Interim Chief Campbell picked as permanent leader of NHPD

New Haven Police Chief Anthony Campbell (WTNH / Jason Newton)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — After being named interim chief back in September, Anthony Campbell got the news yesterday afternoon that he was chosen to succeed former Chief Dean Esserman, and lead New Haven Police into the future.

Campbell will serve as the next police chief to the 455 members of the New Haven Police Department.

Campbell said Monday afternoon that he is excited to begin as Chief.

I’m so eager to serve the men and women of this department and the men and women of this community in making sure that each of us is safer, healthier and more productive where we work, live and play.”

That philosophy of servant leadership that Campbell adheres to, is a main reason why Mayor Toni Harp picked him over two other well-qualified finalists.

“A commitment from his heart because he approaches this from the place of service,” Harp said. “And I think he’ll be able to transmit that to every officer walking on the street.”

A Yale graduate with two degrees, Campbell rose through the ranks of New Haven Police to become assistant chief. He was named interim chief after the departure of former Chief Dean Esserman in September. His vision is to bring more transparency and accountability.

“The department is in no way shape or form broken, but there are things we can do a lot better,” said Campbell. “So for me priorities are transparency and accountability. I believe one of the biggest ways to bring that about is the body worn cameras.”

Three things Campbell wants to bring include a work contract for rank and file officers, who have been in negotiations since June of 2016. He’s also pledged to equip every officer on the force with a work cell phone, so citizens can personally call their beat officer.

“The men and women of this department are committed to making sure that every member of this community knows that they can approach us and talk to us about anything,” Campbell said. “Not simply about criminal matters, but about their lives.”

The third issue deals with domestic violence.

“The thing that we found is the new frontier is domestic violence,” Campbell said.

Both Chief Campbell and Mayor Harp agree that the city needs a family justice center, to provide wrap-around services for victims of domestic violence.

“When I look at the murders last year, over a third of them occurred over domestic violence,” Harp said. “So if we’re going to really reduce crime in our city, we’re going to have to grapple with domestic violence.”

Tomorrow night the Board of Alders will vote to approve a $1.5 million state grant that will provide body cameras for all officers. Chief Campbell is scheduled to be sworn in June 1.

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