Beth Gralnick, Police Commission

Beth Gralnick is a Democratic candidate for the Police Commission and is a current member of that board. A former network television news producer for CBS, ABC, and CNN, she has been a Weston resident since 1973 and has been active in a variety of Town, school district, and community organizations.

Ms. Gralnick said one of the main duties of the Police Commission is to hire officers, and she is proud of the record. “I must admit we’ve been very good at hiring, because we have an excellent police force.”

“We’re very choosy,” she said. “We look for potential officers who understand community policing, meaning they’ve taken the time to understand the town of Weston and realize that we’re emphasizing building strong relationships between the police and all members of the community. We expect them to treat every citizen with respect, and to understand that is how they will earn respect in return.”

“I’ve been on the Police Commission long enough to remember the personnel we had 20 years or so ago. They weren’t bad, not at all. But they didn’t know Weston, and didn’t seem to want to. There was no interaction with the community. It was old-time policing. The words ‘community policing’ didn’t exist.”

“It’s so different now. And over the years, I’ve been involved in hiring every member of the current department. I think it’s very important for a commissioner to be involved, to have a relationship with the chief, the captain, and the officers. And of course the community.”

Ms. Gralnick said the prospect of retirements in the force before too long will be a challenge for the Commission. “It used to be easier to bring on new officers,” she said. “Not long ago we would get 50 to 75 applications. It’s not that way anymore. But we aren’t going to hire just any warm body. We will get the best.”

Ms. Gralnick said she “disagrees completely” with another candidate’s statement that members of the commission must have police experience. “We are essentially a civilian review board,” she said. “A police commissioner should be a civilian with no bias one way or the other. In my time on the Commission, we’ve never had to fire an officer, but we have had occasion to take disciplinary action.”

Ms. Gralnick said she was “instrumental” in establishing the School Resource Officer (SRO) program. “The Board of Education and the district administration were opposed,” she said. “Finally, we were able to work together and come up with an understanding. I was the main negotiator for the Police Commission.”

On the topic of speed, Ms. Gralnick said speed trailers increasingly deployed are helpful, not only in collecting data, but also in causing drivers to slow down. She said the Commission has “authorized the chief and the captain to use all available resources to patrol all high-speed roads, particularly the major thoroughfares.”

Ms. Gralnick is encouraged that Weston hasn’t had a car theft in several weeks. “I’m hoping it’s because the message has got out to lock your car and take the keys. Every theft in town was an unlocked vehicle with keys left inside.”

She said she frequently talks to residents about the problem, always sure to explain the policy of non-pursuit for nonviolent crimes. “We have narrow, winding roads. Most people understand how dangerous it would be to have a high-speed chase here.”

“People contact me all the time with their issues and concerns,” she said. “I think they know I listen, that I’m available to hear them and take action. Nothing gets put off.”

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