Fairfield Police adopts new technology

FAIRFIELD – When an officer wears a digital actuality headset and delves into situations that educate him the best way to de-escalate tense conditions, this coaching comes – a minimum of partly – due to the sergeant’s work. Michael Stahl.

Stahl has spent a lot of the previous decade working to carry new techniques and know-how into the Fairfield Police Division, most lately receiving an award from the Southern Connecticut Chapter of the American Society for Industrial Safety. The award was for “improvements, forward-thinking capabilities in know-how, and advances in policing.”


“It is all the time nice to be acknowledged,” he stated, including later that he hates being within the highlight. “It pays off to be acknowledged by your administration, your superiors, and your metropolis for doing this stuff. However, on the similar time, I do not see it going any additional. I see it doing my job.”

Stahl stated he moved from rotating to administrative work a number of years in the past and began the best way to enhance the division via implementation New software program and know-how.

This lately included a proposal to accumulate new tools equivalent to stun weapons, physique cameras and digital actuality tools that may support in de-escalation coaching, Stahl stated.

“A full vary of merchandise and packages are from Axon Enterprises,” he stated. “The town was really ready to make use of[the American Rescue Plan Act]funding. Over the following 10 years, we even have all this tools that can profit not solely our officers, however the group as effectively.”

A lot of this tools will assist the division enhance transparency and public belief, Stahl stated.

Officers use a VR headset with an inert stun and a firearm that they’ll observe in situations targeted on empathy and de-escalation. He stated that Axon incessantly updates the introduced situations to current a wide range of conditions.

About eight years in the past, Stahl labored with Fairfield College to create the Secure Return Program, primarily a database on the division that collects info on folks susceptible to wandering.

Stahl stated the database accommodates info on folks with circumstances equivalent to Alzheimer’s illness or autism and permits officers and dispatchers to entry info and pictures that can assist them quicker and extra effectively establish an individual. It additionally contains folks’s pursuits, hobbies, locations they like to go to, in addition to issues they’ve aversion to or security considerations.

“Issues that can assist us not solely find them, but additionally take care of the placement as soon as we do this,” he stated.

He stated he got here up with the thought after an incident whereas on patrol in 2012 wherein he and a fellow officer discovered an autistic teen who was nonverbal in the midst of the night time.

He was not sporting any footwear or socks. He was getting moist. Come discover out, stated Stahl, he was drowning in sound. “He was within the Southport space of ​​town. He couldn’t converse. He couldn’t write to us. To make sure his security, we had no alternative however to ship him to the hospital.”

Stahl stated they needed to look forward to a loud name from the teenager’s mom within the morning. From that decision, he stated, administration determined they wanted a system in place for any such state of affairs.

“I went to Fairfield U for an affiliate diploma, so I used to be ready to make use of a few of the relationships I had there to get a partnership with their software program engineering college,” he stated. “A professor there made it a capstone undertaking for 2 of his senior college students. This program was put into observe shortly thereafter.”

He stated it has been used a number of instances since then.

Stahl stated there are lots of methods know-how can be utilized to make officers extra environment friendly of their jobs.

“There are lots of alternatives on the market, and it is only a matter of getting that forward-thinking to search for them, discover funding for them, implement them and supply coaching,” he stated. “An vital a part of police work these days is to all the time search for the following step.”

Stahl stated he’ll proceed to search for improvements that assist the division, including that the aim and mindset of the Fairfield Police Division is to acknowledge wants and work to seek out options that make progress.

joshua.labella@hearstmediact.com