Harry Rilling was first elected Mayor on November 5, 2013 following a campaign that offered open and accessible government, fiscal responsibility, and responsiveness to the educational needs of the City. Harry has kept those campaign promises to Norwalk voters who have overwhelmingly supported him in four elections. Harry is a lifelong Norwalk resident, former Norwalk police officer and Norwalk Chief of Police, and current Mayor of Norwalk. He has seen the City grow, expand, and become the beautiful diverse community it is today. It is his privilege and honor to serve the residents of Norwalk.
On a personal level, Harry is married to Lucía Rilling and makes his home in West Norwalk. He has three children, seven grandchildren, is an avid golfer and loves to read.
The devastating loss of his father when Harry was just 14 thrust him into adulthood too soon, as he and his older brother quickly became caregivers and a support system for their mother and younger siblings. Harry worked odd jobs to support the family. These early years of heartbreak were formative to his lifelong commitment to helping others. After graduating from Norwalk High School during the Vietnam War, Harry volunteered for military service. For four years he served his country in the Navy to help protect our country’s freedoms.
After being honorably discharged from the Navy, Harry returned home to Norwalk and was hired as a Norwalk police officer. Harry walked the beat of South Norwalk, performed undercover work to root out drugs, prostitution, and illegal activities from the city’s downtowns, and made a name for himself as a dedicated and honorable law enforcement professional. During his time as a NPD officer, Harry furthered his education by obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration with a concentration in Labor Relations and Human Resource Management.
In 1995 he was sworn in as Chief of Police in Norwalk. During his tenure as Chief, Harry had zero tolerance for bad officers who violated the public’s trust. He stands proudly with the women and men of the NPD who protect the city, and supports appropriate accountability for law enforcement. Harry believes being a police officer is an incredible honor and comes with great responsibility. For more than 40 years, Harry proudly wore the NPD uniform and served the Norwalk community with honor and distinction.
Following his retirement from the NPD in 2012, Harry was appointed to the Zoning Commission where he served until he was elected Mayor in 2013. The City of Norwalk, under Harry’s steadfast leadership, has seen a record-level of funding for education services without major tax increases, a severe drop in violent crimes, and a significant commitment to community services.
Harry recognized a need for greater community service functions in Norwalk, and spearheaded the creation of a Community Service Department in 2019. This department has proven to be critical in helping residents receive food, financial assistance, and other social services throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Norwalk is a modern city that welcomes families, children, and people of all backgrounds and beliefs. Harry believes diversity is a strength, and is proud to be your Mayor.