1990 to Present Day

1990 -
        
The Department was designated by the City Manager as the 911 answering point for the City of Norwich.  911 equipment was installed and five "civilian dispatchers" were hired to supplement the Police Officer assigned to the dispatch center.

         Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) was also installed in the new dispatch center to assist the dispatchers.

1993
        Bolstered by a State grant the department started a "Community Policing Program" by hiring ten (10) additional officers and assigning them to targeted neighborhoods (Downtown, Lake St., Boswell Ave. & the lower West Side area). A downtown police sub-station was funded and the Buckingham Memorial building at 307 Main St. was renovated and brought up to code for this purpose. The code work and renovations were fully funded by the State "Safe Neighborhoods" grant program. The sub-station was in use for nearly a decade.  In the process the department adopted the philosophy of "Community Oriented Policing" as its model for policing.

1996 -
      A
Federal COPS Grant added Five (5) Officers to expand the neighborhood policing program.  A police bicycle program was implemented with ten Trek police patrol bikes and twenty-two specifically trained bike patrol officers.

1997 –
     Mobil Data Terminals installed in Patrol Division cruisers.  These devices give immediate access to critical information for patrol officers.  It also gives Police Dispatchers the ability to communicate silently with the patrols in the field when necessary. 

     The Police Dispatch Center was enlarged by taking over the Public Parking Commission office and shrinking the public lobby.  The new Dispatch space was upgraded with three dispatch stations and new and enhanced electronics and radio equipment in order to provide dispatch service to the City's Fire service.  Three (3) additional 911 Emergency Dispatchers were hired and added to the five (5) current dispatchers to assist with the added work load.

1998 -
     A new computerized "police reporting system" created that improved officer efficiency and quality of the police reports.

1999 –
     Digitized Arrest Booking system added.  Affords the Department the benefits of color digital photographic "Mug Shots" of arrestees and the capacity to create computerized "Photo Line Ups" of possible suspects.

2000 –
     Youth Citizens Police Academy program implemented.  The first in a series of "Citizen Academies" planned to better communicate what we do and how we do it with the public we serve.

2003 -
     Police Chaplaincy program initiated for both citizen and officer support.  These volunteers have provide countless volunteer hours.  They have proved to be invaluable to our operation with regard to Death Notifications, serious injury and a host other support services.

2004 -
      Crisis Intervention Teams (CIT) were trained to assist the mentally ill. The CIT officers are supported by S/E Mental Health and Mobile Outreach workers.

      An in-house Domestic Violence, Victim Advocate for Law Enforcement program (VALE) was developed and funded through a State grant.  This outreach program gives our patrol officers and domestic violence victims immediate access to victim advocate services at the time of such investigations.  This program has served as a model for law enforcement.

2006 -
         A
Federal Earmark Grant was obtained with the assistance of Congressman Rob Simmons for a Cyber Crime Mobile Investigative/Command Vehicle.  The vehicle is used for Internet Safety Training and Cyber Crime Investigative purposes as well as functioning as a Communications Command Vehicle.

 

Today –
        The department, which ranks among the oldest in the nation, has come a long way since it’s inception, over a century and a half ago as a City Watch. At present, the police department’s responsibilities are a far cry from what was expected when it was originally established. The major responsibility for the department in the early 1800’s was simple; "watch over the City and keep the public peace".

        Its obligations are much more complex as we continue in a new Century. The department now covers nearly thirty square miles that make up the City of Norwich, with its more than two-hundred and twenty-three (223) miles of streets and state highways, and approximately 38,000 residents. The department has continued to grow, expand and progress to meet the added demand for the ever expanding variety of police services.  The original police force of some fifteen sworn officers had grown to ninety-five officers, along with a complement of civilian support personnel.

        Over the years, in order to keep up with contemporary, progressive, and professional law enforcement practices. The Department has embraced a philosophy of "Community Oriented Policing" in its effort to better serve and partner with its citizens.

        Our police officers patrol by boat on Foot, in Cruisers, and on Bicycles in our neighborhoods.  The Department has continually evolved and changed in order to meet the current challenges and to fully support and augment its most important component, the Police Patrol Division.

     The hard work of numerous dedicated individuals over the years and the continued commitment of the men and women currently serving has made the Norwich Police Department an efficient, effective and comprehensive law enforcement agency that our citizens, city officials, and its members have every right to be proud of!

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 Compiled by
Chief Louis J. Fusaro, Sr.