By Elspeth Lodge
Journal Staff Writer
Officials in Westerly and Stonington, Conn., are offering free pool inspections following the recent drownings of two children in those neighboring towns.
Westerly Police Chief Edward A. Mello said, at a joint news conference Friday, that the two tragedies have brought the two communities closer together.
“We want to try and prevent tragedies moving forward,” he said.
Mello said pool inspections are required upon installation. Failure to meet building codes with a pool is a civil, not criminal matter, he said.
The officials announced that they want to do everything they can to make people aware of pool safety issues.
“Police are making themselves available,” Westerly Town Manager Steven Hartford said. “We’re not here to point fingers at anyone.”
The officials stressed that the government is doing as much as it can to take precautions and to provide necessary regulations, but the primary responsibility to protect the children is with parents.
Ed Haberek, Jr., first selectman of Stonington, encouraged people to take advantage of learn-to-swim programs in the communities.
More information on pool safety is available through this Web site.