David Muller is a Democratic candidate for the Police Commission and a current member of that board. A resident of Weston for 25 years, Mr. Muller has previously served on the Board of Selectmen, Board of Finance, and Planning and Zoning Commission. Professionally, Mr. Muller is a portfolio manager. He is involved with several community organizations.
On one of the topics most frequently raised to police commissioners, Mr. Muller said speeding is part of “a larger disregard for traffic rules. Everyone is in a hurry. People get angry at drivers going the speed limit. People are passing in no-passing zones. And, ironically, when people come to the Police Commission with concerns about speeding on their road, everyone acknowledges it’s often their neighbors doing the speeding.”
“The speed monitors we’ve put out help,” he said. “When people are aware of how fast they’re going, they tend to slow down. And the police are making more stops and issuing citations.”
Mr. Muller said the Commission asked the Department of Transportation to evaluate speed limits, signage, and lanes on major roads that are controlled by the state, not the Town. But in the end, he said, “it’s a matter of people taking personal responsibility for adhering to the law and driving responsibly and safely. The last thing we want is a pedestrian getting injured by a careless driver.”
Regarding vehicle thefts in town, Mr. Muller was encouraged by recent arrests of car thieves in Westport — at least one age 12 — and said it is important to keep in mind that Weston is “an extremely safe town.” He doubted that a larger police force is necessary, but said the Commission may have to replace several new officers who may retire in the next few years.
“Our current police officers are excellent,” said Mr. Muller. “We will have to make sure we continue hiring the right kind of officers, and open up to the widest universe of potential officers as possible,” noting that recruitment has lately become more challenging.
On the topic of whether the two elementary schools should have School Resource Officers (SROs), Mr. Muller was careful to distinguish between the SRO role and that of patrol officers. “An SRO is an interface and an authority voice that is not a school voice and not a parent, but a go-to resource for kids.”
“The program has been a great success,” said Mr. Muller, proud that the high school SRO was asked to speak at graduation. (The SRO, Officer Joe Mogollon, was recently promoted to detective.)
Mr. Muller doubts that “the kind of engagement an SRO” has with more mature students would occur at lower schools, but said, “if parents and the Board of Education would be more comfortable with an SRO, and understand that it’s not just another cop with a gun on campus, we would absolutely look at it.”
Mr. Muller rejects another candidate’s contention that experience as a police officer is a requirement for service on the Police Commission. “I respect those who have police experience,” he said, “but I disagree that it is a requirement for this position.”
The Commission, he said, is a supervisory body, a group of citizens who volunteer and are elected, with a mandate to be the oversight and reporting authority for the police department.
“The chief manages the police department,” said Mr. Muller. “We provide the framework that the department operates in.”
“It’s our responsibility to understand the operations and requirements of the police,” he said. “It’s great to know what it’s like to be a policeman, but we don’t need to have sat in that seat to know how to budget, negotiate a contract, and deal with traffic issues. I just don’t agree that, in order to regulate, you must be one of the individuals who has been supervised.”
“For example, as a Selectman I reviewed budgets for Public Works, the Board of Education, Fire Department and others. I made it my responsibility to understand what their requirements were. I didn’t need to have driven a snow plow, taught a class, or driven a fire truck to understand the needs and requirements of those departments.”