City provides update on search for police chief and crime

The city has recorded no homicides so far in 2022.


Staff reporter


Yale Daily News

A month and a half into 2022, the New Haven Police Department is still without a permanent chief – but officials say the search is beginning.

New Haven has hired the singular firm that bid to lead the search for the New Haven police chief, officials said at a news conference Friday afternoon. Officials also provided updates on crime statistics for the start of the year. While the major turnover has thrown the department into administrative and legal strains, the NHPD has recorded no homicides this year, an improvement from the seven the city has recorded so far in 2021. But the mayor Justin Elicker pointed out that there is still work to be done.

“Now is not the time for us to congratulate each other and say that everything is fine.” said Elicker.

New Haven nears contract for recruiting firm

According to Elicker, after the city issued a request for proposals on Jan. 16 calling on the city to hire a leadership firm to lead the nationwide search for a police chief, only one firm bid on and won the job. The company, Ralph Andersen & Associates, has worked on searches for police chiefs in Cleveland, Columbus, Ohio, Austin, Texas, Fresno, CA, Boise, Idaho and Dallas, and is currently working on a contract with the city. Once the deal is finalized, the company and the city will begin a “community engagement process,” including a survey of community members and NHPD staff.

“It is important that we get feedback from the community and members of the police department on what we all believe are important attributes for the future chief who will lead our city’s police department. Elicker said.

Elicker responded to a question about forming a citizens’ committee to help with the search process: “I’m the mayor and the people elected me to pick the chief of police.” But public input will be taken into account, he noted.

The company will also host several community meetings in partnership with the city and engage in “more focused conversations with stakeholders” during the process, Elicker said.

Elicker added that in accordance with the city charter, he will present a proposed new police chief to the Alder Council. Council will then organize a public hearing process that will allow residents to intervene before voting on the matter.

Update on the number of violent crime cases

On Friday, NHPD Police Chief Rennee Dominguez told reporters that since the start of the year the city had recorded 15 non-fatal shootings and no homicides, and that police had seized 29 firearms and made 26 firearms-related arrests. By comparison, this time last year, the city had 13 non-fatal shootings, seven homicides, 19 gun seizures and 21 gun-related arrests. 2021 saw the city’s highest homicide rate since 2011.

Jacobson said the NHPD is in constant contact with officials in Bridgeport, Hartford and Waterbury about stolen cars and shooting incidents. “This collaboration has helped our officers and detectives bring incidents like this under control,” Jacobson said.

In response to a question regarding unsolved homicide cases, Jacobson said the department has teamed up with the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA): “It’s working really well, everyone is working together.” said Jacobson. “We hope to have good news ahead.”

NHPD Recruitment Update

Elicker said 60 applicants applied for promotion to detective, 44 applicants took the test and passed, although not all were promoted.

In a previous interview with the News, Sgt. Paul Finch said that during last year’s recruitment, the NHPD aimed to recruit more local residents to better represent the community they serve. Finch and the Recruitment and Background Unit attempt to establish a relationship with those who wish to become police officers. Efforts include organizing weekly physical training sessions for the physical agility test.

“During this last phase of recruitment, we have seen the highest [number] for our New Haven community for people of color than previous years, so I think it’s going in the right direction,” Finch said. “I think social media has played a major role…spreading the word and getting involved in the community…having different information sessions throughout the community in different neighborhoods, walking, door to door.”

According to candidate pool demographic statistics provided by Finch, in the 2021 recruitment phase, the NHPD received 523 applications, 32% of which were Black candidates. In the 2020 and 2019 recruiting rounds, 28% and 26% of applications came from black applicants, respectively.

Update on Anton Sovetov

Yale Police Department Deputy Chief Anthony Campbell urged anyone who might have information about missing Yale employee Anton Sovetov to contact him. Campbell said YPD had viewed videos, conducted interviews with Sovetov’s friends and colleagues, and checked out hospitals and the East Rock area because Sovetov likes to hike.

Anyone with information about Anton Sovetov’s whereabouts can contact the Yale Police Department at 203-432-4400 or the New Haven Police Department at 203-946-6316. Anonymous text advice can also be sent through the LiveSafe app.




HANNAH QU


Hannah Qu covers the cops and the courts. Originally from Jinan, China, she is a freshman at Trumbull College.

Amanda J. Marsh