we’ve made some very good hires in a lot of respects; that comes from a very good job of our department looking at and providing us with good candidates to interview. A lot of, if not most of, our candidates were top of their class or close to the top of their class in the training programs, and these guys, when they come out, are still just as eager as when we hired them, and they continue to be good officers and do a good job, I think, in all respects of the town.”
One of Weldon’s contributions to both the Wilton Police Department and the police commission that he said he hopes will last is a change in the process by which chiefs are hired, implemented recently with the hiring of Crosby.
Weldon and his fellow commissioners David Waters and Donald Sauvigné reached out to high school students, business owners, homeowners, real estate agents, organizations like the YMCA, and others to gauge the public’s opinion of what the police commission should be looking for in the search for a new police chief.
“I thought it was important to get the entire town involved, to the degree we could, in the selection of our next police chief. Our police chief is an instrumental part of our town. He is involved in every aspect of the town and what we do every day. His leadership is very important, and I thought it’d be important for the town to be engaged in that,” Weldon said.