Police Vote 246 to 21 Against Chief

Thomas MacMillan PhotoInside police headquarters, cops sent a message: We have “no confidence” in Chief Frank Limon or his assistant chiefs. Meanwhile, protesters outside the building also expressed no confidence—in the entire department.

Cops sent their message in a 246 to 21 vote Thursday at police headquarters at 1 Union Ave. The results were announced just after 7:30 p.m. by union president Sgt. Lou Cavaliere.

By an overwhelming majority, they took a non-binding vote of “no confidence” in the Chicago trio at the top of the department, Chief Limon and Assistant Chiefs Thomas Wheeler and Tobin Hensgen. The balloting took place at 1 Union Ave. between 6:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. Read background stories on the controversy here and here.

“I’m going to continue to do the job I was hired to do,” Chief Limon said after the vote. He said that he still has confidence in his officers, despite their apparent lack of confidence in him.

Rank-and-file grumbling about Limon prompted the police union to call for the vote. Union brass said rank-and-file demanded the vote because of outrage over Limon’s management style—allegedly eviscerating morale by denying due rights, moving slowly in arming them with new rifles, and failing to communicate. The chief’s supporters, including black community activists who rallied at 1 Union Ave. Monday, charge the union with resisting needed changes Limon has started bringing to the department since arriving last April.

The vote result is a clear indication that dissatisfaction with department leadership is widespread and goes beyond just the union heads, Cavaliere said. Out of a total union membership of 441 officers, 267 voted. Cavaliere called that a strong turnout.

“We’re hoping the mayor will intervene,” Cavaliere said. “He’s the boss.”

The mayor needs to call the chiefs in and order them to make changes that will improve department morale, which is at an all-time low, Cavaliere charged. If the chiefs can’t improve the department, they should go back to Chicago, he said.

“You can’t identify any one issue to cause today’s problem,” Cavaliere said. Among the contributing factors are allegations that the chief has refused to address grievances in the department, has dressed-down officers while denying them union representation, and has delayed handing out new AR-15 rifles and bulletproof vests.

The department administration is disconnected from the rank and file cops, Cavaliere said before the vote. The chiefs do not appear at line-ups often enough and do not communicate with the officers well, he said.

Richard Gudis, an attorney for AFSCME Council 15, which represents Local 530, the police union, handed out a letter outlining several reasons that cops have no confidence in Limon and his assistant chiefs. Limon “has not demonstrated a command presence and has failed to build on the strategies necessary to manage” the department, the letter states. Such a “lack of ability and vision” has become “a distraction” to officers that is reducing their safety and the safety of New Haveners, the letter states.

Thomas MacMillan File PhotoReached by phone from Chicago, where he is visiting his family, Chief Limon said he is going to stay the course. “My goal is very clear,” he said. It’s to increase public safety, improve community trust, and professionalize the police force, he said.

On the subject of better communication, Limon said he is open to “any type of improvements.” He said he has already sought to communicate with his officers by holding six “open forums” where cops could come and chat with the chiefs. He also hired a consultant to improve communication inside and outside the department, he said.

Technology improvements could improve communication, Limon said. “Here’s a department that doesn’t have an email address for every officer in the system.”

The vote is a part of an adjustment to new leadership, Limon said. “When you come in, it takes a while for people to get used to your style of management.”

“I have a lot of confidence in the department,” he said. “I respect them [the officers] for what they do day in and day out.”

Taking A Page From Egypt

Thomas MacMillan PhotoEarlier in the day, as cops cast their ballots inside, protesters outside also expressed no confidence—in the entire department.

While they did not takes sides on the ongoing vote inside, the group of 15 protesters outside said they have no confidence in the police department’s ability to investigate complaints of police brutality and no confidence in police handling new assault rifles promised to them. And they argued that that issue is connected to the question of the police chief’s performance.

The protesters gathered at 5 p.m. on the steps of police headquarters at 1 Union Ave. They hoisted signs saying “Where is the accountability?”, laid out photographs of people who have allegedly been beaten by cops, and held up a large banner reading “NHPD Guilty.”

Some of the activists, from a group called New Haven Against Police Brutality, displayed “Wanted” posters with a picture of Officer Dennis O’Connell, who has been the subject of nine Internal Affairs investigations into claims that he has beaten people without cause.

Several of the protesters mentioned the ongoing protests in Egypt as a possible inspiration for New Haveners to take to the streets to demand change in the police department. John Lugo, one of the organizers, added that he was not in any way advocating violence.

The protest kicked off just before 5 p.m., with chants of “From the Hill to the ‘Ville to City Hall, police brutality affects us all.” Unlike a previous similar protest, the activists did not come armed with a seasonal song of protest.

Lugo (with bullhorn in photo above) was one of several who took up a bullhorn to address the group. He took the opportunity to denounce the police union as “defending these thugs” on the force.

He was referring to this Independent article, in which police union head Cavaliere said that protesters are protecting the “thugs” who “live in their neighborhoods.”

“The only difference between them and the criminals is they have blue uniforms,” Lugo said.

“It is time for us to take to the streets all the time,” until there are changes in the department, Lugo said.

“Maybe we should take a lesson from Egypt,” said Maurice “Blest” Peters (pictured) when he took the bullhorn. “Turn this town upside down.”

Lugo later said it has been inspiring “seeing the people in Egypt being on the streets and basically putting the country upside down. This is a lesson we have to learn.”

Lugo acknowledged that things have gotten bloody and violent in Egypt, with people throwing rocks and fighting with improvised weapons. But “through history” social change has rarely come about through “peaceful processes. There’s always been some blood,” he said.

“I’m not advocating violence,” Lugo said. But people need to get out and protest on the streets to see real change. “No rocks.”

A Referendum On The Mayor?

Melinda Tuhus PhotoAs he left police headquarters Thursday morning at the start of a day-long vote, Officer Mark Taylor said the true candidate’s name didn’t appear on the ballot: Mayor John DeStefano. Taylor (pictured) joined other officers at Thursday morning’s shift change at police headquarters as the first ballots were cast for the referendum.

At the morning shift change, cops were reluctant to give on-the-record opinions about the no-confidence vote against Limon. But the clear sense was the initial vote wasn’t going well for the chief.  “No all the way,” said one veteran officer. “This chief is not trustworthy; he’s sneaky.” When asked for specifics, he referred to an incident in which two cops were called in to Limon’s office and not allowed to bring a union rep with them.

“I would say over 90 percent [of union members] will vote no,” he added. He said he’s less interested in seeing the chief leave the department than in sending a message: “We’re showing we’re not happy with the administration; we want him to change his ways.”

“I’m with everyone else,” another officer piped in.

The man who brought Limon to New Haven—Mayor DeStefano—also came up in conversation. The mayor’s recent calls to revise binding arbitration rules and to revisit police pension benefits have elicited widespread grumbling in the department. (Read about that here and here.) There’s talk of widespread retirements before the current union contract expires June 30. The pension fund’s value has plummeted in the recession.

“The vote really doesn’t matter,” Officer Taylor said. “People are really angry with the mayor. He’s trying to jam us up” with demands for givebacks. 

Sgt. Anthony Santarcangelo (pictured against the wall of fallen heroes) spoke about the chiefs he’s seen come and go in his 35 years on the force: Ed Morrone, Biagio DiLieto, William Farrell, Nick Pastore, Mel Wearing, Francisco Ortiz, Stephanie Redding, James Lewis, and Limon. “I’ve seen it all,” he said. Asked about his favorites, he listed DiLieto, Farrell and Lewis. “They loved the city and they loved the police department, and they respected the rank and file officers and supervisors.”

Santarcangelo said he hadn’t thought about retiring until he learned that DeStefano is demanding givebacks in contract negotiations.  “I’m going to have to leave this June” to maintain benefits, he said. More than a quarter of the force may do the same, he predicted.

The mood was upbeat as officers walked briskly in and out of police headquarters at the shift change. They joked with each other and with Michele Kearney (pictured), who was making a valiant effort to wash the floor even as cops were tracking in slush from the “wintry mix” outside police headquarters. She laughed and told them to come right in.

Kearney is not eligible to vote Thursday. But she said she has observed what the cops are feeling.

“There’s been a lot of tension ever since he’s [Limon] been here. There is not a lot of morale here,” she said. “The last chief [Lewis] was more understanding of what needs to be done. From what I have seen he wanted to hear their opinions and try to work with them. This one here [Limon] seems like he is working against them and not with them.”

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posted by: Paul Martin on February 3, 2011  12:49pm

Why do these guys feel entitled to retire like CEOs?

posted by: 100% on February 3, 2011  12:51pm

... What say we get rid of everyone and bring in a brand new department?

posted by: Exiled Italian Shill on February 3, 2011  12:51pm

This is an example of how police unions organize themselves for contract fights.  Nothing more and nothing less.

posted by: Jonathan Hopkins on February 3, 2011  1:08pm

This isn’t necessarily addressed to the specific offices mentioned in the article because I don’t know where they live, but if anybody wants to get rid of the mayor they should get involved in the civic life of the city. Volunteer time to community organizations, go to monthly neighborhood meetings at the police substations, organize block parties, use public parks and talk to neighbors. Support alternative candidates and get out and vote in the fall. Of course having the ability to vote for New Haven’s mayor also requires that you live here, which takes away about 80% of the validity, seriousness and strength of the police union’s complaints.

posted by: City Dem on February 3, 2011  1:23pm

“The vote really doesn’t matter,” Office Taylor said after casting his vote. “People are really angry with the mayor. He’s trying to jam us up” with demands for givebacks.

Santarcangelo said he hadn’t thought about retiring until he learned that DeStefano is demanding givebacks in contract negotiations.  “I’m going to have to leave this June” to maintain benefits, he said. More than a quarter of the force may do the same, he predicted.

What percentage of the police force actually live in New Haven?

And a $124,000/year pension for a $105,000/year job, at age 52? I vote no confidence in the police. It feels like us taxpayers are getting scammed.

Let the police union cry all they want. Obviously they don’t care about the other unions who will inevitably get painted with the same broad brush.

posted by: Drosophila on the Wall on February 3, 2011  1:24pm

The immense hostility towards any kind of reasonable negotiation on behalf of the police union is repugnant.  New Haven has major budget problems, and these problems have complex roots and wide-ranging implications. The city has spent the last 3 years trying desperately to cut back its budget without making serious cuts to vital services.  Police and fire unions, along with the police and firefighting forces, have been the LAST people to be asked to contribute, as they are understood to have a difficult, demanding, and necessary job.  The feeling that members of the police union have no obligation to attempt to help with the problems, however, should infuriate taxpayers, who have been the first to pitch in, albeit reluctantly.

I’m glad the policemen feel that they can express their frustration with the mayor by voting against the bosses since they’re pissed about the implications of a plummeting national economy.  I’m a lot more glad, at the moment, that the majority of them don’t live in New Haven, and have no actual say in how we make decisions regarding the way the city is run, because they clearly are operating purely out of self-interest and have no sense of a larger problem that they can contribute to fixing.

posted by: Swatty on February 3, 2011  2:20pm

Jam you up? Dang foolish statement

Taxpayers need to stand with the Mayor on this one. Hizzoner’s biggest mistake is he didn’t answer fast enough!

posted by: Ex-NHPD on February 3, 2011  2:25pm

Limon will lose this vote, even though the Union Members will not be voting the Chicago Way—early and often, and with deceased folks rising up to vote.

posted by: just sayin' on February 3, 2011  2:34pm

I wonder how many of the officers voting “against” DeStefano actually voted for or against him in the last mayoral election.

posted by: William Kurtz on February 3, 2011  2:37pm

Second time I have seen this phrasing:

“moving slowly and arming them with new rifles,”

Typo?  Or are the new rifles a grievance?

posted by: Ellis Copeland on February 3, 2011  2:55pm

1) Since most of the union members do not live in New Haven they cannot vote in New Haven, so who cares what they think.

2) It is interesting how 400 people who will gleefully stamp on everyone’s rights with a smug and a smirk get all worked up about their own perceived rights.

posted by: notty on February 3, 2011  3:09pm

I think Mark Taylor said it best, and spoke the truth about what is really going on, he said, the vote doesnt matter and he is right it doesnt because most of you dont live in the city, secondly he spoke about his anger with the Mayor, so its clear that this has nothing to do with the chief but the Mayor. Guys give it up, be thankful you have a job in this bad economy, if you really want to have some say in this city then move here, otherwise just do your jobs without whining.

posted by: Cityres on February 3, 2011  3:14pm

@ City Dem, and everyone else on that $124K retirement band wagon..What part are you not capable of understanding that this was NOT a union negotiated benefit? This was negotiated by our Mayor for his “Execucitve/Confidential” staff. It’s getting tiresome, find something else to complain about. For the record, I don’t recall such an outcry when Asst. Chief Redding retired with the same..and no, I am not a police officer. Just tired of hearing misinformed and tired complaints.

posted by: New Haven labor union alliance on February 3, 2011  3:46pm

If you live in new haven and work in one of the new haven unions, please visit us on face book. “new haven labor union alliance “.  We are the people who can make a difference.

posted by: Former NH resident on February 3, 2011  3:51pm

Did anyone ever think why NH city employees move out of the city.  Bad schools and PD.  It is not safe when people listen to these community activists and are ignored by City hall.  Bring back a strong city government and maybe we will return.

posted by: My husband is NHPD on February 3, 2011  3:57pm

The rank and file of NHPD put up with alot of crap.  They get up go to work and get very little accolades for it.  What do the community “leader” know about what goes on with the Local 530?  These so called community leaders only sound off when someone in their family gets in trouble with the law.  NOONE KNOWS THIS NEW CHIEF because he has a CLOSE DOOR policy.  The city should kept Lewis, who was a cops cop!!!!!Get rid of Limon, he has no investment into our community and he shows it by trying to buy his way to the top, instead of leading his way to the top. Go Back To Chicago!
As far as the pensions are concerned, don’t touch them.  These men and woman work damn hard and long for their pensions.  Anyone who can endure the perils and stress of being a police officer in New Haven deserves every penny they invest into the pension plan.  If you don’t like it then move, or go to the Academy and lets see if you can accomplish what each and every officer does every day!

posted by: da hill on February 3, 2011  3:58pm

@ Paul Martin-they feel this way because this is the society that we have created…where else can you collect a check long after you STOP WORKING-until death.  This concept dates back to the Great Depression, where employers created an inviting workplace along with an incentive to never leave by developing pension funds and retirement plans (I am not against either; however, you reap what you sow…) and the city will be the beneficiary of an entire generation of retirees whom will be financially covered by the current workforce.

Is this fair?  Not sure of the right answer…as the current retiring force paid for the generation that proceeded them, despite the compensation being lower and the debt more manageable.  we are in for a rude awakening when you have portfolio losses that amount to 50% of the fund, and out of control spending. 

The officer is absolutely correct in retiring before the rules change and he loses out on potential income, as will the rest of the force that is eligible…we can not be angry with them for taking advantage of the system that most certainly takes advantage of them (at least 15%-the ones that live here). 

The Union and the administration are playing Russian roulette with people’s lives and livelihoods It is unfortunate but most certainly a self inflicted wound. 

PS…Thank you to the members of NHPD that are worthy of the badge and responsibility that comes along with it.  There has been tremendous amount attributed to the bad apples, and even worst administrators…we know this is not the sum of the whole, and you are worthy of praise as well (note the NHI Cop of the Week).  Just hold on to your coin purse and let the media smoke out the rats and snakes, and then you can assume your role as monitors of the system!

posted by: Cityres on February 3, 2011  4:09pm

It is unfortunate that the union leadership has not taken the opportunity to air what really is their grievance, which is a lack of leadership and the outright disregard for work place rules that are in a contract which was previously negotiated. It infuriates me as a tax payer that we pay the salaries of a Chief and 2 Asst. Chiefs that are out of town on a regular basis, that are not certified police officers in this state. As tax payers we should ALL be outraged by that. How do you feel paying Chief Limon that big a salary and know that 2 weeks of the month he is out of state. If the PD is in such a state of despair, then wouldn’t a responsible leader be front and center and accounted for? If he were ccommittedto turning around not only the image of the PD but the morale, wouldn’t it behoove him to roll his sleeves up and get his hands dirty? (no pun intended) As far as their grievance complaints, the Union and their members have a right to have them heard in an expedetious time frame. And if you are an employee who has been called to the Chiefs’ office, you have the right to Union representation, period. That is a basic labor rule. We should be questioning then, the pay we have given these men if they are incapable of doing the most basic things like being certified and following basic labor laws/rules.

posted by: citizen on February 3, 2011  4:11pm

To The New Haven Police Officer Wife

YOU GO GIRL you are soooooooo right Been there done that.

posted by: The Professor on February 3, 2011  4:21pm

I’m with Jonathan Hopkins on this, although I think it’s worth pointing out that NHPD officers might have a tough time getting involved with New Haven’s civic and electoral life because so few of them actually live in New Haven. 

And NHPD wife,

You say, “[a]nyone who can endure the perils and stress of being a police officer in New Haven deserves every penny they invest into the pension plan.”  Does this mean you support a defined contribution plan, in which officers actually, you know, invest in their retirement?  Because the way things work right now (defined benefit), they’re getting far, far more than they invest.

My guess is that if the police union came to the city and said they were willing to switch to a defined contribution plan, the City would be elated.

posted by: da hill on February 3, 2011  4:23pm

**Note to Editor**

Just curious, why does the NHI ruin pieces such as this with the opinions of unrelated entities (the young lady cleaning the floor)? Is she really and authority on the morale of the police force? Does she really have such intimate contact with the officers as to know how they feel about the chief? 

In my opinion you started strong with quotes from vested members of the force and ended with a quote from the janitorial staff that has nothing to do with the no confidence vote.  It kind of cheapens the issue to me…

[Editor: Thanks for the input. Our feeling was that someone who’s in the building cleaning the floors every day, talking to officers, and watching what’s going on, does in fact have a valid perspective to offer on morale and the overall feeling in the building.]

posted by: hockey sox on February 3, 2011  5:01pm

The Mayor could care less if 90 officers retired He could then hire twice as many for the same base pay for what 3 years and have them in a new pension plan.As for those big pensions they leave with how many hours a week did they have to work 80 maybe 90 giving up weekends, holidays and working vacations. Only a couple of people got that perk $124,000 and those were hand picked by the Mayor ( Redding and Melendez)The Chief only does what the Mayor wants. He’s a puppet, that’s why Lewis left because he stood up to the Mayor. People should complain about the Mayor giving 10 thousand dollar raises to his school administrators.But then it wouldn’t be cop bashing. As for living in the City I did for a long time until the taxes went sky high and the crime is out of control.The Democrats want to give everything away to the poor.As they say Democrats are the party of the poor ,Keep voting democrat and you’ll be poor forever

posted by: Swatty on February 3, 2011  6:13pm

if the police officers keep their present level of pension benefits the whole thing goes bankrupt in a couple of years and they get NOTHING.

A little bit less of something or a whole lot of nothing?

posted by: NO CONFIDENCE on February 3, 2011  6:21pm

I am so happy to see a civilian like Michele, pictured above, tell the citizens of New Haven how Chief Limon treats his officers.  She works in the police department and is definitely well qualified to make those statements.  If you do not work in the police department you can not have an opinion on how Limon treats his officers. 

Many black citizens who rallied for Limon this week in front of the police department, refuse to believe how officers feel about Limon, because many of you believe that its mostly white officers that do not like him. Well, just look at Michele, need I say more?. There are plenty of minority officers who are unhappy with Limon.

To all of those black activists that rallied for Limon earlier this week, what are you rallying for? What has he done for the black community?  What has his only black top executive officer Wheeler done for the black community? 

To all of those black activists like Barbara Fair, why don’t you ask Limon how many minorities, besides Wheeler, he has picked to head a major division, Well, to answer that, NONE!!

There are so many minorities in the police department that are qualified to run departments, who live in New Haven and care about the citizens of New Haven. These actions by Limon are not reflective of a person who cares about the black community.

So you are rallying for a guy who only surrounds himself with white executive officers and who do not live in New Haven? So your argument is that Limon cares about the citizens of New Haven? How, when there are no officers that represent the majority of citizens that live in New Haven.

Well, Michele (pictured above) is one of those people that represents the majority of citizens that live in New Haven and because she spoke up for those officers, white and black, she was ordered to be fired by Chief Limon today and was escorted out of the building. 

It would be nice to see Barbara Fair’s crew rallying for Michele tomorrow in front of 1 Union.

posted by: NO CONFIDENCE on February 3, 2011  6:41pm

Also, the black activists also need to realize that if Chief Limon and Wheeler leave tomorrow, the police department will be run by white officers who do not even live in New Haven and I can guarantee you that many of them don’t give a crap about New Haven.

posted by: M on February 3, 2011  6:43pm

Is what “no confidence”(above comment) said about the young lady being fired for her comment to NHI true?  I would really like to know!

posted by: Our Town on February 3, 2011  6:58pm

I sure hope ole Michele is in a union, becuase I have a feeling she might not have a job tomorrow for speaking up.

posted by: HewNaven?? on February 3, 2011  8:04pm

“Of course having the ability to vote for New Haven’s mayor also requires that you live here, which takes away about 80% of the validity, seriousness and strength of the police union’s complaints.”



posted by: GC on February 3, 2011  8:05pm

Just a couple of Questions.  Do any of these people protesting know the facts about Ofc. O’Connell case? Did they just read an article written by a reporter that only had one side of the story? Did they listen to a self made activist that uses this news agency to voice her nonsense?  I don’t mind the protest, but lets get the facts straight before casting judgement.  No one there knows a thing about what happened.

posted by: White and born in raised in the Elm City on February 3, 2011  8:34pm

Dear No Confidence

As an officer in the NHPD I have learned that a lot of officers care and care very much.  These officers live in New Haven and other towns and are of all race and ethnic backgrounds.  We have some real winners but most do care and are more disillusioned with a portion of society that does not care for themselves let alone others.  If I am correct you had asked what Wheeler and Limon did for the black community.  Well nothing.  They work for the entire city of New Haven not just a select few.  We have to do what is best for the whole.  We are in this mess together.  It is attitudes like yours that set things back.  Learn to help and respect yourself and others will follow.

posted by: lance on February 3, 2011  8:51pm

you could thank nick pastore for his mostly boneheaded hiring moves 15 years ago for alot of the problems at the pd today.

posted by: Cairo on February 3, 2011  8:58pm

My encounters with NHPD over many years have thankfully been infrequent. Minor traffic issues, petty theft in the neighborhood, that kind of stuff. I have never been a subject of their inquiry, always the instigator. As far as I am concerned they have the attitude of an occupying force, are rude, arrogant, and are not citizen friendly at all. All I can assume is they have to deal with the slime daily, and forget 97% of the city’s citizenry are honest, hard working, and non-criminal.

Despite my absolute contempt for this institution, I find I must write this in their defense, on the assumption there are one or two straight cops in the city. Think of a man or woman who joined up in, say, 1985. They now have 25 years of service in, no social security, and the promise of a pension to support them in their old age. Because our Mayor has not been capable of managing the city budget, to say it politely, or been a spendthrift of historic proportions to put it more succinctly, these citizens of the city are going to be ripped off more badly than if they’d invested with Bernie Madoff. This is completely wrong. The City has a contract with them and must honor it. The fact that Destefano is not doing this is despicable beyond belief.

The way out of this is simple. General Motors and Ford have agreed a two tier system with their unions. They have honored their old contracts, but new employees have reduced benefits, pay, and all the rest. Both these companies have been turned around in the last three years. Is DeStefano not capable of realizing the way to go. If not he has lost the right to govern, even though he will be re-elected in November.

posted by: unprotected on February 3, 2011  9:16pm

Taylor got it right….92%.  sounds like the PD has finally gotten together and realized there is a bigger fight than amongst themselves.

posted by: Ellis Copeland on February 3, 2011  9:28pm

Those who squeal the loudest merely prove the Chief is on the right track.  He was brought here to clean up the mess that is NHPD (Lewis was a stooge). ...

posted by: PO'd on February 3, 2011  9:49pm

How about a no confidence vote on Officer Taylor who investigated an assault complaint I made several yrs ago..never returned my or my attorneys call and took several months to produce the police report which was illegible and grammatically incorrect unethical at best

posted by: Gene Debs on February 3, 2011  9:55pm

The word is that poor Michelle was let go today after speaking to the press.  She is a fine person whose friendly manner caused her to be well aware of how officers were feeling. This mean spirited retaliation for excercising ones basic rights shows just what cops are dealing with in this administration. I hope we can all rally to bring back Michelle!

posted by: Ex-NHPD on February 3, 2011  9:56pm

So the group protesting outside the NHPD Building several times cited the protests in Egypt as inspiration.  But, they’re not advocating violence.  You can tell they are not advocating violence, because they say it after each statement in which they are embracing violence.  It sure sounds like they can’t wait to turn the city upside down.

Can the NHI either confirm or deny “No Confidence” post that Michele Kearney was ordered to be fired and escorted out of 1 Union Avenue?

posted by: Fairhavener on February 3, 2011  9:57pm

On behalf of myself, my family and several of my neighbors we support the results of this vote and our street level police officers. How does anyone who is not an actual police officer understand or know what is going on behind closed doors downtown. If nothing else the Mayor should get the message that has been delivered.

posted by: wtf on February 3, 2011  10:01pm

Who the hell are these activists?  Where the hell did you find them?  ...  Did they come from madison and woodbridge?  I bet they got tired of spending mommy and daddy’s money so they figured lets go protest.  Cmon with these clowns. did any of the guys see the miller lite commercial about the skinny jeans, fyi they are not cool.  I guess the poor folk of new haven need the rich white kids from the burbs and yale to save them.  ...

posted by: cityres on February 3, 2011  10:03pm

Classic Lugo and Blest. I… You suggest uprisings akin to what’s happening in Egypt.  Aren’t we lucky..Our own homegrown terrorists. That will garner you tons of respect. Hope tomorrow morning its the FBI knocking on your door.

posted by: David Lynn on February 3, 2011  10:13pm

Reading about police Pensions begs the question of why they were given in the first place? Police can’t strike or have a union approved job action.  Who in the city would dole out extravagant pensions without having their head examined first?  Comments regarding CEO like retirement benefits should be directed at the city and it’s outside lawyers.  The pensions are outrageous but the city needs to take responsibility for giving them up .  It seems they believed the pension funds would return 15% a year forever.
The mayor and city signed on the dotted line and have to live with their mistake. The police have my full support, they earn their money.  Am I jealous?  Yes, but what done is done.  They can’t help it if their lucky.

posted by: 4sure on February 3, 2011  10:28pm

I believe there is a communication issue with this chielf & his staff. There are too may people voting no-confidence.
I am positive that many officers will retire this summer.
Maybe they could retrict the hiring to “NEW HAVEN residents” and lets see how many qualified candidates we get. I want to see how many people can write a report, pass agility test & oh yes lets not forget about those background checks!
How many people have the courage or guts to
do the job on a daily basis. It is easy to bash them but not many could do their job.
It is a VERY DANGEROUS job. They deal with ignorant people, go into roach infested homes & try to investigate crimes in neighborhoods where no one speaks (snitches) on a daily basis. They work holidays without holiday pay, work rotating days off & start with a much lower salary than surrounding towns such as West Haven & Hamden.
The mayor agreed to these contracts, I am sure something will have to change, let start with the mayors pension & benefits. How much does he pay for health insurance? How much will he retire with????

posted by: Really? on February 3, 2011  10:33pm

Did anyone else think Blest’s comment was a little ridiculous? Maybe we should take a lesson from Egypt,” said Maurice “Blest” Peters (pictured) when he took the bullhorn. “Turn this town upside down.” So the leader of a group who demands community based policing wants to start a riot to make progress. That makes sense. Blest wants to start a riot as Blest’s leader, Barbara Fair, wants her community outreach workers to be fully endorsed by the PD. Perfect.

posted by: White New Haven Cop on February 3, 2011  10:39pm


Your comments are an absolute insult to all of the White NHPD officers.  Believe it or not, most of us come in every day and do the best we can for EVERYONE.  Your staements infer that a Black officer is a better officer than I am simply because they are Black.  That is disgusting.  And you have the nerve to wonder why we sometimes have a bad attitude.  You’ve just answered your own question.

posted by: Observer on February 3, 2011  11:01pm

Hmmm..?  Aren’t there almost 500 cops in the department?  almost half didn’t vote.  so do they have confidence in the chief?

posted by: Citysavior on February 3, 2011  11:18pm

I’m hearing that the young lady was fired and the Sergeant was transferred ?? Paul can you confirm?? why would people like Copeland make comments if their not from new haven?? see how this works their are a lot people citywide who work here but don’t live here but make great contributions to the city!! by limiting its self the city does a disservice of getting the best possible. The Mayor knows where the police officers live before he hires them ,so lets not make this his rally cry now(wag the dog sound familiar). Lets find out two facts Paul ; what will John D make in a pension if he were to leave say July 1st and how much did Frank Limon make when he left Chicago. I bet you will find that both are triple digits and limons might even pass his currant salary. Look it up. Also I still support the hard working men and woman who throughout this most embarrassing moment in their departments history will continue to give 110 percent to keep us safe!!!!

posted by: johnny on February 3, 2011  11:26pm

All theses comments are bull… except that the chiefs and mayor are a joke I never paid into social security in my whole life and now you want me to give up my pension! That’s not what I signed up for and now tht the mayor is crying broke I’m supposed to suffer! Wtf…  Boy the mayor father was a cop .... Grandfather the officers in who have worked hard for many years and come to a reasonable le solution. What really screwed this place up was perf .. all the assistant chiefs getting paid over 100000 a year for what? To pick out floor colors for the locker room almost 300000 dollars when they could of gotten away with just doing the bathroom over and new berber carpet. As far as people bashinging cops who don’t deserve it I do know many people who have personally thanked and called me on my own time to help them out and to no avail I’ve always been a man of my word! I can’t speak for all but if the mayor screws us be rest assured I have a tent ready for his front yard. cops deserve their pension I don’t see the mayor revamping his salary. Get with the program destefano your old news you retire and let a real chief with some ... rule the city ...

posted by: Ken on February 4, 2011  12:06am

The maintenance girl was fired immediately and we heard it came from, you guessed it, the chief.  This is his MO if don’t agree with or lie for him you’re in trouble.  City Hall has demanded she be re-hired by O,R&L.  I guess the The Chief never heard of the First Amendment.  OR&L should be questioned about it and if they lie they should lose the city contracts.  If it came from the Chief he should be terminated.

posted by: FairHavenResident on February 4, 2011  12:27am

Living in Fair Haven, I have to say the cops earn their keep. It is not to say that we don’t have our problems: our new district manager is less hands on than our previous one. Some of the newer officers are still a bit harsh and unfriendly with the community. But overall, the cops assigned to Fair Haven are pretty good.

While Limon has made some poor decisions with respect to command staffing, I am still willing to see how he responds now to the vote of no confidence. As I remember, Cisco got a similar vote, and he was one of our own!

DeStefano is crafty and will use anyone or any thing, to advance his agenda. In this case, it is the dismantling of the police pension system. He will pit tax payer against police officers in order to achieve his goal.

Caviliere is a dinosaur and he himself should retire. ... The rank and file would do well to elect a new leadership team for their union. The rank and file must ask themselves with all sincerity do they want cops on the force that give them all a bad name?

Activists, wtf are you thinking? ... . The free for all continues with Maurice “Blest” calling for people to act in a manner like the Egyptians. What are you thinking? I am so glad the NHI got the ...  one to “clarify” his comments for us. Ms Barbara, is there a split with you activists? You’re up there supporting the chief, that other group of Yalies, supporting, I dont know, chaos. What’s up with that?

posted by: che15 on February 4, 2011  12:28am

So 25 mostly white, yale looking, wealthy (probably), individuals are complaining about the police and that is news.  Really?  I think the folks on the steps of the pd are masking there own prejudices and trying to compensate for their own racism.  If the nhpd was so screwed up I think there would be a better turn out.  ...

posted by: from russia with love on February 4, 2011  1:32am

Hey look at the protesters!!!!  Its Paul Bass’ fan club.

posted by: Detective Brosnahan on February 4, 2011  2:55am

Some people of New Haven have a question and it goes something like this…Why do the police feel entitled to retire like CEO’s? I have an answer and it goes something like this…
because we come to your house when your afraid, we save your children from speeding cars, we try to keep your marriages together, we fight with our hands to keep the kids off the corners, we run into your burning homes, we help your children stay safe in schools, we run through backyards in the middle of the night to catch the burglar at your basement door, we miss our family celebrations so you can enjoy yours, we work for 48hours straight just like your heroes on TV to catch a murderer, we run towards the man with the gun while you run away, and… WE RISK OUR LIVES TO SAVE YOURS. What CEO do you know does all that?

posted by: trainspotter on February 4, 2011  4:44am

If they have no confidence in their chief, they should immediately start looking for another job.

posted by: unbelievable on February 4, 2011  4:49am

Michelle is the biggest sweetheart ever, she is a doll and is loved by everyone in this building!!  She didn’t deserve that!  She does an awesome job and is a wonderful person!  She always has a smile, joke or hug for every person she sees!
....  She was FIRED and escorted out of the building like a CRIMINAL!  and you talk about wanting to do your best for this city!?  Unbelievable!!  What’s the matter?  Someone speak out against you and she’s a WOMAN?  Come on city activists, let’s support this man, he is exactly who you want representing your police department because he is sooooo fair!!

Where are you now Barbara Fair!?  Where is HewNaven? Notty, Ellis?? Streever??  Where are the protestors??  Will you picket and chant for Michelle?  She is NOT in a union and as such can be treated exactly the way Chief Limon tries to treat every employee in this buiding…she cannot fight back! She doesn’t have Cavalier to fight for her, he can’t do anything for her, now what??

Well New Haven Independent, what are you going to do now?? 

By the way, SHE LIVES IN NEW HAVEN!!! 

Thoroughly disgusted

let’s see if they even post this….

[Editors Note: If this is true, we are outraged and will definitely follow up. Your email address turns out to be phony. We tried to get in touch with you to get information to follow up. Please contact us at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) .]

posted by: cecilia proto on February 4, 2011  7:41am

I do not hide behind a fake name,the police know me,the Mayor knows me. I was active in every meeting and anything to do with making my neighborhood a better place to live. I quit, its all bs,they do what they want, they are above the law.  What I,ve seen over the years is a disgrace. Anyone will tell you I tell it like it is. People do not like to hear the truth. You will never ever see this city turn around,unless Howdy Doody goes, when the Mayor is not trusted and the Chief is a outsider,please!!!! The city has a lot of decent good cops who live here,they never get promoted,unless they are ass kissers.  We need a captain to run the ship, our city is drowning in every-way. Crime,filth,poor test scores, sky high taxes.  What hell people, we need new management,who lives in New Haven and who cares. I honestly care about my city ,but these people are the biggest liars I ever heard. I do what I can alone and talk to those that I know are HONESTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT…..

posted by: Joe on February 4, 2011  7:48am

New Havenite

I was borned and raised in the city.  I also work as a custodian in the public school system.  The difference between Michele and I and the rest of my colleagues is that Michele works for a “private” Management Company and by speaking out - good or bad about the Chief, she likely violated a “corporate” policy about making comments to the press, since she is not a company spokesperson, or someone “authorized” to speak on behalf of the company.  If this is the case, she has no protection whatsoever.  We, as unionized Custodians, can say anything we want about Will Clark and the rest of the top brass on Meadow Street because we are protected!

Michele, I feel for you, but u should have kept your mouth shut hun and just cleaned the building.  It is not your job to get involved in Police matters. That said, if u are looking for a new job, may be should apply across the street.  Good luck - U will need it!

posted by: citizen on February 4, 2011  8:49am

Michelle spoke her mind and was escorted out of the building ordered to be fired why did he hire her how shameful Chief Limon you came to this city and from day one liked or trusted you YES BARBARA FAIR GO AND STAND UP FOR HER RIGHTS NOW (MICHELLE) this is the way he treats people in the PD go back to Chicago with your buddies can not even speak to his rank and file at line-ups the vote was right and on vacation in Chicago give me a break.

posted by: CITIZEN on February 4, 2011  9:04am


How dare you say that about this hardworking person do not throw stones all of you are ready to be ousted and you guys leave the buildings when you should be working shame on you JOE wasting the tax payers money and the schools are not even clean !!!! to busy watching T.V. so retrack your statement and do your JOB

posted by: bjfair on February 4, 2011  9:41am

Hi, Originally I was not going to comment but as always,someone has to thrust me into the conversation. No Confidence I will be looking to see if you are out there protesting Michelle’s loss of employment since you undoubtedly have no respect for what I do. For the uninformed who stated that I am Blest Peter’s leader…. Blest,as well as the other 19 who are lending support to the chief have a mind of their own. I agree with White that there are “some winners” in NHPD and unfortunately if IA, police union or Civilian Review Board were effective those thugs would not have a badge. They have tainted the department and will always resist any chief that wants to change the way they operate.I don’t have to work within the department to have an opinion or be impacted by the thugs who do. Their behavior spills over into the community. Their racism and indifference to the taxpayers who pay their salaries is problematic. People, recognize I am not responsible for the loss of your hefty pension,your “brother” being incarcerated,your drug and anger problems, your home problems, your morale,your inept and unscrupulous union boss,Michelle’s problems, high taxation in the city, or world problems. To those who feel Limon treats African American officers unfairly maybe being supportive of each other from within would minimize that problem. I support a department led by those who live within because I beleive that those who live in the city will likely be more invested in the community. As a clinician I advise some of you to find a couch and a good therapist. You are allowing me to fill too much space in your head and your obsession with me is a quite dysfunctional and a little scary.

posted by: NO CONFIDENCE on February 4, 2011  10:10am

I agree with Unbelievable.  I spoke about Michele in my earlier comment.  This is BS. Again, where are you Barbara Fair?

To the editor who is trying to contact unbelievable, why would they call you? so they can get fired just like Michele did for speaking to you?  Go to the NHPD and get the info. you need. When you get it I would appreciate this being published on your website ASAP!! Michele, you should look into getting a lawyer.

Also, to White New Haven cop, please quote where I said that a black officer is better than a white officer.  Your “disgusting” for misquoting me.  What I said was that in a predominately minority city, the police department does not reflect its citizens. The black activists are rallying for a Chief who does not promote officers that reflect the majority of citizens in New Haven. If they want to rally for something, rally for that.

Name a city or town in Connecticut where its citizens are predominately white and its police department’s top executive officers are all minority and/or male.  I am sure those white officers would have a “bad attitude” especially if none of those minority officers lived in their town or city.


posted by: robn on February 4, 2011  10:21am


The most dangerous job in America isn’t being a police officer, its being a fisherman. Police come in #9.


The average American’s social security benefit is a minuscule percentage of their working salary…never mind 100% or better. But I agree your plan sounds nice…why don’t we raise taxes on the top 1% of earners in the country and give your retirement and medical benefits to every working person?

posted by: Brian M. on February 4, 2011  10:55am

Having a conversation about this story with someone last night, I’ll just throw this in:

I lived in New York City for five years. I’ve been working there for twelve. In that time, I’ve had a few dozen - probably a few hundred - interactions with police officers. Some riding the subway, others getting coffee, walking the neighborhood, standing outside where I work, etc. I had a bike stolen, I helped a friend when his car was towed, and my dad was once sideswiped by a traffic cop. In every one of those interactions, the police were professional, respectful, and upstanding. In my mind, it’s the best PD in the nation and the world.

I’ve lived here for 2 years. I never see police walking the street. I’ve had 3 interactions with them. Every single time, they have been both unhelpful and unprofessional. In one case, I asked if it was legal to park in a spot when the meter was broken - a totally reasonable question. But instead of answering, the cop (sitting in his car) repeated my question back to me imitating the voice of a retarded man. Like a five year old. Then he said “well, what do you think?”

Just unbelievable. Easy question. I was wearing a suit and tie. I walked away, wondering how these guys must treat people who don’t look and dress like me, and realizing that I’ve been spoiled by dealing with good police for so long. When I mentioned this to someone later that day, he just shrugged and said I was lucky the officer didn’t get out of his car and smash my tail light or make up an excuse to throw a punch.

People in a city get to know their police pretty well, and in New Haven they don’t trust them. There’s a reason you hear people say that you’re better off finding a Yale officer if you’re downtown, or why neighbors say calling the police “will only make things worse.”

Someone should ask Lou Caviliere how it is that NYPD officers can walk and talk and manage to not disrespect civilians every time they open their mouths? And why can’t we expect the same from the NHPD?

I hope Limon stays and sacks every last one of these thugs.

posted by: roger huzendubel on February 4, 2011  11:25am

the neo hippy protesters are absolute fools. I would love to know where john lugo fits himself in there, its not east haven and doesnt concern latinos. They claimed we should be like the egyptians and tear our own cities apart? they have serious problems with distributions of wealth and oppression in egypt, we dont have that on any near as big of a scale here in new haven. The police arent our main problem, the group of 10 people who pop up everywhere and draw media attention to themselves about non existent social ills are our problem . If you keep telling me im a victim even if i am not i will start to belive it and act on it.  If anyone would like to join me this weekend i will be protesting the protesters on the green. oh and i have a big hug for NO CONFIDENCE, you need it.

posted by: Nick on February 4, 2011  11:30am

Joe is right.

If Ms. Kearney was sacked, it’s sad, but there is not job in the world where you can criticize your boss in public and expect to get away with it.  It’s also irresponsible journalism.  The New Haven Independent didn’t need the views of the cleaning lady to write a good story.  She had probably never been asked for her views before in her life and didn’t know that it would be appropriate to be silent.  The NHI should have known that she would get into trouble for speaking to them, and should have left her alone.

posted by: Paul Martin on February 4, 2011  12:11pm

I have a modest proposal:

If Lou Caviliere can get his people to treat citizens at least as well as the Egyptian Army has this week, he can have his rifles.

posted by: Hmmn.... on February 4, 2011  12:20pm

Vote of NO CONFIDENCE = 63 reader comments

Arrest of murderer = 0 comments

Explains why the NHPD is ineffective.  It’s more important to gossip than it is to work.

posted by: Hard Worker on February 4, 2011  1:09pm

To robn, all that sounds nice but the next time someone in your family or maybe you get mugged, assaulted or worse don’t call the police call the Gordon’s fisherman!!!!!!!!!!!!And why not just give a person that never went to college the same pension that a CEO gets, why because that’s stupid!!!

posted by: the truth on February 4, 2011  1:17pm

Now thats funny!! ...They are not confident in EVERY new chief.  Why, because these chiefs come here and look around ... and say “what did I get myself into” and try to wake them up and turn them into a professional dept?  Nearly every week one of them gets arrested for every crime from sexual assault to dwi to assault and public drukenness and wide beating.

posted by: robn on February 4, 2011  1:22pm


If danger is irrelevant to compensation then stop talking about it.

And by your logic of credentials, many police officers with only high school diplomas, or jr college degrees, or undergrad degrees should be making far less than the many 1000s of people in New Haven with far greater academic credentials.

posted by: da hill on February 4, 2011  2:10pm

Hard Worker,

I am assuming you are a police officer…why are all NHPD responses leveraging their responsibilities as officers of the law against providing adequate protections to New Haven Citizens?  You have a job to do, and you are payed to do it…I will not be calling Gordon Fisherman, I will dial 911…and I expect that you or your counterpart will show with the necessary professional skill-set to assist me. 

I know that your job is dangerous…and I appreciate individuals that take on this responsibility; However, don’t forget you chose that profession-knowing the inherent dangers that come along with it.  You don’t get an extra gold star for doing your job as detailed in your job description. Stop whining because people are holding you all accountable. Quit or work!

your analogy was horrible as Robn pointed out…

posted by: christopher schaefer on February 4, 2011  2:47pm

“Out of a total union membership of 441 officers, 267 voted. Cavaliere called that a strong turnout.” Do the math: approximately 60% of the police force voted. Since 83% of the force lives in the suburbs, one might conclude that it was too much of a commute to drive all the way in to New Haven and vote. “Community” policing, anyone?

posted by: JAK on February 4, 2011  3:12pm

- 90% of the force in lock-step.

- “No Confidence” in a policing professional who successfully ran a big department in one of the toughest cities in the country. 

- The chief has made no secret of the fact that one of the biggest shocks in coming to the northeast from the midwest is this region’s HEAVY domination by unions. 

- Some suggest that this may also be a sign to the mayor about contract givebacks.

Well, I’ve made up my mind.  Chief Limon deserves a raise, more power - and the support of every New Haven voter. 

The force especially Cavalier are paper tigers.  They don’t live here, can’t vote here (sorry guys), and they sure don’t respect the community as evidenced by their posts and statements about how terrible New Haven is.
Don’t these people sound more like prison guards talking about an inmate population than a police force talking about the city it is sworn to protect and serve.

You know what?  We don’t need cops like this. 

Mayor DeStefano - You should be as heavy handed as you can be in breaking this union down.  If you make it tough enough on them, hopefully they’ll begin to leave the force and then the chief can start to recruit people who have pride in the force, love new haven, and want to be a a part of the community. 

This union is a cancer.  It corrupts men and women who at one time probably joined the force for the right reasons but have long since lost their love for the mission.

posted by: Limon Out of State Again on February 4, 2011  3:48pm

Chief Limon is out of state yet again. How do you supposes he runs a department long distance? He depends on the advise from the same officers that have been involved in lawsuits against them or ones they filed themselves against the department, officers who have federal investigations pending against them, involved in misconduct themselves and those that will go along just to stay in his good standing. Here’s a novel approach, Limon should read the personnel files and IA files and lawsuits of the officers he depends on for advise while traveling back and forth to Chicago every 2 weeks and during his other travels, to understand the history of past mistakes. This way, he might have a chance to avoid repeat history. And while you are at it, before you select your next assistant chief, why not do a background check with the Feds, statewide, court filings, etc. Before naming another failure? You may finally learn something and avoid future votes of no confidence. The bottom line, you’ve got to be here, in New Haven, in order to lead and to know who the good police are. Ask the questions!

posted by: HewNaven?? on February 4, 2011  4:04pm

Can we sum up the Police Union’s position thusly:

New Haven is a disgusting city full of criminal thugs who live in deplorable, rat-infested conditions and are safe-harbored by their ignorant, free-loading, drug-addicted neighbors. The citizens should get on their hands and knees and thank the police for even showing up to work every day. Most cops would have hung it up after a few years, but we stick around because we earn an enormous pension for putting up with you low-lifes. Its hardly worth it, but its the only decent way to make a living. What do you expect us to do, clean floors?


posted by: anon on February 4, 2011  4:30pm

Brian M is right. Ask an NHPD cop why they are, for example, littering all over your neighborhood right in front of you, and you’re lucky if you only get away with the question repeated back to you in a “mock retarded” voice. 

If a few of the police officers actually lived in the city and cared about the neighborhoods, they’d see things differently.

The response from the Mayor should be to propose a huge, across-the-board cut in salaries and benefits for all city workers including elimination of free parking benefits, combined with a major “incentive” program that helps pay for the housing, educational expenses, bus passes, and parking costs for those city workers who choose to live here.

posted by: one of the 13% on February 4, 2011  5:02pm

to robn and da hill…Your right..When you call 911 I will be there to help you as courteous as I can be..And I will make sure that You and your family sleep well at night after I have left with the Blanket of security that my fellow officers and I provide..However, I dont appreciate you breathing down my neck and ridiculing me or asking me how much I make or I dont deserve a retirement of that much money or what kind of EDUCATION I have. Really, do you need a Masters degree to know how to ridicule and be disrespectful..I didnt choose to be born here but I was. In fact, im probably your neighbor and I didnt choose that either.But, I chose to live here, work here and raise my kids here and I chose to be a Police officer. But you will never here me disrespect you or judge you by who or what you are or what you do for a living and how much you are paid.I would never treat you the way I wouldnt want to be treated..Just a simple “Thanks for coming” will suffice..And I know you dont believe it but just because Im one of the 13% doesnt make me any better than the rest of the department..they all feel the same way,it truly doesnt matter where anyone lives..Until we read what citizens really think about us.The next time you have to speak to an officer and you think he or she is rude..Just read the 70 plus blogs in this article and maybe you can understand that nobody is perfect on any given day.

posted by: notty on February 4, 2011  5:09pm

To No confidence and unbelievable, well wouldnt you know it, you bashed the Chief for firing this young lady and turns out, he had nothing to do with her being fired. See you cant blame the Chief for everything that happens in New Haven, Past, Present and Future.

posted by: ozzie on February 4, 2011  5:47pm

It’s amazing that people don’t remember that Nick Pastore tried to change the makeup of the Department to reflect the makeup the City. Having recruitment drives in Da Hill and Da ville. Which the City still does every time they want to hire Police or Firefighters.(I’m sure that residents still get that extra 5 points at test time to). Unfortunately only some of the well educated New Haveners completed the testing process. As for the ones who did, Nick changed the rules for promotional exams for Sgt. It used to be that you had to have 5 years service before you could take a test to 2 years. Once the results came out he was able to jump around the civil service list to make the people he wanted. (including The Mayors people who have political hooks), skipping over more experienced officers. Slowly Nick’s picks ascended the ladder and are now running the Department. Most of the high ranking officers Black or White ,Male or Female never investigated a minor traffic accident let alone a felony. (And you wonder why PERF recommended all the changes). Now these new Chief’s come in and look at these Supervisors personnel file and they must shake their heads thinking what have we got our ourselves into .

posted by: robn on February 4, 2011  5:50pm


My comments about education were a criticism of HARDWORKER’s logic, not a condescension on the educational level of police officers.

The reason I think police compensation is overboard is because some officers are retiring at a young age with 4X the median income of New Haveners, and with lifetime pensions that are completely out of line with every other profession. Its a reasonable criticism.

One NHI commenter put it well that the only solution to this is a split tier of compensation. If New Haven wants to remain bond worthy In a credit based economy, it has to respect its past promises (no matter how half-baked and politically motivated they were) but not make the same mistakes in the future.

posted by: bjair on February 4, 2011  6:32pm

Notty, thank u for that info. Can we say” guilty until proven innocent, charged and convicted”?  Later found ” not guilty”. Has a familar ring.

posted by: no confidence on February 4, 2011  6:37pm

Hey NOTTY r u sure that the chief didn’t get her fired?  He has access to the computer.  There r a lot of ass kissers that can call him.  How do you think the Sargent above was transferred to another dept the same day he made a statement about the chief, if the chief was out of town. The chief makes all of the decisions whether he is out of town or not.  Don’t be naive.

posted by: one of the 13% on February 4, 2011  8:24pm

Robn- I get your point…but know this most of us started on the job when we were in our early 20’s making 17k a year(imagine)25 or 30 years later we are in our late 40’s and early 50’s..we have been through many contracts and obvious raises to compete with other municipalities across america..that being said , do you know how disrespectful it is when we have worked those many years (not all of us)dedicating ourselves to the citizens of this city and feeling worthless when we have to read these blogs (I know , then dont read it)..And then im not suppose to retire because my pension is to big or it insults you..The 2 big pensions (redding melendez)in the media that everybody reads is far from the norm..In fact we all our amazed..but we didnt (approve) those pensions..our Mayor and his staff approved it…There is where you should target your frustrations not at us…besides when I retire I have to find another job to support my kids and the city I love and live in..And I worry (like you) about the city going bankrupt..hey lets build another school and fill it with faculty..There are about 40 schools in this city..6 are in Fair Haven..Thats whats bankrupting this city.

posted by: da hill on February 4, 2011  8:40pm

1 of 13% - lets be clear!

1) I have no problem with your compensation nor the current pension plan-it was negotiated and accepted by parties that should be held accountable from the mayors office! bottom line!

2)I don’t have any issue with the police officers who retire before they lose out on the current plan-it makes good fiscal sense to do so!

3) As for the education issue, it was in response to an illogical post by an earlier blogger-he said it didn’t make since that a high school graduate would rreceivea “golden parachute” compensation like that of CEO’s and as such he established a hierarchy based on education that went in direct contradiction to the point he was trying to make…

4) I know you will show up and be as professional as possible…I was addressing the post by NHPD (presumed) that draw this clear connection between the level of service provided to the ongoing pension discussions and the example of calling Gordon Fisherman (did’t/don’t get the reference)...

My point is simple…your decision to be a police officer was just that, your decision! when the job is no longer a passion or you lack the ability to assist in a manner that is friendly, professional and courteous then perhaps its time to find a new calling.  I have witnessed first hand the pure disrespect that officers display in simple traffic stops that cause tension and anxiety for all parties unnecessarily.  I know good NHP, I have worked with them and they represent the majority of officers (I believe); however, the jack… (yes the donkey/horse hybrids are there and you know it) on the force are not merely isolated officers-they appear to rise to the occasion and flaunt their misdeeds over and over again.  This is what I believe these discussions appear to be about. 

Lets take the chief and the mayor out of the equation and deal with each other on a basic human level…you need the support and assistance of the community, and damn-it the community needs the support and assistance of the department…we are in this thing together! When one believes they are more powerful than the other the balance is off and the relationship is strained…lets not allow for the political BS get us in an- us vs. them - mentality…

Be easy and be safe on those streets…if you are my neighbor, I will keep a hot pot of coffee on standby.  Thanks for being a productive member of the team and keep doing whats right.


posted by: HewNaven?? on February 4, 2011  11:50pm

“Slowly Nick’s picks ascended the ladder and are now running the Department. Most of the high ranking officers Black or White ,Male or Female never investigated a minor traffic accident let alone a felony. (And you wonder why PERF recommended all the changes). Now these new Chief’s come in and look at these Supervisors personnel file and they must shake their heads thinking what have we got our ourselves into.”

This is an interesting historical context that I haven’t heard yet. It seems to make sense that things have been screwy for a very long time. All this trouble didn’t just start up overnight. Can anyone else confirm this scenario?

This would make an excellent investigative series, if there’s truth to the correlation.

posted by: ladyfire1966 on February 4, 2011  11:55pm

It is time that ... Chief Limon and his 2 others in command from Chicago, get kick to the curve and tail back to Chicago.  Instead of making a better relation with the sworn and non sworn personnel of the NHPD dept, he is alienating them by having a closed door policy.  To top it all, he has also became upset when he instructs sworn employees to come into his office, he gets upset when they want to bring them Union Rep.  ...  He barely utters a word out of his mouth in public.  Not only is he has no notion of how the department works but instead of trying to learn the inner works of such a department, he is destroying it along with his 2 cronies from Chicago that he hired to assist him.  He was supposed to bring progress not only to the NHPD department but also to the community. He has failed miserably at both.  He needs to give up the throne to someone that can do the job.

posted by: US CITIZEN on February 5, 2011  12:54am

“Maybe we should take a lesson from Egypt,” said Maurice “Blest” Peters (pictured) when he took the bullhorn. “Turn this town upside down.”

Lugo later said it has been inspiring “seeing the people in Egypt being on the streets and basically putting the country upside down. This is a lesson we have to learn.”

Lugo acknowledged that things have gotten bloody and violent in Egypt, with people throwing rocks and fighting with improvised weapons. But “through history” social change has rarely come about through “peaceful processes. There’s always been some blood,” he said.”

Lugo are you trying to incite riots? We have enough problems in this city already without you adding to them.

posted by: spartan on February 5, 2011  9:51am

Looking at these images makes me sick i was if these ignorant activists would be singing the same toon after they arrive home from their march and realize their house was just burglarized. I remember very well this same group having a big problem with the district managers putting wanted posters up in the sub stations with real playerrs and criminals of the area. Now you take a cops face and put a wanted poster out for all to see which is slander. Dennis I hope you sue them all for this. You liberals haven non idea how proactive our departmens IA is if he was guilty they would have no reason saying soo im sure they wished he was. People wonder why NHPD does give a crap about the community and job cuz were not supported by either the department or the community ohhhh well.

posted by: Esther on February 5, 2011  11:03am

441 officers 246 no confidence and 21 in favor of the chief….... That leaves 195 officers that didn’t vote…........ Could it be that those 195 are the ones that work closest to the chief ( Sergeants, Lieutenants, Captains, Detectives…..)or dare not vote against him even if they want for fear of retaliation?  They wouldn’t want to find themselves in Michelle’s position.  I have seen this so many times before. The person in charge (the chief) feels threatened so anyone that will stand up to him will get removed.  Lewis left because he told DeStefano that in order for officers to do their job more efficiently, he needed certain things. DeStefano refused said NO.  Limon says one thing and then changes his mind to keep the mayor happy. He (Limon) has hung good officers to dry to save himself and to keep a good image with the people of New Haven. Limon is overwhelmed but doesn’t want to say so for fear he will be called a failure.  Limon…...respect (of the officers) is earned not just given.

posted by: Not In NH But Still Luv It There on February 5, 2011  12:28pm

I agree with former NH resident:

Born and raised in New Haven, I used to live in the Elm City until recently. I loved the schools I went to, I loved the activities that were available to me and the programs I participated in.

Things in New Haven AREN’T the same, and that happens anywhere over time.

I don’t blame officers for not wanting to live or moving out of New Haven. They clearly don’t have support from ANYONE, and the conditions are not ideal, even for young officers hoping to start a family one day.

One of my biggest qualms with the city are the schools. Everyone’s so concerned with the police, but what about the schools? No one notices as easily because DeStefano had all of these nice, pretty newly built schools put up in the city over the last decade—but what difference does it make how nice it looks from the outside when you can’t properly staff these schools with enough teachers, administrators, are constantly cutting school programs and can’t seem to control the quickly increasing drop out rate of students? Part of that stuff has to do with the home and the parents’ involvement (or lack of), but back in the day the school was a community that looked out for their own. Now we have metal detectors and cops in schools because even students have troubles there.

I didn’t vote for DeStefano last election. I’ve supported him in the past and he’s done some good things, but I think he’s had enough time in office and there needs to be a change. Unfortunately, the last candidate that attempted to run against him didn’t make it. So New Haven is now stuck with the same mayor for who knows how long. It’s unfortunate when there’s no options.

How about public works? Is the condition of the city streets the police’s fault? I saw a picture on Facebook where someone commented on a truck being stuck on Whalley Avenue and how the cop “was doing nothing as always, just directing traffic.” If the truck is stuck due to the snow and ice on the street and driveways, how is that the cop’s fault? You have to take that Superman idea out of your head and realize he can’t physically move the truck out of the way because you’re late for work. How about try this: considering how the weather conditions have been, leave earlier just in case!

I love New Haven and always will, even though it’s not perfect. I’ve had one or two traffic encounters with police (not in New Haven) where the cop has given me sass or wanted to be tough guy on top, but I haven’t kept a foul taste for that entire department.

I’m not saying the dept can’t have any bad apples, but don’t hold them ALL accountable for other people’s actions. Look for the “good cops” instead of labeling them all as bad ones and thank the ones who do try and do a good job and work with the citizens. THey’re in danger every day and do I job I don’t think I could ever do. Hopefully things get better.

posted by: morale boost on February 5, 2011  12:33pm

whether you’re voting for no confidence in the chiefs or in the department, everyone has a right to their opinion. Plus it’s not what you say but HOW you say things.

it’s always easier to complain than it is to compliment. You gotta admit you only ask for the name of a cop who’s pissed you off rather than the cop who offered to call a family member for you after you’ve been in an accident. Am I right?

if you ask me, I think morale for the police would be boosted if they heard more “thanks yous” for their help or good work done than always hearing about why people can’t stand them. I don’t think every cop is bad, as I don’t think every cop is good. But at least to those who try and work for the community and do good for everyone, maybe tell them how much you appreciate what they do or write a letter to their boss and that’ll boost morale more than anything else will. I try to do so, and even if that officer doesn’t remember who I am next time they see me on the street, I’ll remember them and still have a little hope in this dept.

posted by: go join on February 5, 2011  12:41pm

so many people think they could make these streets better or do the job of a cop… to those I say go join the police force!
when the city can stop being so stingy and hire for new classes, PLEASE—for those of you who think you’re all that, go fill out an app! if not, at least recommend someone you think would made a perfect cop.

Shall I recommend going to Newhallville on a weekend night when the Taurus club is open; or riding the bike trail after sundown. Try walking down Kensington Street and see how many people wave or say hello without trying to sell you something. Maybe hang out on the corner of Rosette and Button and see how safe you feel out there when you have drug dealers and killers planning their badness right across the street. Come out of your own cozy homes and help place a family in need of a place to stay when carbon monoxide overtakes their home and they"re forced to leave until further notice. Or even just stand by when an officer has to make a death notification to someone’s family, whether it be from natural causes or because their child was riding their bike in the street and got shot or killed somehow.

Or better yet, ask to ride along with an officer for a night. DO something to get an inside look of what the streets are like after-hours instead of talking about had bad the city is while you sit in your cozy apartment with your laptop in your lap while sipping on some starbucks.

if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.

posted by: Paul Martin on February 5, 2011  3:21pm

to the cop saying he deserves to be paid like a CEO:

You list the things that police do to justify even bigger salaries and pensions. But that’s your job. I could list all of the things I do in my job, and turn around and say “I deserve a million dollars for this because I do this stuff and I show up to work without calling in sick every other day” but that does not mean I deserve a million dollars.

You guys took this job. If you hate it, quit. It’s a hard job. Lots of people have hard jobs.

That’s why they’re called jobs.

Stop acting like the police are the only people in this town who work for a living, and like you guys deserve salaries that are way bigger than what well-trained and responsible people earn. Nobody forced you to become a cop.

And - as so many commenters point out - when you deal with citizens, you tend to be *TERRIBLE* at your job. How many people could beat people up, get a DUI, have repeated complaints, or mock retarded people, and still get to keep their jobs AND get people to defend their awful behavior?

If you want to be a highly-paid professional, maybe you should start acting like one, instead of a whining bunch of primadonnas.

posted by: Suck it up on February 5, 2011  3:30pm

The rank and file need to suck it up and work. Don’t give me this crap about a no confidence vote. Cops..go to work, get paid and make a living. Stop complaining. U have jobs..  Be happy.

posted by: robn on February 6, 2011  9:10am

These are the base rates of pay (not including OT) from the 2008 NHPD contract…stinks for rookies, but make it into the 4th year and you’re doing pretty well (far better than I was doing on my 4th year on the job).

Commander         83,978
Captain           81,100
Chief Investigator     77,029
Superintendent         75,069
Lieutenant         73,877
Sergeant         66,282
Detective         62,781
Police Officer         58,914
Police Officer 2nd (1st year)  38,394
Police Officer 2nd (2nd year)  38,394
Police Officer 2nd (3rd year)  45,484

posted by: Charlie O'Keefe on February 6, 2011  11:10am

So Melendez and Ms Redding will be getting $120,000 annual pension. They are both about 50, and assuming they live an average life span, that’s over $3,000,000 each for doing nothing for the rest of their lives. The taxpayers can look forward over coming years to paying out between 6 million and 7 million dollars to just 2 police officers.

Not only the taxpayers, but the BOA and the NHPD patrolmen should be asking some very serious questions. What has DeStefano been doing these last 17 years? Can someone find out what his pension is ...?

posted by: RayH on February 6, 2011  11:34am

It’s sad that the people in New Haven are experiencing what we in Chicago have been for years. As a cop, I can tell you that the lack of competence is astounding under the Daley and Weis regime. Now, it appears “the Chicago Way” has spread to your department and town.

posted by: Retired on February 6, 2011  12:39pm

“This is what happens after years and years of promoting political hacks in Chicago who can’t demonstrate even the tiniest bit of talent in actually running a police department, then they trade on those ill-gotten promotions to spread the virus of their incompetence nationwide.”

“Between these three goofs in New Haven and J-Fled, (current supt. and soon to be fired by Rahm Emanual) we’d hope that they’ve ruined the chances of numerous other not-ready-for-prime-time Chicago hacks from getting a job above the level of dog catcher.” (Second city cop site.)

posted by: public outcry on February 6, 2011  1:39pm

The Chicago Police Department has a 33% merit process included in any police promotion from detective, sergeant, and up to lieutenant. The other 66% of the promotions are based on the actual testing process. The merit process is notoriously known for not what you know, but who you know. It is the start for incompetent future bosses. Anyone promoted to captain and above is all about clout, there is no testing process. Again, it is all about who you know and not what you know. The merit process and straight out clout picks for promotions lead to some horrendous and very incompetent police leaders. Be very careful when selecting so-called leaders of the Chicago Police Department to head outside agencies. Just because they held a high rank in Chicago doesn’t mean they even remotely deserved it.

posted by: Rich L on February 6, 2011  1:57pm

Robin, Ozzie, know it alls, and whiners_

1.You have the wrong facts when it comes to what the rank individually earns!
2. It’s clear you don’t know the Departments history! It was put on probation by the state sometime back because of it’s hiring practices; roughly 15-18 years ago. Nick Pastore opened the flood gates and allowed ANYONE to get on this job. The state stepped in and put an end to it. Now the city is dealing with all of those hires that have actually lasted.
3. Forget the make-up of the city! How about just being qualified for the position, regardless of race, or where you live!
4. Having personal, inside knowledge of what has been going on in the department and in the city for over 20 years i’d say that most, if not all of these blogs are far from any your facts. I don’t know if your bored and simply giving an opinion, or if you just have genuine disdain for the Police, but it’s clear you don’t have a clue!!!

posted by: streever on February 6, 2011  5:19pm

Go Join:
Why should I join?

I don’t need to join the police to know that, if someone questioned my knowledge of the law, I would not choke him and slam him into the pavement repeatedly, as a cop did to me.

I know who I am. I know my values. I know that I place a much higher value on human life & safety than the officer who choked me places, and I don’t need to become a cop to know that.

I feel entirely entitled to criticize the police for committing acts of brutality against law-abiding citizens without becoming one.

Through our taxes, the police are paid.
Through our participation in the city, they are given a mandate to act.

Who are you people who think police are above and beyond all reproach? Who think that police are the only occupation that requires neither oversight nor attention?

We pay the salaries of our municipal employees and government. We literally give the police guns and handcuffs and they in turn are supposed to protect—and serve.

If some of the officers have serious anger and temper issues, and are incapable of doing their job without beating up innocent civilians, why should we sit back and let them? They wield guns because we give them permission to—because we PAY them to.

It is time for New Haven’s cops to join New Haven’s citizens in demanding that all officers adhere to the code of conduct and treat everyone with respect. If they can not do that, then we as citizens need to call for the police department to be completely cleaned out.