Wilton task force invites public to security presentation
Wilton’s new Security Task Force is inviting the community to a special task force meeting Wednesday, April 3, at 7:30 p.m. in the senior lounge at Comstock Community Center.
The meeting will feature a presentation by guest speaker S. David Bernstein, president of Forensic Consultants LLC in Norwalk. Dr. Bernstein is an expert in threat assessment, corporate risk management and deceit detection. He has held appointments at Yale University School of Medicine and Harvard University Medical School, where he completed his residency in forensic psychology. He serves as a consultant for state and federal law enforcement agencies.
Dr. Bernstein spoke in Wilton in January at a meeting of the Wilton Domestic Violence Task Force. He has also advised state Sen. Toni Boucher’s School Security Working Group.
“He has studied the kind of people who have caused these incidents, the single shooter going into a school or theater,” said Second Selectman Hal Clark, who is chairman of the task force. “We are trying to bring the task force up to speed on fundamental issues of security,” he added. “I think he’ll help people understand the nature of the most likely threat.”
The task force has met three times in the last three weeks, Mr. Clark said. The Board of Selectmen has charged the group “to further enhance the safety and security of all Wilton’s school children. The task force shall recommend measures to keep school children, staff and town employees safe,” according to a press release.
Police Chief Michael Lombardo is vice chair of the group, which includes school district personnel Ken Post, John Murphy, Jory Higgins, and Roseann DeSimone. Citizen members are John Suchy, a retired Norwalk police officer; Terrie Schwartz, a former FBI agent, and John Logan, who is a security expert at the United Nations.
Mr. Clark said the group is “running pretty fast to get up to speed,” and as part of that effort it took a detailed security review tour of Comstock Community Center.
“That is a place where we have young kids and the elderly, two of the most vulnerable groups,” Mr. Clark said in explaining the reason for the tour, which was led by Wilton police Officer Diane MacLean, who is a security specialist. The building is also slated for significant renovations, and the group wanted to understand from a security perspective “what the weaknesses are. This is something we have to think about in the future for all our buildings,” Mr. Clark said.
Mr. Clark said a safe and secure future lies in the hands of everyone in the community.
“We want to try to create the awareness that we all have to think security these days,” he said.
“We are going to have to change people’s habits. Security is everybody’s job.”
On an official level, he said the budget includes money to bring the Police Department back to its full complement of 44 sworn officers. There has been one vacancy for several years that has never been filled because of economic constraints.
Because security concerns are greater, there is a need to fill that spot, he said.
“How the chief deploys that person, that is not for us to say,” Mr. Clark said.