After 14 years on the beat, New Haven’s best-sourced crime reporter is moving to the other side of the desk.
Bill Kaempffer (pictured recording rapper Wiley Don complaining to the mayor about the cops on Kensington Street), who reports on police and fire for the New Haven Register, has landed a job as the spokesman for the Bridgeport police department.
His last day reporting for the Register will be Dec. 7, he said.
Kaempffer, who’s 44, got hired at the Register in 1998 after covering a police beat in Pittsburgh for six years. Over the years, he became an omnipresence at major crime scenes and developed a regional reputation as the hardest-working and best informed reporter on the beat.
Becoming the voice of a police department was a logical move, he said.
“It’s pretty safe to say that I’ve been a police reporter for most of my adult life. Making this transition, it seems kind of natural. This is all I’ve really ever done,” he said.
Kaempffer will continue to live in New Haven.
“I’m going to miss the Register terribly,” he said. “It’s been a very important and time-consuming part of my life.”
posted by: leibzelig on November 26, 2012 10:10am
I am very happy for Bill and sad for us. He is a pro and covered a beat that takes a lot out of you in time and in having to see and write about the worst of society. It’s hard to have a life when your working schedule is dependent on when crime and other tragedy occurs.
I wish him well and hold out hope that there is another person who can do this vital but soul-consuming job.
Good luck in Bridgeport, Bill. You will be a hard act to follow for the next person. I hope the Reg will not nickle and dime when it comes to finding someone to cover this beat.
All the best.
posted by: Capt. Frisbie on November 26, 2012 10:44am
Congrats, Bill! You will surely be missed. They don’t make many reporters like Bill K. anymore -a hard-working, shoe-leather journo who was so plugged in, the cops called him for information. I sat kitty-corner from Bill in the NH Register newsroom and used to laugh hearing him spell his bear of a last name to people on phone (“two f’s as in Frank”). Good luck in B-Po, Bill! Keep those cops honest!
posted by: jackkramer1 on November 26, 2012 12:04pm
Covering cops and crime is one of the toughest reporting jobs around. Nobody did it better than Bill. He was fair, thorough - one of the best reporters I have ever worked with in my nearly 4 decades in the business.
posted by: NHPDHartman on November 26, 2012 2:52pm
Anyone who’s worked on either side of Police reporting knows it’s a constant balancing act. Instinctively, Police try to protect information while the press try to get as much of it as they can. As cordial as the correspondence between the two camps may seem, the truth is there is often a similarly instinctive distrust of the other.
As a relatively new media liaison, I was reeled in by smiling reporters and sweet-talking assignment editors. I’ve likened the experience to that of the children in “Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang” who were lured in by the promise of Treacle and Chocolates by the cleverly disguised Child Catcher, only to find themselves caged.
There were a few exceptions to the professional tug-o-war. Bill is at the top of the list. He reports on what he’s investigated and not simply on what he’s been told. He is a true writer. He is a professional through and through, a great friend, a source of immeasurable professional help and a great person to vent to. The Register should be very proud of his years of intelligent reporting.
Congratulations Bill. The Bridgeport Police Department is very lucky to have your expertise on the way.
posted by: JMS on November 26, 2012 3:59pm
Congratulations to an excellent reporter and even better little league baseball score book keeper.
posted by: leibzelig on November 27, 2012 6:34pm
The story of Bill’s hiring in Bridgeport follows a pattern of New Haven media breaking stories about doings in the Park City. The Connecticut Post’s story about Bill’s hiring as police spokesman in Bridgeport quoted the New Haven Independent as its source. In the late 1980s, the New Haven Register was first to run the story of the Post’s sale to the Thomson group. Some things never change.