$9.5M Challenge: How To Spot Rogue Cops

Paul Bass Photo Markeshia Ricks Photo He destroyed evidence on one bogus stop. He harassed and arrested a man outside his home on trumped-up charges on another. He shoved and threatened to tow the “fucking car” of a “motherfucker” fisherman who’d parked on a bridge.

Daniel Conklin served a total of one day of suspension for those misdeeds. Then the police promoted him to detective.

Will his future actions spark the next police misconduct case to cost New Haven taxpayers millions of dollars?

Whether it’s Conklin or other cops with a pattern of misconduct, the question is not an idle one in New Haven. Especially not this week.

On Monday the Board of Alders received a request form the Harp administration to borrow $9.5 million to settle a federal lawsuit filed by Scott Lewis, a man who spent 18 years in prison on murder charges trumped up by a detective named Vincent Raucci, who fabricated evidence and who was deeply involved in New Haven’s illicit cocaine trade.

Paul Bass Photo The city settled after it failed to convince a judge to throw out Lewis’s suit. The judge argued that the city failed to rein in the crooked detective’s behavior for years. Mayor Toni Harp said lawyers advised her that, based on past awards in similar cases, the city could have ended up paying $1 million for each year Lewis spent behind bars before a federal judge ordered him freed in 2014 — or $18 million overall. The judge, Stefan Underhill, noted that department brass failed to act on a pattern of misbehavior over the years by Detective Raucci.

The settlement comes at an inauspicious time. The state legislature has missed a deadline for passing a new budget; according to Harp, New Haven is looking at a potential $60 million cash crisis if the state doesn’t pass one by the end of September.

In light of the Lewis settlement, Harp and Police Chief Anthony Campbell said in interviews this week, New Haven is redoubling efforts to identify rogue cops before they even become cops.

“We’ve got to find ways to identify these people and root them out,” Harp said. She also said that the department’s “command structure” must “assure that all of the officers ... are honest. If they’re not, we’ve got to help them find another form of employment. It’s that simple.”

No one has ever accused Daniel Conklin of committing the kind of crimes or misconduct that an FBI report and an internal New Haven police investigation turned up on ex-Detective Raucci (who denied the allegations at the time). But his case reflects the kind of challenge posed to officials if they want to follow through on Harp’s declaration. At rallies and public hearings, citizens have demanded that the police do a better job policing themselves and reining in bullies with badges. Department brass has responded to a series of high-profile abrogations of citizens’ First Amendment and Fourth Amendment rights by excusing the actions of the officers responsible or saying nothing. Top cops have offered not a single public criticism of those cases, not one public apology, even when judges dismiss the criminal charges the officers concocted (including those one-size-fits-all greatest hits, “interfering” and “disorderly conduct”).

But they have promoted the cops, including Conklin, who already in his first five years on the force, has been not just accused, but found three times by internal affairs (IA) investigators to have violated people’s rights, breaking both department policy and the law. The department promoted him to a position where state cases against alleged criminals will hang on his word and his conduct.

Ripped Off

Conklin’s conduct was on the public radar last December when Chief Campbell recommended promoting him to detective. A 53-year-old tech consultant who lives in the Edgewood neighborhood filed a federal complaint against Conklin related to an incident that occurred in 2015. Conklin was working an extra-duty job directing traffic at a construction site in front of the man’s home. The man said he helped his mother drive out of his blocked driveway because Conklin wasn’t paying attention to the job — and that Conklin later got so enraged he pounded on his door to come out and harangued him, eventually handcuffing him and arresting him.

 

The man said he caught the episode on video on his $700 Samsung phone. But Conklin snatched it away, in violation of department rules, and then never returned it. (The city later claimed it couldn’t find the phone, so it has never been returned.) Conklin in a written report denied the man’s version of the story, saying the man slammed a door on him and injured his finger. (Click here for a full story about the case.)

At the time, Chief Campbell said he didn’t feel a need to refer the complaint to internal affairs. He said he checked with Conklin’s supervisor at the scene (who is also named in the lawsuit for misconduct), and the supervisor confirmed Conklin’s version.

It turns out that three other episodes of alleged misconduct were already in Conklin’s file, according to records released to the Independent in response to a Connecticut Freedom of Information Act request. In all those cases the police internal affairs investigations found him to be at fault. Campbell, then a lieutenant, was the supervising IA official on all three investigations, according to the records.

One episode occurred on Dec. 27, 2013 outside an apartment complex on Quinnipiac Avenue. New owners, who had bought the complex from Pike International, asked beat cops like Conklin to keep an eye on the place because of drug activity. But they hadn’t yet posted any “no trespassing” signs on the property or registered a standing no-trespassing order with the cops.

A man named Jason Jackson was parked at the complex in a rental car at 7:12 p.m. He had had just dropped off his girlfriend, who lived there.

Here’s what happened next, according to the IA report prepared by Sgt. Roy Davis:

Conklin approached Jackson’s car and asked him what he was doing. Jackson told him. Conklin later told cops he was “suspicious” that Jackson was there to drop off his girlfriend. He told Jackson, inaccurately, that there was a standing no trespass order at the property, so he could be arrested for trespass.

He asked for Jackson’s license and rental registration and agreement. An argument ensued about why Jackson didn’t have an insurance card for the agreement. Conklin ordered Jackson outside the car to be searched.

Conklin then went to his patrol car to check for outstanding warrants. Conklin’s girflriend came outside and started yelling at the officers. (Two fellow officers were present with Conklin.) Conklin returned outside to speak with Jackson. He claimed later to IA that he smelled “burnt marijuana,” an allegation contradicted by another officer present when later interviewed by IA. Conklin also told IA that he “observed ‘gutted’ cigars on the floor to the passenger side of the vehicle,’” which “he recognized ... as drug paraphernalia.”

He ordered Jackson to exit the car. He patted Jackson down for weapons and didn’t find any. He ordered Jackson back into the car.

Then, Conklin told IA, he “observed and questioned Mr. Jackson about a change of address sticker on the rear of the license.” He said Jackson told him the corrected address was printed on the license, not on the change of address sticker. “Conklin never took any effort to confirm this address through the COLLECT System, or by notifying the NHPD Records division.” Instead, without Jackson’s permission, “Conklin removed the Change of Address sticker from Mr. Jackson’s identification and explained to him that if he was caught in the immediate area again, he would be arrested for trespass.”

Jackson’s version: “Officer Conklin stated that he was going to give him a ticket for having two addresses, and then proceeded to peel the change of address sticker off the license and throw it to the ground.”

Later that night Jackson came to the East Shore police substation to file a complaint. Conklin and another officer present told him that no supervisor was available to take the complaint. They didn’t try to reach one. They told him to go to 1 Union Ave.

When Jackson did later file a complaint, he offered his address as the one on the sticker that Conklin had destroyed.

The IA report found Conklin to have violated police Rule 15, Section 23, which reads that “Employees of the Department shall not fabricate, withhold or destroy any evidence of any kind.” Davis wrote that Conklin violated that rule by destroying the change of address sticker without permission and without trying to confirm the correct address.

Conklin also violated Section 38, through “conduct unbecoming an officer.”

“[F]rom my investigation I believe this action was done to bully/annoy Mr.Jackson and improperly show the power and authority that Officer Conkllin is given as a police officer,” Davis wrote.

The report further cited Conklin for a “training failure” because of his telling Jackson about a no trespassing order that didn’t exist, and for which there were no signs: “Officer Conklin improperly stopped an detained Mr. Jackson on an incident that did not fit the elments for trespassing.”

Jackson, meanwhile, reported that the incident left him “scared to be around the police ... [He] feels that they were not protecting him.”

Piling On

Markeshia Ricks Photo Conklin got into another tussle with a citizen 19 days later, on Jan. 15, 2014. Based on those two incidents, then-Chief Dean Esserman suspended him for two days, with one of those days held in abeyance (meaning it “went away” because he received no further discipline for six months).

This case involved a man named Donnell Durden, who happened to be sitting in the driver’s seat of his car in front of his house on Pardee Place in the Annex neighborhood when four officers, including Conklin, passed by.

They shone a flashlight into his eyes. When he rolled down his window, Conklin asked what he was “doing on the street” (according to Conklin) and asked to see his license.

Conklin’s version: Durden said he didn’t want to give him the license, and Conklin “continued to request” it so he could verify where he lived.  Durden “suddenly and rapidly reached into his waistband, his hand completely under the cover of his waistband.” So Conklin drew his gun and ordered Durden “in a loud tone” to show his hands. Conklin claimed Durden didn’t indicate “that he understood.” A second officer joined in ordering Durden to show his hands and opened the driver-side door. Conklin “grabbed Mr. Durden by his right wrist (that was still his his right pocket) and guided him out of the car by his wrist.” Conklin claimed Durden then “started to physically resist, flailing his hands back and forth, trying to get back to the front of his body. He used his knee and foot to push and propel himself off the side of this car, trying to break their grip. After a brief struggle they were able to place him in handcuffs. He shouted for his mother,” who came out and asked what was going on.

Durden’s version: When Conklin asked for ID, Durden reached into his pocket. It wasn’t there. So he reached for the glove compartment. Conklin “asked him what he was doing and in the same breath told him to get out of the car.” Durden asked why. “Conklin told him not to ask any questions,” then “reached his arm into the window and unlocked the door from the inside [and] grabbed him by the right wrist ... removed him from the car, leaned him against the car, and handcuffed him.”

Conklin then searched the car. He found no contraband. He did find Durden’s driver’s license in the glove compartment.

Meanwhile, Conklin’s mother “began yelling” and “telling the officers to find real criminals.” Another officer on the scene, Rosa Melendez, “got into a screaming match with his mother” and threatened to arrest her “for interfering.” Durden’s mother went back inside the house.

Conklin arrested Durden and charged him with interfering with police (“for physically resisting when being put in handcuffs,” he told IA) and disorderly conduct (“because he caused alarm to the neighborhood when he began flailing his arms as they were attempting to handcuff him.”

Conklin added on a charge of failure to change address. That’s because he found the man’s license in his glove compartment, and it showed a Woodward Avenue address. The IA investigator asked Conklin if he had run the license through the police communications system to verify whether he had changed his address. “He said he did not.” It turned out that Durden had “in fact already changed his address with the Department of Motor Vehicles, at least 1 month prior to this arrest,” the IA report reads.

“Ofc. Conklin said it must have been an oversight.”

Once the charges reached court, they were dismissed.

In the report’s “finding of fact,” Sgt. Mary Helland concluded that Durden had been legally parked and had done nothing to draw suspicion.

“In his police report, Ofc. Conklin attempts to build suspicion about the vehicle by stating the windows are very foggy, enough to restrict the view into the vehicle,” Helland wrote; but another officer on the scene contradicted that allegation, stating “he had a clear view into the vehicle.”

Helland noted that Conklin “makes no attempt to explain to Mr. Durden why they wanted to speak to him.” She noted that Conklin acknowledged in a subsequent interview that “people routinely keep their licenses in their pockets or their wallets in their pockets” — yet he claimed that Durden was making a “threatening movement” by doing just that. She concluded that he had “no reasonable suspicion to detain” Durden and Durden was reacting to an “unlawful detainment” on Conklin’s part. She also noted that Durden lawfully changed his address on his license — even though Conklin charged him with failing to do so. She concluded that Conklin “had no probable cause” to charge him.

In the subsequent suspending of Conklin for a day, Chief Esserman wrote that both of these instances constituted “a training failure.”

The Bridge Incident

Esserman also concluded that “training” was the problem when Conklin violated the department’s non-deadly force procedures in an Oct. 31, 2013, encounter on the Tomlinson Bridge with a fisherman named WIlly Carrero.

Carrero was fishing there with his uncle at 10:20 p.m. when Conklin and Officer Freddy Salmeron pulled up to them in a cruiser. He “announced over a PA for them to move their parked cars.”

“Mr. Hernandez went to move his car,” according to the IA report by Sgt. Jason Minardi. “Mr. Hernandez walked up to the cruiser to ask [Conklin] where he and his friends could park their cars and not be in the way.”

“Look at this smartass,” Conklin, sitting in the passenger seat, remarked to Salmeron, according to Hernandez.

“Excuse me?” Hernandez asked.

“Officer Conklin then exited the police car and grabbed Mr. Hernandez by the left wrist and pushed him into his Uncle’s truck. When Officer Conklin pushed him he asked Mr. Hernandez where his ‘fucking car was; he was going to tow it,’” Hernandez told IA. Hernandez pulled his arm away and “walked backward to his car” — at which point Conklin “pushed him again, this time against” his uncle’s truck. “When Mr. Hernandez finally reached his car Officer Conklin pushed him chest to chest and stared at him not saying anything.” After Salmeron “said something” to Conklin, Conklin walked away, and the officers left.

Hernandez “drove a short distance away and did a U turn to get his equipment from his uncle.” At which point the officers pulled up “and conducted a traffic stop,” according to Minardi’s report.

Hernandez said Salmeron gave him “two choices: He could give him his license and registration or they would tow his car and give him a ticket.” Salmeron said he wanted to search the car; Hernandez asked why he’d been stopped. Salmeron “told him to ‘give him his fucking papers.’”

Salmeron took Hernandez’s license and vehicle information to the cruiser then drove back to Hernandez’s car.

“Officer Conklin, sitting in the passenger seat, stated, ‘You’re lucky motherfucker, we have a call’ and threw Mr. Hernandez’s paperwork at Mr. Hernandez through the driver’s side window. The officers then drove off,” Hernandez told IA.

Hernandez went to police headquarters to file a complaint. While he spoke with an officer there, Conklin walked by. Conklin “smirked at him and stated that that was the last warning he was going to give him, that he would see Mr. Hernandez later,” according to the IA account.

The uncle corroborated Hernandez’s account in an IA interview.

IA Interviewed Officer Salmeron. “Officer Salmeron explained he had stopped Mr. Hernandez for performing two illegal U-turns. However, Officer Salmeron could not explain what an illegal U-turn was and how Mr. Hernandez violated the statute,” Minardi wrote in the IA report. Salmeron also described Hernandez as having been “argumentative, but his hands were down by his side,” Minardi wrote.

“At first Officer Salmeron stated he did not see Officer Conklin push Mr. Hernandez, but simply put his hands up. Later he verified that Officer Conklin put his hands on Mr. Hernandez’s chest.”

Conklin himself told IA Hernandez had “seemed confused” in their original conversation on the bridge and “did not understand he had to move.” He stated that he ordered Hernandez to show them his car “so he could give him a ticket.” He acknowledged that Hernandez subsequently had his back turned to him and was walking away when Conklin followed and “put his hands twice” on Hernandez in what “could be considered a push.” He claimed he never threw Hernandez’s paperwork at him; rather, he “dropped it in Mr. Hernandez’s lap.”

Either way, Minardi concluded, the action was improper. Overall, he concluded, “Officer Conklin had the ability to address this complaint in a more professional and courteous manner, but chose to push and swear at Mr. Hernandez, thus intimidate him. Thus Officer Conklin showed poor judgment that constituted conduct unbecoming of an officer.” He also violed General Order 300 governing the use of nondeadly force with the “uses of his hands” when Hernandez did not resist arrest or attack him.

Esserman ordered in a follow-up memo that given these violations, Conklin would receive a letter of reprimand and have “follow up training with a veteran officer” selected by Assistant Chief Luiz Casanova.

Last month, Freddy Salmeron was promoted to detective, joining Conklin in the rank.

Triple Checking


Markeshia Ricks Photo In an interview this week, Chief Campbell stressed training and retraining as one important way to avoid cops becoming “rogue” and landing the city in expensive legal settlements like the one in the Scott Lewis case.

“Training to me is so important — so they don’t revert to something they learned on the street,” Campbell said.

He also said the department works closely with the state’s attorney’s office to communicate about any “patterns” that raise questions about a particular officer’s conduct. Software called “IA PRO” also helps identify such patterns, he said.

And the department has added new “checks and balances,” Campbell said: It is now insisting that officers file reports on every use of force — including drawing but not using a gun — and then having those reports reviewed by three separate supervisors: a patrol commander, someone in internal affairs, and a training academy official.

The department also has hired a behavioral psychologist to help officers who vet potential recruits to better identify a potential rogue cop, Campbell said.

A retired assistant police chief, John Velleca, this week questioned the emphasis on identifying potential rogue cops: “I don’t believe that we hire rogue cops. I think that cops become that way after a certain amount of years on the job in the field.”

And triplicate reports reviewed by superiors probably won’t catch rogue cops, he argued — because supervisors tend to sign off on reports about scenes they haven’t witnessed.

“There’s nothing that can take the place of physically being out there with your police officers. You’re going to get a report. We’ve all been there. Somebody signs off on it as a good use of force, guess what? The next two sign off on it the same way,” Velleca said Wednesday during an appearance on WNHH radio’s “Dateline New Haven” program.

“Let’s not BS anybody here,” Velleca said. “It’s very difficult to get the true gist of the incident from a piece of paper. They’re going to read a report. The way the report’s written, it may look like a by-the-book use of force. However, if you’re out on the scene, it may not look like the scene watching it. Three people sign off on it because the report is going to read like it’s by the book. Then somebody’s going to pop up with a video, right? And the report is not going to match the video.

“Officers see the dark side of life every day. If there’s not constant supervision—if there’s not a supervisor paying attention … you can lose a cop quick.”

Campbell agreed about the importance of having more supervisors in the field monitoring cops. Because of a shortage of high-ranking cops until recent promotions, at times only two patrol supervisors would be out on the street monitoring as many as 80 officers during the evening B shift, he said. Thanks to recent sergeant and lieutenant promotions, the department has now doubled the number of supervisors working during a shift, he said.

As chief, Campbell faces potential criticism no matter how he reacts to allegations of misbehavior. (As in this case, when he did pass over a high-scoring cop for promotion based on a minor internal procedural complaint.) Cops will criticize him for disciplining another officer, for instance, or community critics may criticize him for not disciplining an officer accused of misconduct.

Take the most recent controversy at 1 Union Ave., which followed when Campbell disciplined three officers whom IA found had violated search and seizure procedures in a traffic stop.  The investigation stemmed from complaints about three separate stops involving, among others, Louis DeCrescenzo, the most recent occurring on Feb. 1, 2017. Click here to read the IA report, obtained by the Independent through a Freedom of Information request.

Campbell decided not to suspend the officers involved. Instead, Campbell decided the violation was a “training” issue, so he sent the officers to the academy for retraining on search and seizure procedures. He was in Boston at his own training program the day the officers showed up at the academy. The assistant chief in charge that day, Casanova, told people he felt the officers didn’t deserve that “punishment.”

When Campbell returned to town, he heard from academy supervisors that they felt caught in the middle and worried about a “hostile work environment,” Campbell said. He ordered Casanova to administrative duty back at headquarters pending the results of an internal affairs investigation into the matter. (Read more about that here.)

Meanwhile, like Daniel Conklin, Louis DeCrescenzo has a new badge. On July 7, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant.

Click on download the above audio file to hear the full interview with John Velleca about current policing issues on WNHH FM’s “Dateline New Haven” program.

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posted by: FacChec on August 11, 2017  1:33pm

Harp submits $9.5M request to BOA??

Merely an administrative formality, this deal is a fait a compl, the Alder leadership (3) sat on the ligation review committee and have already voted their acceptance. All need be done is to re-sell the 9.5M to the receptive full board, so they can vote in the affirmative and go home.

City officials did not return a call seeking comment, but the issue of compensation for Lewis was discussed in executive session at the Litigation Settlement Committee on July 12, according to its minutes. The members then approved the terms after going back into open session.

http://www.nhregister.com/new-haven/article/New-Haven-to-settle-wrongful-imprisonment-case-11735810.php

posted by: challenge on August 11, 2017  2:31pm

Incompetence plain and simple. When the union supported this chief it should have been a red flag. When the mayor supported this chief the outcome of this administration was sealed. She has made some really bad decisions this far. Something about Yale graduates leading in this city. Hopefully the city can dig themselves out of the deep hole lawsuits are putting them in. Unfortunately the officers don’t lose. Taxpayers do.

posted by: 1644 on August 11, 2017  3:02pm

Any private, at-will employer would recognize Conklin for the liability he is, and would have fired him.  Instead, he is promoted.  Police bemoan the distance and mistrust and hostility that exists between police and those they are supposed to be serving.  Yet, given the choice between enhancing public confidence in police and a police officer’s career, public confidence gets thrown to the wayside.  Until we force police departments to reorder their priorities and make it easier to fire suspect cops,  most likely through legislation, police cannot have the trust of their communities.  Any private, at-will employer would recognize Conklin for the liability he is, and would have fired him.  Instead, he is promoted.

posted by: Dwightstreeter on August 11, 2017  3:54pm

The taxpayers will pick up the bill for the lack of accountability in the NHPD and Mayor’s office until there is a Civilian Review Board independent of political control and with subpoena power AND changes to the police union contracts.
With 3 members of Barbara Fair’s family (including her) arrested on what will ultimately be shown to be bogus charges (yes, we have the video!), expect more big awards.
The bullies and incompetents have to be removed so the professionals can do the job the right way. It must be hard for a diligent cop to watch the bad ones protected and promoted.
Let’s see if any mayoral candidate even mentions a Civilian Review Board or the need to clean house at the NHPD.

posted by: Brian McDermott on August 11, 2017  4:26pm

Part 1: OpEd on Det. Conklin
I have worked with Detective Dan Conklin since he first came to the NHPD five years ago. Back then, Det. Conklin was 21 years old, fresh out of school and had little life experience and zero police experience. Dan was the proverbial “bull in a China shop”. He was eager to please his supervisors and hadn’t yet developed the skills in communicating with people who want to argue with police.
As a rookie, Detective Conklin had some missteps but that’s common of so many new officers.
I liked Dan right away, because despite his lack of tact, he had and incredible work ethic and true desire to do the job well. He also chose to make his own way in a strange town when family connections could have put him on easy street in another department. I respected that hard choice.
Detective Conklin took his discipline for the aforementioned incidents with humility and maturity. He began to grow in his career and learn from veteran officers.  He gained patience and developed compassion.
NHPD Command Staff recognized this improvement and development when they decided to promote to Detective Conklin. It was not an oversight. He did not “slip through the cracks”.
Once Detective Conklin received his promotion I had the honor of training him in his new position while briefly working as his partner. Dan is intelligent and motivated, which made for fast learning. The hard charging attitude he had as a rookie was still there, but a new demeanor of cool and calm had replaced the brash attitude from years before.
Detective Conklin is fast earning a reputation competent and savvy investigator, including outstanding work in the still progressing case of the young 14 year old murdered in Newhallville. He is a true asset for the City of New Haven and a shining example of how a young officer can improve and progress.

posted by: wendy1 on August 11, 2017  4:38pm

Fire Campbell and Conklin.  There are plenty of young officers I personally would nominate for chief here.

posted by: Brian McDermott on August 11, 2017  4:55pm

Part 2: the larger problem.
Detective Conklin is infinitely more valuable to the NHPD at his current stage of development than he was five years ago. This is a prime example of the need to retain, train and cultivate experienced police officers. As previous Independent articles have mentioned the department is hemorrhaging officers to other municipalities, simply because the other towns offer compensation we cannot compete with. This has forced the city to hire an unprecedented amount of new officers in the past four years.
I now work with many of these new officers on a daily basis. I have been very impressed with the character and work ethic of so many of these young officers, however there is no substitute for experience. Even the very best of these new officers is only a fraction as good as she or he will be in five years. Rather than spending so much effort running down Daniel Conklin, I wish some light would shine on the need to retain the officers who have grown past the rookie bumps in the road and can now produce at a high level. The fundamental aspects of policing may seem simple, but the range of tasks an officer is required to complete each week is vast and varying. This city deserves to be more than just a stepping stone for new officers in their careers.

posted by: Brian McDermott on August 11, 2017  5:13pm

Part 3: Transparency
Mr Bass-
I respect your dedication to covering local news. You and your staff have a clear passion for the quality of life in New Haven and issues concerning its residents. However, I believe the connection between horrid corruption like the Raucci/Lewis incident and what Daniel Conklin has done is as weak as some of those Disorderly Conduct cases you were complaining about.
You have mentioned Conklin over and over despite no new news to report. Why the grudge against him specifically? I suspect you may have some association with the individual Conklin arrested while he was on traffic duty. If there is any personal connection whatsoever between yourself (or your staff) and this person, that should be disclosed. While throughly researched,  this article seemed way more as a vendetta than current events. I wonder what’s really going on here?

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on August 11, 2017  5:33pm

The Police Are Still Out of Control

I should know.

By FRANK SERPICO

October 23, 2014

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/10/the-police-are-still-out-of-control-112160

es.

posted by: fountainst on August 11, 2017  6:56pm

Some of the comments in the article are a little misleading.  Using IA Pro to identify problem officers is never going to happen.  The software was purchased several years ago and never utilized.  It may still be sitting on a Windows 95 PC somewhere in the department, or maybe on a floppy disk. The new IA module in the records management system was purchased a couple of years ago and has the ability to set thresholds to identify patterns of misconduct.  That system was used for a few months and then stopped after a new supervisor took over Internal Affairs.  The taser malfunction issue is not surprising. It will be interesting to see how the department fares downloading and managing video footage from several hundred body worn cameras.

posted by: southwest on August 11, 2017  7:06pm

This is what happens when you allow these city police departments to convert back to policing regarding policing people in the communities that doesn’t look like them..Plus lowering the standards of maturity when it comes to hiring..No person at the age of 18 or 21 should be allowed to become a police officer. You are allowing and immature kid that have no humanistic skills on how to relate to others in a neighborhood of colors that don’t look like them..These young officers thugs set out to harass the minorities that it promised to protect and serve.To much power for a 21 year old kid to make a decision about someone else’s life that can be taken by their trigger fingers or by conning up some B/S in a probable cause report to justify their actions. It happens more than people think it does. Thanks to cellphones,video cameras on house and buildings the chickens are coming home to rooste.  Nothing will be done regarding this epidemic until they start killing and targeting whites like the opium crisis we are having now them it will get the attention of people in power,because people of color has being dying of drugs over dose for years and it was just considered a black thing,now it’s oh my god we got to do something. When a white politician and a Trump supporter family member get kill by police then they will maybe do something about it. Training is a cop out when officers does something wrong because all officers are taught the same thing in the academic.. If you have to continue to send and officer back to training because they didn’t follow the law it’s obvious policing is not meant for him or her. My suggestion is put cameras in the classrooms when instructors are training them,then you will get to see and here what their topics were about and how the cadets responded to it and what the teachers were relating to them. Then they couldn’t lie and say they want trained properly when they screw up. Police violence is tangled up with racism and systemic injustice.

posted by: The Rock on August 11, 2017  7:20pm

“We’ve got to find ways to identify these people and root them out,” Harp said. It does not help the Mayor’s plan if the Chief of Police is promoting the people that should be rooted out!! Conklin violated people’s Civil rights on three occasions but Campbell promotes him over more qualified and less controversial officers. Campbell also did not feel that Conklin actions warranted an IA investigation, but Casanova who supposedly disobeyed his orders is grounds for an IA investigation? What is the Chief doing at the NHPD? He doesn’t know what he is doing is the best answer. The decisions made under his administration is unfathomable and because the Mayor and Mike “Mayweather” Carter wanted him as Chief they will agree with all of his decisions in public to save face.

posted by: Sohores on August 11, 2017  7:38pm

Chief Campbell also passed over Sgt. Rose Dell for Lieutenant because she had a pending IA investigation but Conklin gets promoted. WTF!! This Chief has to go.

posted by: Dwightstreeter on August 11, 2017  8:27pm

@Brian McDermott: Having read the reports filed against Conklin and the IA reports too, it is clear that Conklin is a bully and a racist. He pushes around people who can’t fight back. He is unworthy of the uniform. If this is “community policing”, then we don’t need it.

posted by: Frank Columbo on August 11, 2017  9:33pm

Obviously Conklin is Brian McDermott’s protégé so it is understandable that he defends him.

However based Upon this outstanding report, detailing his scary irreverence for the law that he was hired to uphold and his disdain for civil rights we can expect future transgressions that will result in major costly lawsuits for New Haven Taxpayers.

Thank God our son is White, because he will never be subjected to the horrific treatment that
Mr. Jackson endured at the hands of Conklin.

posted by: challenge on August 11, 2017  10:11pm

Part 3. The stories we tell ourselves even when there is plenty of evidence that disputes what we choose to see. Conklin is a time bomb and taxpayers will pay for his abusive behavior. Failure to see that is where the greatest problem lies. Anyone who supports his behavior is just as bad. Is New Haven really that desperate for officers or is some nepotism going on??

posted by: Bill Saunders on August 11, 2017  10:25pm

The promotion scheme is a classic!  I have noticed it again and again.
Look at THAT as an indicator of an Abusive Cop!!!! 

Certainly not Rocket Science…..

I would expect that deserving officers who are duly promoted have similar feelings about this very same subject.

But, somehow,  in this day and age, that’s still part of the Blue Line…...

posted by: Hill North on August 12, 2017  7:01am

@Brian McDermott
@New Haven Police Commissioners
Detective Conklin is a liability to the New Haven Police Department. Now that he was rewarded for his five years of terror with no remorse. The saga will continue and the city will pay again in a lawsuit.

posted by: Christian Bruckhart on August 12, 2017  7:30am

I also find it an unfair comparison for Detective Conklin to be compared to a dirty cop. I’ve personally found him to be a good man, but I see from the comments that nothing short of a public flogging will be accepted so I’m not going to waste my time trying to change anyone’s mind.

Instead, I’m going to reiterate a previous offer (which has yet to be accepted) of a ride along with me. Cops get accused of being less than transparent, so in the interest of building relationships with the community and drawing back the curtain, here’s your chance to see it live and unfiltered.

I’ve noticed there’s a lot of self professed experts on policing and certainly no shortage of opinions, so I’m going to call a few of the regulars out by name: first and foremost, 3/5s (step out into the light and get away from the vampires for a change!), Dwightstreeter, noteworthy, hewhaven, southwest, westville man, bill Saunders, Wendy Hamilton, et al. You don’t even have to identify your screenname when you ride with me, I’m not asking to unmask your online persona. My only stipulations are that you pick a Friday or Saturday night (I work 11pm-7am in fair haven), you stay with me the whole shift, and you keep an open mind. If you want to blast me afterwards in online forums, at least I’ll know you’re doing it from first hand experience.

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

posted by: the1king on August 12, 2017  9:16am

There are bad apples in every job.  Policing takes a lot of patience and I understand police have a higher expectation than everyone else but they are still human.  I bet if you look at a lot of these cases if the people corroborated and followed the process nothing would have happened maybe not in all but most.  This is why LIVE PD would be good for New Haven.  It would show what police have to deal with, the people yelling at them.  If you get pulled over for something simple like dark tints in a drug area, if you have nothing on you don’t worry but when you get upset because now they are going to find the drugs on you, it’s just funny.  You can’t have it both ways you can’t want the cops only when you want them.  They are there to get the illegal activity, Do their job for a month and see if you can handle it.  I don’t think their would be any perfect angels.

posted by: DEVAGHOST on August 12, 2017  9:36am

A bigger problem than Conklin is the attitude of some officers that is expressed by Brian McDermott. Conklin is young and inexperienced and, if we just give him time and a promotion, he’ll stop violating people’s rights and stop brutalizing people,

What does “some missteps but that’s common” say? “Lots of officers violates people’s rights, stop picking on this one?”

Is “fewer lawsuits” the definition of “infinitely more valuable?”

“(O)ther towns offer compensation we cannot compete with” and inherent respect for civil rights is a commodity.

Conklin should not have been promoted. He shouldn’t be on the force - and McDermott clearly should not be training officers.

posted by: Dwightstreeter on August 12, 2017  5:35pm

This is an opportunity for change minded members of the Board of Alders to condition bonding the settlement in exchange for changes to the police contract and to Internal Affairs, all the way up to the Chief.
The bullies who hide behind a shield and a gun have to be weeded out and quickly.
If the City thinks it can do business as usual and the taxpayer’s will pick up the tab, time for a reality check.
As for Christian Bruckhart’s offer, if you think it’s tough working the night shift in Fair Haven, try being a person of color walking home or driving to pick up your kid or having any encounter with a cop from the suburbs who doesn’t know you or your neighborhood.
If you don’t like it when people speak out against police brutality, then just stop defending it.

posted by: Eric B. Smith on August 12, 2017  5:58pm

@Brian McDermott, @Christian Bruckhart:  I’m sure Det. Conklin is a fine man who wants to be a good officer.  I’m also sure no one enters the policing profession intent on going rogue, but, as the saying goes, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.  As I say the following, I’m not even thinking about Raucci, other rogue cops or ex-cops, or Conklin.  The reality is that police officers have the power to take away life and liberty.  It’s nice to talk about re-training, but in the case of policing, the stakes are too high.  Re-training is not going to undo the damage done to those whose life or liberty has been violated.  Once a police officer is found guilty of departmental violations multiple times by IA (pick the number that becomes the standard) over a period a time (again, pick the number that becomes the standard) consideration for dismissal by the Police Commisdion should be automatic, with the pendulum already being tilted toward dismissal.  FYI…I know what it’s like to be on patrol in NH.  Sincerely, good luck to both of you and be safe.

posted by: JCFremont on August 12, 2017  7:29pm

I remember the old TV show “Hill Street Blues.” Each episode the Desk Sergeant would release the shift with the words “Remember, Be careful out there.” Perhaps, today the dismisal should be “Be careful out there, and remember there is a very good chance your actions will be recorded, so think first and act judiciously.”

posted by: denny says on August 12, 2017  8:33pm

Detective Conklin (and the city of new haven) is already the subject of a lawsuit in Federal Court. And apparently there is audio and video tape to support the claims against him…you can read about that at the link below.

http://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/cops_to_promote_alleged_camera-grabber/

posted by: Paul Bass on August 12, 2017  9:31pm

@Brian McDermott: Thank you for the thoughtful and detailed comment offering an up-close perspective on Officer Conklin. In answer to your question, I have not had any personal interactions with him and bear no personal animus. My interest began with the original story about the video recording and the disappearance of the citizen’s phone. Given the years of police abuse on this issue, I was stunned when department brass showed zero interest in looking into whether these allegations were true. Instead I was told this was one isolated incident with no independent proof. I was then triply stunned to find out about these three other incidents were in his file—that the same department brass knew about them—that IA verified the allegations!—and he was still promoted. I held onto this story until the $9.5M verdict. To me this became a story not about one cop, who from your telling has positive attributes, but a larger and crucial story about how the department deals or doesn’t deal with abrogation of citizen rights.

posted by: southwest on August 13, 2017  5:37am

@ Christian Bruckhart first of all you don’t no my story or my life experience, nor my journey….you’re a trypical cop with attitude that think they no it all because you got power with a gun and badge and worked the midnight shift in Fair Haven which to your description is a hell hole. Fair Haven have good citizens like any other part of the community or the little suburban town you come from..If this job is so demanding and stressful why stay employed here is it because your community you live in chose not to hire you? So you pick and InnerCity to get hired then bad mouth the taxpayers who’s paying your salaries as if you’re the savior for policing.. never assume what you don’t no about others journeys or life experience..you are not the first officer to do this job..matter of fact some others have done it better than some of you so get off your high horse and ride into the sunset..as far as hiding behind the keyboards…good advice for you and officer McDermont you should take that advice and go into the community and speak directly to the citizens that have been mistreat by officers Coughlin and other alleged officers..word of wise to young officers who like the so call Keys Board to voice their opinions it could one day come back to bite you in the “butt” in a court room..so please be real careful if you haven’t,had a lot of court room experience yet as and officer…please stop assuming you no it all and be a little humble when it comes to life learning experience..until you can experience what some people you come in contact with while being a cop then don’t judge others, life experience ....by thinking your life is better than theirs.

posted by: westville man on August 13, 2017  8:25am

Dear Mr.  Bruckhart.  Thank you for calling me out “by name” and your offer to ride with you. I may take you up on it but I will also reach out to you privately for A conversation.
I am not a self-professed expert on policing;  rather, I am an expert on race relations. I know a lot of cops.  Some are my friends, most are good people and good cops, but some are racist bullies.  They spew their venom privately. And they not only serve out there 20 years, but some get promoted.
This is not my opinion, these are facts.  And until you have love ones and close friends who are harassed daily and until you have to teach your children to fear the police so they stay alive, don’t pretend to understand what some of us are saying.

posted by: RACISMISALIVEANDWELL on August 13, 2017  11:48am

It amazes me how these cops who were raised in suburbia and who have had no interaction with people of color until becoming cops are now experts on the inner city.  Blows my mind! These same White cops secretly despise Blacks and Hispanics in the community and even their black and brown brother/sister officers on the force.  They look down and hate the community they are suppose to serve, while benefiting from the community.  These so called “experts” could care less about the community.  Ask how many of them live in New Haven and you’ll get your answer!  They call New Haven a “Dump.”  Good enough to work in, but not good enough to live in.  When living in the City you serve is true Community Policing! They forget that the samecommunity they loathe are the very same people that help to pay their salaries and help them to live in their “palatial estates.”
GROW UP AND STOP BEING RACIST! (You know who you are)

posted by: Frank Columbo on August 13, 2017  11:26pm

We sincerely believe that rookies arrive with a dedication and passion to Protect and to Serve. However as this narrative conveys an Us against Them mindset or Officers vs. Civilians, we wonder at what year of service on average do some experience a corruption of integrity?

We are not familiar with what instruction is provided at the Police Academy. So are trainees taught that “professionals”  you know people who wear suits to work like lawyers, accountants, bankers ect. are assumed to be good and never suspected of breaking the law?

We have friends who experienced that assumption in a family tragedy where the “suit’ who was at fault was given special consideration where the Average Joe would not.  When a family member encountered one of the many Rookies or Probies at the scene of the tragedy, one of them stated that a “Professional Person” was involved.

That set the tone so this PP was Never charged with anything, despite ending someone’s life.
When you have Friends in all the right places you have a permanent Get Out of Jail Free card, or as in this instance a Prison Protection Plan. 

What do Sgt. Rose Dell and Assit. Chief Louis Casanova have in common besides their careers and IA review? Could it be they were both Esserman loyalists?

posted by: matt325c on August 13, 2017  11:27pm

I wonder if the NHPD would issue a civilian with Detective Conklin’s documented behavioral issues a pistol permit?

posted by: Downtown Linda on August 14, 2017  12:05pm

As long as the attitude is it’s only a few bad apples; as long as the mayor will not be a manager of the whole city; as long as young people or people of color see examples of the “few” rogue cops—nothing will change.  Now you may think this sort of thing is part of my experience as a long-term New Haven citizen living in a “sketchy” neighborhood.  Actually I am an elderly, upper middle class white woman who has little to fear from the police.  It’s just the city we ALL live in that is mired in corruption.  And remember, the elderly vote in HUGE numbers, Ms. Mayor!

posted by: challenge on August 14, 2017  12:17pm

@Southwest, Bass and Westville man. Thank you. Your three comments said all that needed to be said. I especially like the challenge to those who see New Haven as the pits, the people “less than” and the job so stressful apply were you live or have you and been rejected?

posted by: thecove on August 15, 2017  4:44pm

Agreeing, somewhat, with @Brian McDermott, Det. Conklin fits the profile of an officer who has not yet reached the level of maturity required for the job.  Probably from a small town, probably never in a real fight in his life before he was a cop, now with a feeling of power and superiority one attains with a badge.  What is refreshing is his described work ethic, which is greatly lacking in today’s policing generation.  If Conklin genuinely has this ethic and the motivation described, he can be an asset to the NHPD, but he needs to learn diplomacy because good police work should never come with a cost.  Remember, you’re only as tough as you were before you got the badge.  Grow up.

posted by: SusanKennedy on August 15, 2017  7:55pm

Part 1:
This is a very unsettling and disturbing story to absorb for both the community and the men and women of integrity within the New Haven Police Department (NHPD). Everyone can agree that effective policing requires enormous trust between a community’s residents and those who put their lives on the line every day to protect them. The many comments to this article speak volumes about that need for trust. Daniel Conklin, the revolving door subject of numerous investigations by the Internal Affairs (IA) office of the NHPD, “chose to make his own way in a strange town when family connections could have put him on easy street in another department,” writes Brian McDermott, the man responsible for training Conklin, in his “Part 1” comment to this article. That curious statement may hold the key to understanding just why an officer with Conklin’s documented and poor service record gets promoted, especially while being the defendant in a federal lawsuit for the questionable arrest of an Edgewood neighborhood man (http://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/cops_to_promote_alleged_camera-grabber/). McDermott’s admission raises a lot of questions about a certain type of entitlement that I don’t believe the public will ever get truthful answers to. But I strongly recommend doing a Google search of these four words—“conklin” “police” “connecticut” “highest-paid” – with the quotations around them.

posted by: SusanKennedy on August 15, 2017  7:57pm

Part 2:
In the IA investigations of Daniel Conklin’s apparent and widespread behind-the-badge abuses of power, details of which are written about in this article, fellow officers do not hold back in their descriptions of his out-of-bounds behavior and unprofessional conduct with innocent citizens of the community. Conklin’s supposed champion here, Brian McDermott, offers up comments that seem overly tortured and defensive, almost as if he was forced by a higher-up to respond to this article: “Dan was the proverbial bull in a china shop;” “hadn’t yet developed the skills in communicating with people who want to argue with the police;” “despite his lack of tact.” There’s a lot of stretched explaining here and little in the way of assurance to the community – and to his fellow NHPD colleagues – that Daniel Conklin has changed or matured into someone with predictable behavior who can be trusted all around. That his promotion to detective came so soon after this questionable arrest and still unresolved federal lawsuit is alarming.

posted by: SusanKennedy on August 15, 2017  7:59pm

Part 3:
Why should New Haven’s taxpayers and the NHPD continue to roll the dice with any employee who potentially risks these multi-million dollar, Vincent Raucci-type costs to the city’s finances? Conklin’s known and documented professional conduct may speak to a personality pattern that is not easily corrected with additional training. If there are already three publicly disclosed IA investigations on Daniel Conklin during his short tenure on the force, how many potentially similar and unprofessional citizen interactions did the IA fail to investigate due to lack of awareness? How many citizens may have passively withstood foul treatment and disrespect by Conklin without ever filing complaints? Based on statistical extrapolation, one has to assume some high multiple of those three investigations, suggesting Conklin’s record in actuality may likely be worse than that which is recorded and publicly available. What additional truths may remain held secret by Conklin’s officer colleagues? What might be the cost to their integrities and careers for potentially dismissing and enabling Conklin’s demonstrated behaviors? How many innocent citizens may Daniel Conklin have arrested on false or trumped-up charges, to be placed in a jail cell away from their families for an unnecessary overnight stay, only to have those charges dropped the next morning? As a detective, can Conklin’s word hold up in a court of law based on his past actions? While in custody, does the unexplained disappearance of a citizen’s phone suggest a potential deception by an officer duty bound to uphold the law? I urge the NHPD to maintain very high standards, purge the force of those who might destroy it by their conduct, and strengthen its mission with only the best hires. Many fine and qualified candidates surely exist in the community itself.

posted by: nib1 on August 15, 2017  10:42pm

I have read all of these comments and the common theme is what a bad guy Conklin is and why should taxpayers have to foot the bill for potential wrongdoing by him in the future. Then there are the comments that defend his actions. I have two points. First, the ones who defend Conklin have just alerted others that they too have the same horrifying characteristics as Conklin. Second, the fault lies at the top and that is with Chief Campbell.  Campbell promoted him and we would not be having this conversation if not for Campbell’s incompetence and lack of moral leadership in promoting someone with a background such as Conklin. Campbell is not being held accountable for his lack of decision making skills which will cause taxpayers to foot the bill for all of the lawsuits that will be filed because of his promotions, transfers, etc.  Its time that he answer to alot of his “scratch your head” moments and there are plenty more to come. It is unfortunate that there is a Police officer in New Haven with cruel tactics he perpetrated on the community and even more unfortunate that he has been given even more power and respect as a Lieutenant by our own Chief of Police!

posted by: Blues Travi on August 15, 2017  11:25pm

A complete disarray! As long as there is no true leadership in the Department nothing will get fixed—thus far it’s been only temporary bandaids… This “Chief” does not know what he is doing, or what the role of a leader entails, make decisions, or pay adequate attention to details (the right details). Everyday it becomes more obvious that he does not know how to lead unless the strings are pulled the right way. He and Harp will continue to cost the city’s taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars more.
I think this is a perfect opportunity for the Alders, Commissioners to rethink their choice for PD leader. Allowing behavior like this is unbecoming of an officer, let alone a leader. Lack of maturity plays its part, however, having let incident after incident go by with no consequence or a light slap on the hand, permits for the behavior to persist—intensifying with each manifestation. Lawsuits and complaints will continue to emerge and taxpayers must pay for incidents like this rather than revitalizing communities, programs, schools and/or roads.

posted by: Retired on August 16, 2017  1:52pm

Just to put in my 2 cents .. Promotion Process. For the past 25 years or so, the process is this: If the PD is having a promotional test for , lets say, 10 sergeants . And 100 officers take this promotional test . The top 10 high scorers will get the promotion . Period. If Charles Manson scored in the top 10 , he would be promoted to sergeant. The process is the test only. There is no review of your patrol file , IA file or any supervisor evaluation. And if the Chief decides he is going to skip someone , which he can , there is always a lawsuit brought on by the skipped officer because of past practice and most officers have won money and promotions because of it, so its better for the City to go straight down the list. This is why you get the officers who lack integrity , lack maturity and lack of experience who get promoted because they spend the most time studying. You will find that your best cops who have the best work ethic , no IA complaints and come to work everyday are always in the middle to the end of the list. I’m not totally saying that the top 10 are not good officers because most are but 1 or 2 or more always raise a few eyebrows. Now, find a solution to get to some of those officers in the middle or at the end to get promoted and your department will be credible again. BTW I retired a LT. Just saying.

posted by: Dwightstreeter on August 16, 2017  2:41pm

@Retired. Thank you for the information. Very helpful.

posted by: pd093 on August 16, 2017  10:20pm

Here is how the promotional process used to work under the 1 of the top 3. 100 take the exam. 50 score 100%, 49 score 99% and 1 scores 70% (passing). The city of New Haven would say there are three groups of 100%, 99% and 70%. We can take the third group and bypass 99 to get to the 70%. Remember Ricci v. DeStefano with the Fire Department promotion that cost the City over 5 Million $$$$$. At the NHPD the Kelly’s sued and won, on and on. How many promotional law suits? There is at least one ongoing. Now at least, they break the list down to % points. 99.1, 89.85….
Unless there is a SIGNIFICANT reason to bypass someone on the list, they better go straight down that list. If the NHPD is bypassing some due to an “IA” and not others, then they have a problem.
If the City said they want all their police officers to have law degrees, then they would have to have a huge salary. If they wanted their officers to have a Bachelor Degree then it would still be a lot of money. You get what you pay for. What is the incentive to fight crime in New Haven rather than become a CT State Police Officer (pension/$$$)? (Other than the State has no money and is not hiring CSP.)
Every so often we get a Vinny Raucci, a dirty cop, that gives us all a bad name. Paul Bass is correct to explore the hiring and promotional process as a result of the City having to pay out, due to Raucci. This all starts in the hiring process.  One of the problems has been “POLITICS” in the hiring process. How shall the NHPD insure they hire and retain the best and the brightest/honest officers?
I believe Campbell is honest and should be given a chance.

posted by: new haven can do better on August 17, 2017  1:08am

Detective Conklin’s record speaks for itself. In 5 short years he is the subject of 3 negative IA findings and 1 Federal lawsuit. And then he gets promoted to a position that requires more trust

Brian McDermott described his protege Conklin as “the proverbial ‘bull in a China shop’”. McDermott goes on to say that ‘Detective Conklin is infinitely more valuable to the NHPD at his current stage of development than he was five years ago’ Really?? I mean, the IA findings are from 2 years ago, and the Federal lawsuit is from 1 year ago. Was there some sort of divine intervention about a year ago?

Brian McDermott adds, “This is a prime example of the need to retain, train and cultivate experienced police officers” Are you serious? You mean we need to retrain someone who is a police officer that they shouldn’t destroy evidence, curse at and hit innocent civilians, or steal someone’s cell phone? Most of us learned not to do that when we were in grade school.


Brian McDermott goes on to question the purpose behind the article. He writes, ” If there is any personal connection whatsoever between yourself (or your staff) and this person, that should be disclosed. While thoroughly researched,  this article seemed way more as a vendetta than current events. I wonder what’s really going on here?” The readers are the ones left wondering what is really going on here with you defending this guy Conklin. Do you really think having 3 negative IA findings and 1 Federal lawsuit.in 5 years is OK? Do you really think this is the best New Haven can do? Are you so blind to how the residents of New Haven feel that you want to point the finger at the new media?

posted by: Mikelive on August 17, 2017  7:31am

So much bickering here yet nobody mentions the fact that the police union is the main reason that bad cops stay bad cops. The amount of protection the union gives the rule breakers is sickening. Chief Campbell is just trying to do his job while his hands are tied, I would not want his job.

posted by: Dwightstreeter on August 17, 2017  9:36am

@pd093: The problems are not limited to the hiring process.
    Last night, as a community meeting at the Stetson Library called by Barbara Fair, Chief Campbell disclosed that there is no evaluation process in place once someone is on the force. Psychological services are available to an officer who experiences some traumatic event, but there is NO system in place to oversee an officer’s fitness for the work.
    This is a stunning omission at a time when, as one person said, even McDonald’s does an annual evaluation of its staff.
    This community meeting ran over 2 hours and was a conversation between the people and the police, represented by members of Internal Affairs, Chief Campbell and Assistant Chief Racheal Kaine.
    The formality of the Q & A and police procedures dissolved briefly into a very human moment when Barbara Fair was emotionally overcome by the video of her arrest and that of her nephew DraMese Fair, but the format resumed with members of the audience offering specific “solutions” to solve the lack of trust in the PD.   
    One person recommended the Chief advise the State’s Attorney to drop all charges in the morning.
    State Reps Robyn Porter and Gary Winfield spoke about legislation to mandate independent investigations of complaints against police, legislation which Campbell supports. Winfield challenged Campbell to appear next time to testify in support of the bill which is opposed by the Assn. of Police Chiefs.
    No date has been set for the next meeting, but any one interested in understanding what is going on with policing in New Haven will have an opportunity to observe or be heard.

[Ed Note: The Independent will have a fuller story on this meeting next week.]

posted by: Dwightstreeter on August 17, 2017  12:08pm

@Mikelive: You are spot on! Police contracts with the union are reportedly uniform across the state in CT. We need to post NH"s contract with the Police Union so people can decide for themselves if the public is being served or shafted by the contract.

posted by: denny says on August 17, 2017  4:06pm

Yes. We need to take a hard look at the contract. Conklin was on a cushy traffic assignment when he arrested the guy living in Edgewood. Just padding his pension. You shouldn’t need a badge and a gun to direct traffic. These traffic assignments should be reserved for New Haven residents.

posted by: denny says on August 17, 2017  4:10pm

Would be great if someone could post the police contract, and the work rules.  Seems we have lots of manpower Sunday through Thursday from 9 to 5 when things are quiet, but a real shortage on Friday and Saturday nights. And the non-emergeny number is a real joke

posted by: Blues Travi on August 17, 2017  5:34pm

Officers would not do as the inadequacies and other misconduct if they had a strong chief, who knows how to discipline, knows and understands the job, the neighborhood, its citizens and is not playing Houdini when things happen, or scratching his head or saying the nice things everyone wants to hear to feel appeased. Leadership does not work your way- “Chief.” Pack it up! Mayor Harp what an incredible disappointment.
This officer and those who act and think this type of behavior is acceptable say a lot… Officers must look up to their Chief… obviously this one gets no respect and doesn’t know how to get it.

posted by: nib1 on August 17, 2017  7:28pm

@Dwightstreeter: Well the Mayor and police union must be so happy that the Chief just opened his mouth and said that he agreed to the State investigating Nhpd files. Now that he was challenged by Winfield to speak openly about support for the bill, he has put his foot in his mouth. The Assoc. of Chiefs of Police do not agree with the bill and will ostracise him and the department every chance they get. Now he has also opened the door for more lawsuits against the city if this bill gets passed. Don’t get me wrong I believe that officers need to be punished for wrongdoings but Chief Campbell should clean his own house. Not have others do it for him. Because he has no leadership skills or backbone he wants someone else to assess any wrongdoings so he doesn’t have to take the blame.  I would think the Mayor is not happy with Campbell’s support for the bill behind closed doors, because of the ramifications the city will face in the future for the actions of some officers. With all of these other problems surrounding Campbell such as the transfer of officer Cruz, the skipping over of Sgt. Rose Dell and the arrests of Barbara Fair and her nephew, he’s going to bankrupt this City.  Further, taxpayers
will have to pay for all of this crap.  Our taxes will definitely go up now.

posted by: I Shouted Out... on August 17, 2017  8:18pm

Part One - Rogue Cop…
“All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.”
-Galileo

Many concerned citizens are commenting thoughtfully and earnestly about this article by Paul Bass on spotting rogue cops within the New Haven Police Department. This is an encouraging display of civic discourse and I applaud everyone here who is participating in this reasoned discussion on both sides. Now, another quote:

“When you realize that incompetent police officers are harassing you, you need to call 911 and demand that a police supervisor be immediately dispatched to the scene. In the mean time you need to be video recording everything, as police officers are known for their blatant lies and fabrications.”
― Steven Magee

The Edgewood neighborhood man who was arrested, perhaps on false pretenses, by Daniel Conklin, and who has brought a federal case against the officer, did in fact call 911 and get a supervisor involved. And the man recorded everything with his cell phone. We all know the facts of the case from the December 8, 2016 New Haven Independent article, and we know the man was arrested in the end. So now, another quote:

“Corrupt and incompetent police officers have a long history of being protected by their colleagues, police internal affairs and the government.”
― Steven Magee

posted by: I Shouted Out... on August 17, 2017  8:20pm

Part Two - Rogue Cop…
If the arrest was unwarranted or unreasonable, the police supervisor apparently did not exercise discretion on behalf of the citizen he serves, and sided with Daniel Conklin, an officer with a documented aberrant behavioral history and numerous internal affairs reviews. And one of the two of them confiscated the device used to record everything. And now, two related quotes:

“When it is a law abiding common person versus the police internal affairs regarding a corrupt or incompetent police officer, the statistics show that it is the common person that most frequently loses.”

“Police internal affairs is amongst the most corrupt departments that you will find in governments.”
― Steven Magee

Daniel Conklin was working extra duty in front of the man’s home on the day he arrested him for helping his mother get out of the driveway with work crews on the street. Extra duty pay and overtime pay amongst police departments is a topic that Paul Bass could write a great deal about. I’ll leave that to him, other than to add that it’s all about the money and department connections, and it makes property taxes go up. Now, another quote:

“The police have lost sight of the fact that they are public servants.”
― Steven Magee

posted by: I Shouted Out... on August 17, 2017  8:22pm

Part Three - Rogue Cop…
The Edgewood man is likely wasting his hard earned money pursuing this federal lawsuit. Maybe the guy’s stubborn or principled. Maybe he’s got a different video recording. I don’t know. I doubt it. But he will lose his case and have wasted his time fighting for a little bit of justice. Nothing will happen to Daniel Conklin, the brash new detective with the “family connections” apparently somewhere amongst that blue fraternity of police. I believe that the bulk of the police department does have great integrity and serves the community well. But I know that some do not, some of the time, or maybe a lot of the time. I think we probably know which side Conklin falls under. This is a nuisance case for Daniel Conklin, an inconvenience, embarrassing noise for a few weeks at the precinct because of the online media coverage. It will be over soon. Thanksgiving will be around the corner. All the commenters here will have moved on. And the Edgewood man will be working out an installment plan to pay his lawyer.

Now, a closing and somewhat distorted quote from Hill Street Blues:

“Let’s be careful out there…citizens.”

posted by: CarolM on August 18, 2017  7:29pm

1/2
Reading all these comments can get you down. While I am very disheartened to read about these many examples of abuse of power by Officer Daniel Conklin, I think the Edgewood neighborhood man who filed the federal case against Conklin will prevail in court because he has one, VERY compelling case. Lots of lawyers in my family, and the facts – if they can be proven in court—point to a very clear civil rights violation and a blatant disregard for the New Haven Police Department’s standing order on cell phone/video confiscation. I really admire and respect that this man is spending probably a LOT of his money fighting the good fight – so many people simply can’t afford to seek justice – while the rogue cop Conklin has a lawyer paid for by taxpayers! So I view this citizen as a hero playing a huge and very important role. I truly hope his court case gets a clarifying result that benefits the entire community – citizens AND police – by helping keep the many honest cops in New Haven more mindful and focused on their true north (our internal compass that hopefully steers all of us in the moral and right direction).

posted by: CarolM on August 18, 2017  7:31pm

2/2
I’m just a mother, not a lawyer myself, and so what bothers me the most about this particular story is that Officer Daniel Conklin and his supervisor, Sargent Jason Rentkowicz, would subject this man to that humiliation in front of his own home, left to wait handcuffed on his front lawn (I picture him just lying there in the December cold) for an hour until a police van arrived! Was his mother watching tearfully from inside the window, just mystified by it all? I question what the activity could have been that justified charges for any kind of crime here. It doesn’t make ANY sense and seems so unreal. From the New Haven Independent’s account, he was helping direct his elderly mother so she could safely drive from her driveway out onto a street busy with construction activity. Daniel Conklin, apparently mere feet away (and if he had any sense of courtesy!), could have been a good boy scout and recognized that this poor woman might need a bit of help. Lesson learned for Daniel Conklin maybe, especially if he’s demoted or justifiably thrown off the force: BE RESPECTFUL BECAUSE IT DOESN’T COST YOU ANYTHING! Based on all those descriptions of his disrespectful and demeaning behavior to citizens in those internal affairs reports, Daniel Conklin is clearly someone who wasn’t raised by his parents all that well. I’ll pray for him, but I’ll also follow this case closely.