Harry W. Rilling was elected Mayor of the City of Norwalk on November 5, 2013 following a campaign that offered open and accessible government, financial responsibility, and responsiveness to the educational and structural priorities of the City.
The City of Norwalk, under Rilling’s steadfast leadership, has seen: record-level of funding for education services without major tax increases, a severe drop in violent crimes, and a significant commitment to community services. Norwalk is moving into the 21st century as a revitalized, modern city that is welcoming of all people.
Born and raised in Norwalk, Harry Rilling graduated from Norwalk High School in 1965 and enlisted in the United States Navy in 1967. During his military service, he was stationed at the government's largest communications facility in Isabella, Puerto Rico, where he served as a communications specialist with a Top Secret Special Category Security Clearance. In 1970, he was assigned as communication supervisor at the headquarters of the Commander-in-Chief of the Atlantic Fleet. He received an Honorable Discharge from the Navy with the rank of E-5 in 1971.
In September of 1971, he joined the Norwalk Police Department where he began his career as a patrolman. He was promoted to the rank of Detective in 1976 and received assignments to the Burglary Squad and the Special Services (Narcotics) Division. In 1980 he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant and performed his duties as supervisor in both the Patrol and Communications Division.
As a Lieutenant from 1983 to 1987, he served as Commanding Officer in charge of recruitment and training, crime prevention, community relations, traffic, safety and collaborative planning. In 1987 he was promoted to Deputy Chief. As second in command of the Norwalk Police Department his area of responsibility was expanded to include Command of Field Operations, budget management, oversight of disciplinary review, Freedom of Information Act compliance and labor relations.
In May 1995, Mayor Rilling received his promotion to the rank of Chief of Police, where he served under three different mayors. Following his retirement in 2012, Mayor Rilling was appointed to the Norwalk Zoning Commission where he served until his election as Mayor.
Throughout his career in law enforcement, Mayor Rilling continually pursued educational opportunities in police related fields of study. He earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice from Iona College and graduated Summa Cum Laude in 1989. In 1991, he as a Graduate Fellow he earned a Masters Degree in Public Administration with a concentration in Labor Relations and Human Resource Management from the University of New Haven. He is also a graduate of the FBI Executive Development Course. From 1996 to 2004, he was an Adjunct Professor of Criminal Justice at Norwalk Community College.
In addition to his considerable duties as Chief, he also served on numerous boards and commissions locally and throughout the nation. Harry was an on-site assessor and team leader with the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA). He presided as Chairman of the Mid-Fairfield Substance Abuse Coalition (MFSAC). Harry is past President of both the Fairfield County Chiefs of Police Association (FCCP) and the Connecticut Police Chiefs Association (CPCA). Moreover, he was chosen by the CPCA to be Connecticut's representative to the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). Shortly after September 11, 2001, Harry was selected to teach a course developed by Michigan State University and the Department of Homeland Security titled "Leading From the Front - Weapons of Mass Destruction Awareness for Law Enforcement Executives." For three years he taught this course in various cities around the country including Reno, Nevada; Boston, Mass; and Trenton, New Jersey. He is a Life member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police and a Board member of the National Committee on Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs a committee of the Drug Enforcement Administration. Respected by his peers, Harry was elected to serve as Police Union President in 1976.
On a personal level, Mayor Rilling is married to Lucía Rilling and has three children: Christine, Melanie and Stephen. He is a grandfather of seven. Mayor Rilling makes his home in Norwalk, loves to read and is an avid golfer.