Frustration boiled over about quality of life concerns in the South Farms neighborhood, specifically the Chamberlain and Chauncey Road areas during the community workshop hosted by the Middletown Common Council at the South Farms Fire District community room on Thursday night.
Resident David Sandler along with neighbors Mike and Cindy Gaudino presented concerns about the harassing use of ATVs and illegal fireworks in their neighborhood, as well as concerns about speeding on Chauncey Road.
“I would like to be able to come home from work and have a quiet glass of wine on my deck without the screaming noise and dust from the ATVs,” Sandler explained.
“The ATVs frighten my horse so I cannot safely be around him,” Cindy Gaudino said. She added that Connecticut statute prohibits in any manner the harassment of domestic animals by ATV riders, which she feels is occurring.
Sandler added, “Every time they explode fireworks, it scares my dog to death. And these are not little fireworks.”
After attempting to address the problems directly with the offending neighbors with no success, the neighbors sought help from the Middletown Police Department but stated they received little to no law enforcement response.
Gaudino said she had become so frustrated with the situation and the lack of local response that she contacted the Chief State’s Attorney’s Office for an opinion interpreting the state statute as it relates to her situation and presented the resulting report to the Middletown Police Department. She stated that even with the opinion from the Chief State’s Attorney, there was still no local action.
“I feel the police department should enforce the law,” she said.
Councilman Gerry Daley responded, “I sympathize with you,” and asked if the local ordinance needed strengthening in order to better equip the police department to respond. Councilman Dan Drew added that he would ask the town attorney to research the local ordinance and request a review to determine if the ordinance needs to be improved.
Chief Patrick McMahon diagnosed that the communications staff might need to hear a clearer directive on rural issues and quality-of-life calls to ensure that an officer is dispatched every time a call is received. He added that he would discuss the issues with the communications director to try to improve the law enforcement response in the future.
In other business, resident Sal Caracoglia boiled over about an ongoing concern he has had with the response of police officers regarding two incidents, and objected to the findings of an internal investigation based on a letter he had received that day from the department.
Chief McMahon verified that an internal investigation regarding the complaint had been completed.
“Sal, we’ve heard this history before,” stated Councilman Daley. “What do you want?”
“I want you to conduct your own investigation!” responded Caracoglia, reminding the Common Council that it has the authority to review any action by a city department.
With that, Daley requested a copy of the internal report from the chief for review by two members of the Council, comprised of one Republican and one Democrat.
In addition, Councilman Joe Bibisi, as a member of the Public Safety Committee, offered to review Caracoglia’s information and reports, providing a check and balance to the process.
McMahon offered the suggestion that both of Caracoglia’s complaints be reviewed simultaneously since both internal reports were completed.
Satisfied with the Council's response, Caracoglia thanked them and calmly collected the protest signs he had mounted outside the building entrance prior to the start of the meeting.
“This makes the fireworks seem easy,” stated onlooker Sandler.