Community Bulletin Board
- 'Brass Valley: Made in America' Exhibit
- IMTI Installs Solar Panel System
- Local Senators support Firefighter Fundraiser
- Sacred Heart H.S. Names Top Students
- Summer Exhibits at the Mattatuck Museum
- Connecticut Museum Open House Day~June 8
- Waterbury Health Care Council Awards
- NAMI announces T-Shirt Contest Winner
- Dolce Fundraiser for Cardiology Center, 6/29
- StayWell Receives Patient-Centered Certification
- American Jazz at Museum’s 1st Thursday
- Palace Theater's 2013-14 Broadway Series
Waterbury Police Department
By John Murray
In February 2012 Deputy Police Chief Vernon Riddick, pictured above, moderated a panel discusssion on the history of the African-American struggle inside the Waterbury Police Department. For decades systemic racism held qualified black officers from advancing beyond patrolmen, and black cops were confined to beats in minority neighborhoods. Grudgingly, the department began to open up, but it wasn't until a federal lawsuit was filed by Cicero Booker Jr. in the early 1980s that measurable change occurred. Eleven months after the panel discussion on racism, Mayor Neil O'Leary has selected Vernon Riddick to lead the Waterbury Police Department in the wake of Chief Michael Gugliotti's retirement. Riddick will officially be the Acting Police Chief while O'Leary searches for a permanant replacement for Gugliotti, who is out on vacation until his retirement on March 18th. In the absence of Chief Gugliotti, Riddick will assume the role of Acting Chief of Police immediately, becoming the first black officer in history to lead the Waterbury Police Department.
Lt. Scott Stevenson
The Waterbury Police Department announced that it issued 246 infractions during the recent Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement mobilization. The majority of these tickets were for driver’s and front seat passengers failing to wear seat belts, but also included citations for drivers failing to properly restrain their child passengers in an appropriate restraint system (I.E. infant carrier, child car seat or booster seat). The Waterbury Police Department joined forces with NHTSA and other state & local law enforcement agencies in support of this Click It Or Ticket mobilization, which featured high visibility and aggressive enforcement of CT seat safety belt laws.
The Police Activity League of Waterbury, Inc. and the Waterbury Police Department is holding a Tip-A-Cop event on Thursday, December 13, 2012 at the Chili’s of Waterbury from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Chili’s is located in the Brass Mill Commons at 205 Union St. Officers will be on hand to help serve the public and to educate patrons about the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics. Patrons are asked to “Tip a Cop” as a donation to Special Olympics Connecticut. For more information please call Lieutenant Daniel Lauer at 203-346-3971 .
Waterbury Detective Robert Liquindoli was arrested Friday morning by FBI and IRS agents on tax charges.Tthe Waterbury Police Department has launched an internal investigation and placed Detective Liquindoli on administrative leave pending the outcome of that investigation. Detective Liquindoli joined the Waterbury Police Department in 2000 and has noy been the subject of any disciplinary action. According to a statement from Waterbury Police Chief Michael Gugliotti, "the charges against Detective Liquindoli stem from a personal tax issue and not from his activities as a Waterbury Police Detective."
Motorists who refuse to wear their seat belts, beware. That’s the message from Waterbury Police Chief Michael Gugliotti, who today announced that Waterbury police officers will participate in the national Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement mobilization beginning December 3rd. The Waterbury Police Department will join forces with other local & state law enforcement agencies to strictly enforce seat belt laws around the clock.
Waterbury Police are investigating a hit and run pedestrian crash that occurred at 11:30 pm Monday night at the intersection of Aurora Street and the Route 73 Connector. Two pedestrians, an 18 year old male and a 21 year old male, were walking west on Aurora Street through the intersection. A vehicle exiting Route 8 North onto the Route 73 Connector struck the pedestrians and fled the scene north on Route 73. The 21 year old male was taken to St. Mary’s Hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries and the 18 year old male was taken to Waterbury Hospital for treatment of serious injuries. The victims’ names are not being released at this time. The Crash Reconstruction Unit and the Forensics Unit spent most of the night collecting evidence from the scene, but the roadway is now open. Anyone with information about the striking vehicle or its driver are asked to call the Waterbury Police. Tips can be called into Crimestoppers at 203-755-1234 and cash rewards will be given for information leading to an arrest.
Paula Bell, left, and her parents, Bill and Janice Smolinski, at the vigil on the Green in Naugatuck.
(Editor’s note - A vigil was held on the Naugatuck Green, August 26th, to mark the 8th anniversary of the disappearrance of Billy Smolinski. Congressman Chris Murphy, Waterbury police chief Michael Gugliotti, CT’s Victim Advocate Michelle Cruz, the Smoliniski family, and Waterbury Observer publisher John Murray all spoke. The following are the remarks Murray delivered at the vigil)
Photographs By John Murray
While much of Connecticut enjoyed another glorious summer day in New England, I spent most of mine trying not to vomit as I closely read through the verdict in the civil trial between Madeline Gleason and the Smolinski family. The lawsuit, filed by a named suspect in the disappearance of Billy Smolinski, took six years, tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees and three days in court. After all of this, Superior Court Judge Thomas Corradino ordered Janice Smolinski and Paula Bell to pay Madeline Gleason $52,000 in damages for allegedly harassing her, defaming her, and falsely accusing Gleason of having anything to do with the disappearance of Billy Smolinski.
Cicero Booker Jr. had to sue the City of Waterbury in federal court in 1981 to shatter the glass ceiling that had kept black police officers from getting promotions inside the Waterbury Police Department.
Photographs By John Murray
Editor’s note - Black police officers faced systemic racism inside the Waterbury Police Department and were by-passed for promotion until Cicero Booker Jr. (middle) filed a lawsuit in 1981. The struggle for equality took decades and the powerful story was shared February 16th at the PAL Learning Center. In addition to Booker (who retired as a lieutenant), the panelists included retired Lt. Sam Beamon, right, and retired Waterbury Assistant Deputy Chief – and current Chief of the Strafford Police Department – Patrick Ridenhour. The moderator was current Deputy Police Chief Vernon Riddick. It was compelling night filled with dramatic testimony and The Waterbury Observer recorded and transcribed the event for our readers. The entire community of Waterbury owes these men a debt of gratitude. In addition to serving and protecting the city against criminals, they battled through bigotry inside the Waterbury PD to help transform the city into a more decent and humane place to live. Thank you.
Vernon Riddick: I was asked a few weeks ago at an NAACP meeting if the Police Department, or PAL, were doing anything for Black History Month. I said I don’t think we are, and I don’t think we have done anything in the past. We brainstormed together and we came up with the idea about documenting the history of the African American police officers in the City of Waterbury. We thought it would be very interesting and be an engaging topic that we think everybody would get something out of it.
Lt. Scott Stevenson is the Commander of the Community Relations Division in the Waterbury PD. Story and Photographs By John Murray
The setting was perfect.
Lt. Scott Stevenson strolled down Elaine Rice’s driveway in the East End of Waterbury and entered a small garden sanctuary to meet with community leaders from the Waterbury Neighborhood Council. Stevenson is the commander of the Community Relations Division and updated the small gathering on several key developments in the Waterbury Police Department.
NAACP Opposes Use
Of Taser Gun
Photographs By John Murray
Connecticut NAACP President Scot X Esdaile addresses a media throng in front of the Waterbury Police Department, May 16th, to call for an investigation into the taser gun killing of Marcus Brown. Esdaile called the taser gun a "tool of torture".