Civility Series: Public safety, law among forum themes this fall (UPDATE)

First Selectman Tim Herbst says that the projected increases in the state plan are more stable than the current plan.
First Selectman Tim Herbst says that the projected increases in the state plan are more stable than the current plan.

UPDATE: The first part of the Civility Series — Civility in Public Safety — has been postponed due to the weather forecast this weekend. Civility in Public Safety will be held now Sunday, Oct. 18 at Sacred Heart University.

Charged with intellectual fervor and relevant discussion topics, Trumbull’s first-ever Civility Series hopes to engage residents in a conversation that will lead to a more solidified communal and national peace.

The first installment of the series, titled Civility in Public Safety, begins in the Martire Center on the campus of Sacred Heart University at 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 4. Guest speakers include Newtown Police Chief Michael Kehoe, who was in charge of the department's response to the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, and Frank Figliuzzi, the former assistant director for counterintelligence at the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

“This series comes at a time when our society has been exceptionally uncivil and you look at our first topic, public safety, and you see there’s a lot of unrest between law enforcement and minority communities today,” said First Selectman Tim Herbst, who borrowed the idea from former Stamford Mayor Michael Pavia. “There a lot of topics that are really pertinent that are worth examining and discussing, and it’s my hope that residents take advantage of this tremendous opportunity.”

The series continues the following week with Civility in Politics, which will be held in the Senior Lounge at Trumbull High School at 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 18.

For the Civility in Law discussion that’s scheduled to take place at the high school at 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 8, Herbst has enlisted a pair of former United States attorneys for the District of Connecticut, Stanley Twardy and Kevin O’Conner, to speak at the second forum.

“I respect them both immensely and I’m very proud welcome them both to Trumbull,” the first selectman said. “I think they each bring a unique perspective...

“Stan was not only a U.S. attorney, but he served as chief of staff under Gov. [Lowell] Weicker and now is a managing partner at Day Pitney,” he added. “Kevin, I met in 1998, worked on his campaign for Congress, and have maintained a friendship with over the years.

“It’s amazing the people you meet along the way.”

Similar to the first installment, Herbst believes the second part of the series is perfectly aligned with current events going on with law and order across the country.

“You look at the civil unrest with balancing legal protections with national security — it’s happening right now, and it’s something we should be talking about as a community.”

Into the fall

Herbst plans for the series to carry into the fall, possibly twice a month on Sundays.

The location is subjected to switch between the high school and Sacred Heart University, but the first selectman’s adamant on scheduling speakers to come to Trumbull on the one day of the week nobody is working — adults and children.

“We’d like to keep them on Sundays so everyone can come,” he said.

“I’d really like for high school students to join us and enter into our discussion,” the first selectman added. “They are our future, and they’re the future to our success. This is the perfect opportunity for them to get an extension of learning beyond the classroom.”

Each session will be moderated by a member of the media, who will guide the discussion before opening the floor to the public for a question and answer period.

Herbst believes this engagement will benefit all parties, and will inspire those in attendance.

“People get down on where we are at as a society, but I think that’s what this series is all about,” he said. “We can have disagreements and arguments, but I truly believe nothing is more valuable than a face-to-face conversation and a handshake with someone — that’s what this series is all about, taking of an educational opportunity and hearing a variety of perspectives on important subjects.”

In addition to public safety, politics and law, Herbst plans on having forums that tackle subjects ranging from athletics to politics to media to technology to education.

Civility in Media is scheduled for 5 p.m. at the Martire Center Sunday, Oct. 25. That session will be followed by the law discussion two weeks later.

Civility in Sports follows on Sunday, Nov. 15, at 5 p.m. at the Martire Center with a tentative date set for Civility in Education on Sunday, Nov. 22.

“This is the first of its kind here in Trumbull and we look forward to seeing the community come out and support it,” he said.

“We’re blessed that this idea is attracting really qualified people to come speak to the Town of Trumbull.”