Two new officers in training
Most Americans grow up watching police shows on television like Law and Order and Cops.
The difference for the Wilton Police Department’s newest recruits, currently in on-the-job training, is that they saw shows like that and a light went on in their head. They decided to become police officers.
“Yea, the TV shows had an influence on me,” said Christopher Ventura, 25, one of the two new recruits.
Ventura and Officer Sean Comer, 26, bring the department’s strength up to 44. The department is authorized to have 45 officers, but in light of budget concerns, 44 will do for now.
Ventura is the first member of his family to become a police officer. He grew up in Shelton.
“My family is proud of me,” he said of his decision to become a police officer. He holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of New Haven in West Haven.
Comer’s story is one of lineage. His dad was an officer, a part-time patrolman. The family was from New Milford.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in law enforcement of Western Connecticut State University in Danbury.
“I wanted a career, where every day I’ll be proud to do it,” Comer said. “Police can make a difference.”
The word of advice from 12-year veteran Capt. Robert Cipolla is to ask a lot of questions.
The two have already been through six months of training at the police academy, and now they have on-the-job training for the next 12 weeks. Then they’ll have regular duties on the force.
“There are a lot of good people in the department who have the experience and knowledge to help people, so just ask questions,” Cipolla said.
An interesting twist is the way the officers came to the department. They took a regional test, Cipolla said, and were then approached by departments in the area that needed to hire, so there was no individual Wilton test.
The officers chose Wilton knowing it’s a good community.
It’s a place where the police and the citizens enjoy a comfortable relationship, as evidenced by programs such as Coffee With A Cop, where police casually drink coffee and chat with residents about the news of the day, Tip A Cop, where officers serve food in local restaurants, Stuff A Cruiser, where officers collect toys for poor children, and Random Acts of Kindness, where officers hand out roses to drivers and pedestrians in Wilton Center.
“The community is very supportive,” Cipolla said. “Wilton is the kind of community where residents say thank you to the police officers for what they do, every day.”