Elliot Spector, center, of Spector Criminal Justice Training Network, trained the five members of Westport’s Civilian Review Panel on Thursday. Panel members Michael Guthman, left, and Selectwoman Candice Savin are shown during the six-plus-hour session. / Photo by Thane Grauel

By Thane Grauel

WESTPORT — Members of the town’s Civilian Review Panel had a long training course from a law enforcement expert Thursday.

The six-and-a-half hour program, run by Elliot Spector of the South Windsor-based Spector Criminal Justice Training Network, was held in the Town Hall auditorium.

The panel reviews complaints filed by the public against personnel in the town’s emergency-services departments.

“It was very useful for us to get some idea of the complexities of what officers are facing, and how they approach their jobs,” panel Chairman Harold Bailey said after the course.

He said Spector has at three decades’ experience in the subject matter

“He’s unique in having done this so long, and he’s also educated the Westport Police Department, as well as departments all over the state,” Bailey said.

Bailey said the panel has wanted to have a training course since inception, but did not have its full complement of five members until a few months ago.

The panel was created in 2020 by then-First Selectman James Marpe, who appointed Bailey chairman. The two other members of the Board of Selectmen also were appointed to the panel by Marpe.

After the election, Bailey stayed on as chairman, and newly elected Selectwomen Andrea Moore and Candice Savin joined the board. 

First Selectwoman Jennifer Tooker early this year delegated the power to appoint the panel’s remaining two members to the Representative Town Meeting.

Teresa Fabi, a former a former New York prosecutor, and Michael Guthman, a former RTM member who has been active in many community groups, were appointed by the legislative body in March.

All five members attended Thursday’s training session.