In Support Of Our Newtown Police Department
To the Editor:
We love Newtown. There are many reasons people have chosen Newtown as their home, including quality education and our community character. Safety is the foundation upon which our community is built. A safe community benefits everyone, regardless of age, sex, creed, or race. SafeWise recently ranked Newtown as the second safest town in Connecticut. We want to recognize our police department’s continued success in their efforts to keep us safe.
We, the Newtown Republican Town Committee, like the vast majority of Americans, denounce racism and the instances of police brutality. We join our neighbors in calling for unity and an open-minded dialogue. We all are disgusted by the recent unjustified killings of individuals in police custody, including that of George Floyd. We acknowledge and empathize with those who have been marginalized. Reforms now being presented merit objective consideration for the positive effects on police-community relations they may bear. As we continuously work towards a country built on our founding principles — one in which all are treated equally and with justice — we believe we are best served by reflecting and improving upon that which has served us well.
Policing is a local and state power under our Constitution. Newtown’s Police Department (NPD) is one we are proud of. NPD is a respected department and its response to recent national events has been a model for others to follow. Chief Viadero and his officers have been proactive, transparent, approachable, and responsive. Many of the police reforms suggested in the wake of these incidents are already NPD policy. Reforms like the mandatory use of body cameras have been in place for years and we are grateful.
While well intended, some recent reform suggestions will have negative consequences. Defunding the police, for example, will erode safety and stability in our community and disproportionately impact those most in need of their services.
The Newtown Republican Town Committee strongly rejects calls to remove police officers from our schools. Newtown has been visited by tragedy and these officers are in place to protect our children. We feel their presence provides a safe environment for our children that is essential to their growth and education.
Now, at a time when so many good police officers who serve us with honor and dignity feel ostracized for the actions of a relative few, we express our appreciation to our police for what they do for all of us. We are safe in Newtown; law enforcement is fair and consistent. Our NPD has adopted best practices early and is continuously improving. Connecticut has been hit especially hard by COVID-19, and our officers put themselves at risk every day to continue to provide the outstanding level of service to which we are accustomed.
There is always work to be done as we strive to live up to our values. Our police department deserves praise and recognition for their accomplishments and as the role model they are for others nationwide.
On behalf of the Newtown Republican Town Committee,
Dennis Brestovansky, Chairman
11 Longview Heights, Newtown July 1, 2020