Badges in hand, new officers join Greenwich police force

Riverside’s Andrew Grecco, at right, was one of five new police officers formally sworn in Monday morning at Town Hall. He received his badge from Chief of Police James Heavey and began his 18-month probationary period. — John Ferris Robben photo

Riverside’s Andrew Grecco, at right, was one of five new police officers formally sworn in Monday morning at Town Hall. He received his badge from Chief of Police James Heavey and began his 18-month probationary period.
— John Ferris Robben photo

Surrounded by family and friends, five men took an oath to serve and protect the town on Monday morning when they officially became members of the Greenwich Police Department.

At a special ceremony at Town Hall, First Selectman Peter Tesei, in his role as police commissioner, formally swore in new officers Andrew Greco, Daniel Corcoran, Matthew Costella, Frank Eisenach-Fedak and Casey Hutchings. They were then presented with their new badges by Chief of Police James Heavey and, come next Monday morning, they will all report for police academy training in Milford.

“This is one of the most fulfilling obligations I have in my role as first selectman,” Mr. Tesei said before swearing in the new officers. “I consider this a great honor and privilege and I congratulate all of you for attaining this status and wish you all success as you go through the process of becoming a full-fledged Greenwich police officer. You’re joining the ranks of a prestigious organization, one that the men and women who are part of it serve with great commitment and great honor for all the residents of Greenwich.”

Mr. Tesei, a town native, talked about how he always liked to think about Greenwich as Mayberry from The Andy Griffith Show, but that the reality is that this is a town with great challenges for its police department. Noting the size of Greenwich where 62,000 residents are spread over more than 50 square miles including 27 miles of coastline, Mr. Tesei said he is amazed by what the department has to respond to and how well it does it.

“We have all the challenges that law enforcement faces of any modern urban area on a day-to-day basis,” Mr. Tesei said.

One of the new officers is already well aware of these challenges. Officer Greco is a Riverside native and currently works on the Cos Cob Fire Police Patrol. Chief Heavey, a longtime volunteer with the Glenville Volunteer Fire Department, said he could “personally assure everyone” that being a member of the fire department too would not slow anyone down as a police officer.

After being sworn in, Officer Greco told the Post that he was very excited to be able to do this.

“This is something I’ve wanted to do my whole life and I’m so honored to have the opportunity to do this in Greenwich,” Officer Greco said. “I want to be able to give back to the community. I’ve been a volunteer and I’m thrilled to be able to make a career out of something I love.”

Officer Corcoran, a Canton resident, a holder of bachelor’s and associate’s degrees in criminal justice, had been a public safety supervisor for the IPC International Corporation in Farmington, supervising 25 employees and providing public safety, medical assistance and other services to mall patrons.

Officer Costella, from Bethel, has a bachelor’s degree in accounting and has experience as a relocation accounting analyst in Danbury.

Officer Eisenach-Fedak, of Trumbull, has a bachelor’s degree in education and worked as a teacher in the Bronx, N.Y., teaching seventh graders religion and physical education to kindergartners through eighth graders.

Officer Hutchings, from Ridgefield, holds a bachelor’s degree in economics. He was an equity trader in Manhattan and worked for a telecommunications company before being a stay-at-home dad for his two-year-old son before entering the police department.

Chief Heavey commended the men for their strong educational and customer service backgrounds, saying this will make them better officers.

“These experiences that you are bringing with you to this job are going to be experiences you are going to use well in application of your duties as a police officer,” Chief Heavey said. “This is a good place to start your career based on your education and your experiences.”

Even getting to this point was not easy for the five men. To be hired as a Greenwich police officer you must first pass a written test, then a physical agility test before the job interviews begin to see whether you want to go further in the process. Once that’s assured, there’s psychological testing, a polygraph examination and a full medical physical. Chief Heavey said the process can take more than a year. But the work isn’t done yet.

These new officers are now entering into an 18-month probationary period that commenced at the time of their swearing-in, which includes their time in the police academy. According to GPD Sgt. Deb Vesciglio, who is in charge of the department’s training division, the officers will be studying all aspects of Connecticut criminal and motor vehicle law while there as well as how to interact with people. They will be trained how to interview people and in other areas like report writing, traffic stop procedure and how to respond to a domestic violence situation during the almost 818 hours of classroom study that is necessary.

“They’re going to learn everything they could possibly need to know to be a police officer,” Sgt. Vesciglio told the Post.

But that’s just the beginning of the training. When they return from the academy in February, they will receive 12 weeks of field training by partnering with experienced officers.

Chief Heavey noted that of the last six academy classes in the state three had Greenwich officers finishing at number one, and he wanted to see that continue so he would still be invited to the dinner honoring the graduates at the end of their academy training.

“No pressure,” Chief Heavey playfully said, before adding to the officers, “Do your best. This is going to be the first look at you as a potential leader in the department. Don’t just strive to get through it. Strive to do your best. We expect a lot out of you.”

Family and friends of all the new officers attended the ceremony and had a chance to be introduced to the crowd. Chief Heavey said it was good to see such strong family ties at the ceremony.

“You’re going to need that support as you’re working nights and weekends and holidays,” Chief Heavey told the new officers.

Mr. Tesei later added to this theme by thanking the families that came to the ceremony.

“It means so much to your officer that you’re here and you’re showing them unwavering commitment and support,” Mr. Tesei said. “This is a big step and you’re really transitioning them into a new family. I know that family will take extra good care of them.”

These five officers are only some of more than 20 who have been hired by the department in past months. A full staff for the Greenwich Police Department is 155, and more hires are expected due to current officers whose retirements are in the near future.

 

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