Retiring Greenwich police officer ‘built many relationships’ on the Avenue as part of Bike Unit

Photo of Robert Marchant

GREENWICH — The Greenwich Police Department said farewell to a 20-year veteran who was a familiar face around town.

Officer Robert Smurlo, who joined the department in 2002, worked as a canine officer with his partner, Altos, and later served in the bike squad that patrols downtown Greenwich. He put in his retirement last month.

In June 2021, Smurlo and other officers carried out lifesaving measures on an unconscious person who had no pulse and was not breathing. According to the department, Smurlo’s actions were key in the person regaining a pulse and resuming to breathe. He was also credited with a number of arrests involving larceny and financial fraud in the central business district.

“Rob always did what he was asked with a smile and was proud to serve in the town he was born and raised,” said a statement from Police Chief James Heavey.

“His outgoing and energetic personality was key in helping the department establish a Bike Unit for all of the central business district,” Heavey said of Smurlo. “He made great strides in improving the department’s communication and built many relationships with the merchants and visitors on Greenwich Avenue.”

In spring of 2021, the police department promoted the new Bike Unit by sending out a photo of TV personality Jerry Springer, former host of “The Jerry Springer Show” who now stars on “Judge Jerry,” meeting up with Smurlo and Officers John D’Inverno while they were out on their new electronic bikes on The Avenue.

That spring, he told Greenwich Time that he supported the addition of the Bike Unit.

“Since the bike unit has been established, we’ve been able to cover much more ground and do more actual policing. We’re also able to respond to calls quicker and on a bike,” said Smurlo, who had been assigned to the detail directing traffic on Greenwich Avenue when he started with the department.

“When we officers are standing in the traffic circle, our main focus is simply traffic direction. We have limited interaction with the public and merchants and we’re not able to leave our posts,” he said. “So when we see something, we called it in and doing that wastes precious time.”

In spring of 2020, Smurlo was photographed while dancing in the street as he directed traffic at a construction site in Bruce Park.

“I got tired of seeing all the depressed looks of people driving by, so I just started jamming to try to get any kind of reaction,” he said at the time.

Before joining the police department, Smurlo worked for the town Department of Public Works.