Friday, October 10, 2008

Naugatuck PD recognized and rewarded (WTNH-CT)

Naugatuck PD recognized and rewarded

by News Channel 8's Alan Cohn
Posted Oct. 10, 2008
6:10 PM

Naugatuck (WTNH) -- A Team 8 Investigation blew the lid off illegal immigrants being used and abused by the owner of several Dunkin' Donuts along the shoreline. Now Naugatuck Police are being rewarded for their part in getting justice for the victims.

For the Naugatuck Police Department, it's a windfall at a time when many municipal budgets are being squeezed if not slashed. A $200,000 check courtesy of ICE, or Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

"Today we reward the Naugatuck Police Department for their critical assistance and role in this investigation. We could not have successfully prosecuted this case without them," said Bruce Foucart, ICE Special Agent in Charge.

The investigation resulted in last year's prosecution of the owner of 10-shoreline Dunkin' Donuts. Jose Calhelha pleaded guilty to harboring and employing illegal aliens. The $200,000 is part of the million dollars Calhelha paid in fines.

What did the Naugatuck Police Department do to deserve the cash? It provided a Portuguese speaking officer who played a key role.

"We are fortunate to have a foreign language speaking investigator here who was instrumental in establishing a rapport with some of the aliens involved with the investigation and assisted in providing interviewing skills and information for the ICE investigation," said Chief Christopher Edson from the Naugatuck PD.

Federal authorities are crediting a Team 8 Investigation for bringing the case to light in the first place.

"We certainly appreciate the fact you and your TV station brought that information to us and it started the whole thing off," said Walter Wilkowski, ICE Special Agent.

Most importantly, ICE says, the story and the prosecution that resulted has had a chilling affect.

"One of the goals we have when we go after an employer for hiring illegal aliens is to change their hiring practices I believe that's happened with the Dunkin' Donuts franchises and Dunkin' Donuts Corporation," Wilkowski said.

Naugatuck will use the money to upgrade its mobile data system making it easier and quicker for officers to obtain driving records and criminal records in their cars.

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