One night in 2004, Officer Peter Krause was on duty when he noticed an inebriated young man stumbling through Wooster Square. Instead of arresting the man, Krause — or “Officer Pete” to the neighbors — sat him down on a nearby bench to chat about his night.
When an ambulance arrived, Krause escorted him to the hospital, where the young man was detoxed, and told him that he was free to talk anytime.
The Wooster Square community remembered that legacy of compassion on Saturday at a ceremony held in honor of Krause, who succumbed to brain cancer earlier this year at the age of 51 after long feat that defied the odds.
A crowd of neighbors, family members, and police officers gathered in the park to watch Peter Webster of the Historic Wooster Square Association dedicate a purple plum tree, donated by the Urban Resources Initiative, in his memory. New Haven Interim Chief Anthony Campbell, who trained Krause, also lauded his devotion to being a sensitive and protective presence in Wooster Square. He told the above story about the inebriated man.
“No matter who you were, where you came from,” Campbell said, “if you gave Pete five minutes of your time he’d find a way into your soul.”
“Peter Krause was a symbol of stability, a symbol of pride, a symbol of true connectivity in this neighborhood,” Campbell said. “He was the type of guy who you put out there on the beat, and you knew that not only would you see the crime stats drop, but that also you would see relationships flourish.”
Krause’s family, including his widow and mother, was also in attendance on Saturday. After the speeches, the New Haven Honor Guard stood sentinel as a lone piper filled the park with the strains of “Amazing Grace.”
Campbell said that he will expect the same level of personal involvement from the successors on Krause’s old beat, but that he’ll be hard to replace: “We miss him terribly.”