KENT—As the budget season dawns, former resident state trooper Andy Ocif has renewed his plea to the Board of Selectmen for a second resident state trooper for the town.
Ocif, who was resident state trooper for Kent in the 1970s, said the town is still covered by only one trooper 50 years later.
Even though troopers from Troop L in Litchfield respond to accidents and other matters in town when the resident trooper is off duty, the resident trooper handles most of the criminal investigations.
Ocif argues that his very presence on the street is important as residents can approach him to discuss issues.
A resident state trooper is not a benefit without substantial costs, however. Towns are responsible for 85 percent of the trooper’s “compensation, maintenance and other expenses,” a price tag that could be $200,000 or more for the first two troopers and 100 percent of any additional officers.
“We will take a look at it,” said First Selectman Marty Lindenmayer, “but we have only had one trooper for many years.”
“It’s very expensive for even one trooper and we might do better to get more bang for our buck,” he said. “Last year, there was a resounding vote against a second trooper.”
He conceded that Kent is a “growing area with a lot more activity,” and said he wants to sit down with the current trooper and administrators at Troop L to see what can be done.
“Are there other ways we can leverage our dollars?” Lindemayer asked. “The world’s changing quite a bit and we want to keep the town safe.”
He noted an apparent “tolerance for people moving quickly” in a post-Covid America and suggests more police enforcement of speed limits would be beneficial.
“We’re restricted by DOT rules about the number of crosswalks we can put in,” he continued, “but I would like to see blinking lights. And the handicapped parking space at the end of Golden Falcon field is right next to a fire hydrant. There is only a small sign marking it—we’re working with the DOT to see if we can fix that and other things.”