Cops Flee PD

Markeshia Ricks Photo

Two centuries of experience vanished form the police department as 10 veteran cops retired in June, joining an exodus of both younger and older cops.

Thirty-four cops have either retired or resigned so far in 2018, compared to 31 in all of 2017, according to the department.

That leaves the department with 389 cops and 106 vacancies out of 495 budgeted positions, according to Police Chief Anthony Campbell.

The exodus has two main causes:

• Other departments have been poaching young cops by offering as much as tens of thousands of dollars more per year and better benefits to work in lower-crime communities. So far in 2018, six cops — Ross Von Nostrand, Jinette Marte-Vasquez, Anthony Tarantino, Keron Bryce, Tyler Zajac, Jazmin Delgado —have left for departments ranging from Hamden, New York, Newington, and Meriden, and (in Von Nostrand’s case) the federal Drug Enforcement Agency. Click here and here to read previous articles detailing the poaching.

• Some cops with more than 20 years of service — especially if they support families — felt they couldn’t afford not to retire. That’s because they may end up paying tens of thousands of dollars more for health insurance after they retire, unless they retire now. The cops have been working without a contract for two years now. Negotiations have failed to produce a new contract; last week the police union voted 291-4 to reject the city’s last best offer. So for the first time since 1978, the police contract will go to arbitration. And most observers predict that the city will succeed in eliminating a current $525 cap on monthly health premiums for retirees.

And, Police Chief Anthony Campbell predicts, the exodus may have only just begun.

Retirement Rush

Paul Bass PhotosIn June alone, Capt. Patricia Helliger, Lt. Elisa Tuozzoli, Lt. Darci Siclari, Sgts. Albert McFadden, Jr. and Eric Scott, Detectives Von Norstrand and Jeffrey Goodwin, and Officers David Rivera, Elvin Rivera, John Palmer, Leslee Witcher, and Steve Silk all put in for retirement. Many specifically identifiedthat the contract uncertainty as the reason.

Another 31 cops are eligible to retire. On Dec. 7, 37 more will become eligible.

Based on conversations with Campbell, the police chief anticipates another wave of retirements. Arbitration may take six months to two years, based on previous history; if it happens more quickly, he expects cops to rush to hand in papers before the health care change takes effect.

“People are applying for jobs right now. I know they are. They’re getting their resumes done. They don’t like this uncertainty,” Campbell said Monday.

Mayor Toni Harp and other officials have said the city is in a squeeze: It needs to offer cops better pay and benefits to keep them. But the city has entered a financial crisis, with limited money available for raises or benefits improvements. Some, like retired Assistant Police Chief John Velleca, have suggested slashing the size of the force, arguing that the city doesn’t need expensive walking beats to keep crime down. Harp responded on her “Mayor Monday” program on WNHH FM that walking beat-focused community policing has kept down the crime rate, and the city can’t afford to sacrifice that.

“Crime is down; that is a great thing. Part of the reason crime is down is we had 439 officers at our peak over the past couple of years. Walking beats. Project Longevity interaction. With a reduced police force, some of it is going to suffer,” Chief Campbell agreed. “This city is accustomed to a certain style of policing. They’re accustomed to high visibility.”

Police union President Craig Miller said cops are feeling dispirited by the lack of a contract and stagnated wages while they work hard to cover staffing shortages.

“We’re working double shifts. I talked to one guy last night — he worked double shifts three nights in a row. We’re running on fumes,” Miller said.

Miller said the the city’s last best contract offer shortchanged the cops, especially in light of raises for other city employees : “I felt betrayed. I felt insulted when the other unions received higher percentage increases than us — and then they turned around and gave raises to executive management and confidential employees after they told us they didn’t have the money.” He said that had agreed not to “litigate” the contract in the press, so he didn’t want to divulge the specifics of the city’s offer beyond saying it contained lower raises than those given the other units and the top execs.

Young And Outward Bound

Paul Bass Photo

Meanwhile, suburban departments are aggressively luring away cops from New Haven as early as two or three years after they graduate from the academy.

Consider the class that graduated from the academy in March of 2015. It had 35 original members. Ten already left for other departments by the end of 2017, according to the city’s human resources office. The list includes some early standout officers, like “Cop of the Week” Tiffany Ortiz, a New Haven native. Ortiz went to work in Norwalk in 2017.

New Haven minted another 59 new officers in 2016. Eight of them have already left the department, according to the human resources office’s records.

Cops who leave after less than three years on the job must reimburse the city $4,000 toward the cost of their training — which in reality costs the city more like $60,000. They’re often happy to give considering how much more money they’ll be making elsewhere, and in fact their new departments often cover the cost as a sweetener.

New Haven cops start at $44,400 a year. Officer salaries top out at $68,287. Hamden starts cops at $76,000. They earn $83,000 after four years. Cops there also get better medical and retirement benefits than New Haven cops do.

How can New Haven compete?

Campbell said he stresses to potential applicants that New Haven offers a more challenging and interesting career to cops interested in tackling homicide and sexual assault investigations, serving on SWAT teams, cooperating with feds on big cases.

Campbell said he hopes to replenish some of the empty ranks with two upcoming police academy classes, with a total of 72 approved recruits. Campbell delayed the first class, originally scheduled to start last week, to launch an internal affairs investigation following the revelation that two officers had filed false background check reports. (Those two officers were among those who resigned in June.) Campbell said Monday that he anticipates being able to start that class by the end of July now that the internal review is almost done.

But ultimately, Campbell argued, “the city has to make a decision: Do you raise more taxes to ensure that you have an attractive salary for your officers and benefits for your officers?

“Many people get into this for public serice. At the same time they have families and student loans and debts to pay. In New Haven you’re doing hard-core police work. If you can go somewhere else and get $20,000 and more to do work that isn’t as risky or as challenging, that’s a huge incentive. You’ve got a family and kids looking to spend time with you and go to college and have bills” to pay.

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posted by: 1644 on July 3, 2018  1:44pm

Hamden is in as bad or worse financial shape as New Haven.  Any officer going there may find his pay and benefits slashed in bankruptcy just as he may in New Haven.

posted by: AverageTaxpayer on July 3, 2018  1:50pm

Retiring after 20yrs, with an 80% pension padded by overtime and extra-duty?

How many of these “retirees” are actually retiring, versus the number going to work as police officers elsewhere, essentially getting paid double?

The current system is absurdly lucrative. Yes, the rules have changed for new hires, to utlimately require 25yrs before full retirement, - but the pension padding continues.

Not sure why our rookie officers are getting paid less than in the suburbs, but it was negotiated by the police union, likely to pay for the largesse the top of the food chain is receiving.

posted by: SparkJames on July 3, 2018  1:56pm

Lay off the bad ones.

Pay the remaining officers 5 times what they are making now.

Give them 10 times as much training in dealing with citizens with mental illness and/or poverty.

Disarm the police.

Have them stay at the station waiting for the phone to ring, reading books and staying off drugs.

posted by: robn on July 3, 2018  2:30pm

Two words regarding poaching, “clawback provision”.
Stay less than 10 years and you pay back full training cost.

posted by: Patricia Kane on July 3, 2018  2:41pm

It’s unfortunate that the article focuses on money so much and makes no mention of other issues that are equally germane, such as the destruction of discipline records, the need for periodic psychological exams to spot and treat PTSD or other job related issues.
  20+ years on the job doesn’t necessarily mean a person is doing a good job. It may only mean someone learned to maneuver in a certain culture.
  Overtime is a good issue, again money related, but has there been any discussion of whether an officer is fit for duty after taking on extra duty work? Does a tired cop still have the ability to respond carefully to stress or to interact with people? At what point is someone taking on too much extra work at the expense of the primary job?
  A police contract should address the quality of the work and not just the baseline hours and benefits.
  We should all want healthy police showing up for work and not exhausted ones.

posted by: the1king on July 3, 2018  2:42pm

This is not very good news.  Why hasn’t nhi talked about all the shootings going on in New Haven.  All hours of the day and night.  This is getting bad.  Nothing about it in here.  In the last week about 8 people shot.  The mayor is not talking about it.  She should be asked these questions.  The city is a mess.  We can’t keep police here, we are probably still paying police chiefs that left early.  It’s a mess here.  Report on the shootings

posted by: Noteworthy on July 3, 2018  2:44pm

Police These Notes:

1. Chief Campbell should be fired. His budget is out of control and he still provides a body guard and chauffeur gor Mayor Toni Harp.

2. You can’tchase salaries of other communities. You’ll never win.

3. Cops earn massive overtime.

4. Health benefits should be capped and pension calculated on base pay only.

5. The police budget should shrink. it has way too many officers - 9n a per capita equal to Baltimore. It’snot needed here.

6 High numbers of cops is a political decision, not one that is predicated on what the public expects.

7. Campbell and anyone else claiming an over-staffed cop shop means lower crime is lying or ignorant.

8. Crime has been dropping across the country for a decade.

9. The NHPD budget should be cut. It will never fill these positions. Harp will use this excess budgeting as a slush fund for continued gross mismanagement.

posted by: 1644 on July 3, 2018  3:13pm

rob:  A “clawback” would require a change in state law.  Unfortunately, Democrats will oppose because they support unions, and Republicans will oppose it because the support “law enforcement”.  I would be happy if we just made it much easier to fire questionable cops, but again, the cop unions have both parties tied up in protecting bad and questionable cops.  Note: In the UK,  an place like Connecticut would have only one police force.  The multiplicity of police forces in the US leads to a lack of professionalism and wasted money as forces compete with each other.  As I said, Hamden cannot afford what it is paying, but it does anyway.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on July 3, 2018  5:08pm

posted by: AverageTaxpayer on July 3, 2018 1:50pm

Retiring after 20yrs, with an 80% pension padded by overtime and extra-duty?The current system is absurdly lucrative. Yes, the rules have changed for new hires, to utlimately require 25yrs before full retirement, - but the pension padding continues.

Show me in the contract that pension padding continues?Also it is cheap to pay overtime.Then to hire someone full time.

posted by: 1644 on July 3, 2018 3:13pm

I would be happy if we just made it much easier to fire questionable cops, but again, the cop unions have both parties tied up in protecting bad and questionable cops.

Here we go again.Blame the union.How about the Judges and Arbitrators who are at these cops hearing that rule in there favor?

posted by: EveyHammond on July 3, 2018  6:44pm

@ patricia kane - I imagine if they were paid respectfully to begin with, they wouldnt need to work extra. It seems like you never have anything positive to say about the department.

If this is what NH officers deal with everyday, why stay? Id wanna leave too. And this board Im sure is the sanitized version.

According to this article, ppl are leaving en masse. If thats the case, that means less ppl are doing more work.

Im sure all of the ppl who left would alleviate the current problem.

NH’s short term thinking leading to bigger problems. Real shocker. Story of this City.

posted by: JohnDVelleca on July 3, 2018  7:01pm

More cops does not equal less crime.  Sorry to burst the bubble of anybody who thinks so, but there has been extensive research regarding this very topic and the findings were just as I stated.  Project Longevity is what reduced crime?  That’s such a ridiculous assertion is doesn’t even merit a response (and that is not the same as saying the program is not worthwhile, because I believe that it is).  Community Policing in New Haven has not evolved since the early 1990’s and even back then everyone knew that it was too expensive to maintain for the duration.  The back half of the program, which has never been realized, was to evolve into LESS POLICE PRESENCE with MORE COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT (i.e. less cops, not more).  Weed (lots of cops, zero tolerance) and Seed (less enforcement, community empowerment).  Get it?  For all that think more cops equals less crime consider this: 1994 was the most violent year in the history of the city…we were fully staffed with walking beats on virtually every corner.  Explain how that can be if more cope equals less crime.  The PD needs real help right now, it’s time to stop screwing around.

posted by: JohnDVelleca on July 3, 2018  7:18pm

@Patricia Kane asked: 

“Does a tired cop still have the ability to respond carefully to stress or to interact with people? At what point is someone taking on too much extra work at the expense of the primary job?”

    This maybe the most important issue that is not garnering much attention.  This has been a concern for a long time and one that we have studied and responded to with policy.  But, as you know, policy is only as good as the culture in which it resides.  If policy is not adhered to, than it’s just words on a piece of paper.  An OSHA study from a few years ago found that sleep deprived employees are operating with the mental acuity of someone with a BAC of 0.05%.  Their reaction times were found to be 7% slower and rate of error was 40% higher than normal.  Plug that into policing and let me know if you see a public safety concern.  The time for rhetoric is over at the NHPD, results are necessary.  The officers and the community deserve better.

posted by: Olorin on July 3, 2018  7:54pm

JDV: I really respect your opinion/expertise; correct me if I’m wrong in this: My memory is what ultimately cracked the nut in the mid 90s was lengthy incarceration, much of it federal, for the primary actors, based on meticulously built cases with city/state/federal cooperation. Perhaps aided by community cooperation maybe as a result of the then new community based policing initiative. Or maybe a result of community fatigue with the endless carnage. Or some combination thereof.

Whenever I see an uptick like we’re seeing now I fear in my bones a return to those bad old days. I hope the current regime at the NHPD has the solution in hand, but at the moment I am seriously anxious about that.

posted by: Patricia Kane on July 3, 2018  8:10pm

@EveyHammond: “We should all want healthy police showing up for work and not exhausted ones.”

posted by: EveyHammond on July 3, 2018  9:07pm

@ patricia kane- i agree. I would also assume we should all want to work in a place where we’re appreciated and respected. Judging by the posts, the doesnt seem to be any here.

The city doesnt appreciate the PD so its reaping what it sowed.

If it was so great, why leave? Studies show ppl will take less money if theyre respected and appreciated. I suspect that may be a reason why ppl leave NH after training.

The numbers dont lie.

posted by: new havener on July 3, 2018  10:08pm

The City should actively approach Yale’or UNH’s School of Management looking for thesis candidates to
analyze and normalize call and arrest/citation data and, based on results, maximize staffing.

At first blush, surely there is less crime, for example, between 4am to noon, on Monday’s and Tuesday’s, so less manning is needed. Certain shift-hours can be deloaded based on data, thereby maximizing productive hours, and minimizing headcounts. Further, the contracts for existing officers are what they are, so explore letting those pension-eligible retire, then offer to bring them back as non-benefit earning officers at a slightly higher wage on the minimal action shifts. Eliminate the extra-duty gravy-trains, incent officers to minimize sick-time, and curtail overall overtime.

Someone has to start thinking outside the box.

posted by: PDHQ ? on July 3, 2018  10:36pm

Just think… get hired and trained in New Haven. Work the street for 2 years, gain the experience of a 10 year veteran in a small town… then leave for a 20k pay raise AND feel appreciated. 

Sorry… but seems like a no brainer…

posted by: robn on July 4, 2018  6:47am


I’m aware of CGS 7-294dd which requires departments hiring <2yr rookies to pay the original department 50% of the training costs. However, I’m unaware of a state law that bars a clawback provision in contracts between a training department and the trainee him/herself.

posted by: NHPLEB on July 4, 2018  6:49am

@ EVEY: if everyone left a job where they were not appreciated or respected;  there’d be no one on the job anywhere!!! I wouldn’t want to be a cop anywhere and as more folks come to realize that cops are being forced to hesitate their ever action and risk their own deaths for it;  fewer will want to be cops,  or teachers, and certainly no one wants to run for public office.

After driving around our fair state a little, it strikes me how shabby and run-down and dirty our little NH is looking.  Trash everywhere,  bums everywhere, embarrassment for the City every time you read a paper.  We have no money but we don’t give up a fest or a firework or a dollar spent. Fewer and fewer bright spots to see around town.  What exactly is it that makes NH so great???  I used to think it was.  Now, I have trouble giving reasons for why I stayed here when I could have left.

posted by: Ozzie on July 4, 2018  9:10am

The seeds of the demise of the Police Department started under Nick Pastore and his philosophy of Policing . He hired a person to run the training division that had no business training police officers where the State had to step in and threaten to decertify the academy. Most of his people have run the department into the ground with the their leadership. As for the bad old days of the 90’s Oloron they are upon us again but the only difference between then and now are the Police officers you have , back then the Police took care of business( although some people didn’t like it ) Major gangs were dismantled and people were put in jail. Now you have a non confrontational Police Department where cops are encouraged not to self initiate things. When was the last time a press release was given out regarding a drug raid with guns seized. The criminals are definitely winning now and blue lives don’t matter anymore .

posted by: JohnDVelleca on July 4, 2018  11:09am


  Very sensible suggestions, however all of those things are being done already at the CompStat meetings.  I can assure you that most district managers, as well as executive command personnel, are well aware of the calls:officers deployed ratio.  The problem is not that they don’t know, it’s the strict adherence to a flawed philosophy that prevents fiscally responsible allocation of resources.  People can argue with me all they want, but I’ve seen the PD budget and I’ve seen where the resources are going and where they are not going.  Considering all of the grant money we receive and the decline in major crime (and crime in general) over the past few years the fact that overtime is still skyrocketing is absurd and unnecessary.  Furthermore, the return on investment is exceedingly low.  Maybe the colleges can poll the people in the neighborhoods where the highest concentration of walking beats are deployed and ask the residents if they even noticed that they are there.  This is not a jab at the officers, I’m merely trying to explain why this deployment philosophy is flawed.  The budget can be positively manipulated to reflect a more responsible use of taxpayer funding.  Unless you have a vast amount of police experience and take the time to deeply drill into every dollar spent, and I mean that literally line-by-line, you’ll never truly understand the degree of wasted money.  Some of us have been saying this for a decade, but nobody seems to think its important.  Reevaluate, Recognize, and Reorganize (remember that from training?).  Streamline guys, everybody else is doing it…

posted by: Cop4twenty on July 4, 2018  11:31am

These comments are sickening. Folks do your research! Cops get 50% pension at 20 years. These officers do a great job in a city listed by the FBI as one of the most dangerous in the nation. For crying out loud, these officers do a fantastic job and deserve a benefits package/salary which would be competitive with other departments. The mayor just gave her people raises! The officers here put up with a lot of crap. You can’t measure the crimes they prevent only the crime committed. They do this even with all the interference from loud mouth anti-police community members, politicians, and CLERGY members. If one of them didn’t have a bat phone to Toni’s explorer maybe the administration at the police department would have been different. We all know Michael Carter made his decision of who was gonna replace nutty Dean for chief because of a certain clergy member leaning on the mayor. Let the department run like a REAL p.d. I’m sure the officers are tired of listening to all the nonsense fished out by cop haters, politicians - some being attorneys living in the city, and the almighty clergy. The department is at its lowest level of moral ever and a lot of is the embarrassing crap that’s always putting dark clouds over 01 Union. Some of the issues which have come up over the past few years should have been investigated by the feds - the department needs (like the President says) to be drained like a swamp of dirty politicians! What was it? - 8 people shot in a week, yep, great job New Haven. You keep butchering your officers, mostly with uneducated and unresearched comments while the bullets keep flying. Oh, and let’s spend more money defending Dean Esserman for not promoting the guys who organized a highly successful no confidence vote. That suit isn’t really about disciplines, it’s about a mentally ill individual with personal animus treatment towards 6 men who are doing the work of a lieutenant without having the actual rank. Maybe we should have hired Howell!

posted by: concerned_neighbor on July 4, 2018  11:39am

As important as the raw number of boots on the ground, NHPD management has to make sure it has a sufficient supervisory span between patrol officers and front line or road sergeants. Beyond a ratio of 4 to 1, front line supervisors cannot maintain adequate management and control.

Therefore, we must look closely at the potential depletion of the road sergeants through retirement and other forms of attrition. Hiring new officers from the academy won’t help if they can’t be properly managed.

posted by: Patricia Kane on July 4, 2018  12:00pm

@ JohnDVelleca:  If we ever have a CRB again in New Haven, I propose a combination of citizens and retired police, such as yourself, to be the ideal combination.
  We should be supporting the best in our police and that means evaluating their health, mental and physical, on an ongoing basis. A macho culture does not allow vulnerability to be discussed, but it must. And services must be provided, whether or not they are requested, by supervisors on the job.
  A call for fewer and better paid non-violent police, makes sense.
  The drug laws will eventually be rescinded, so what will the priorities be?
  The decriminalization of sex work should also be on the legislative agenda. Sex workers are often the victims of childhood sexual assault which leads to drug use to dull the pain and to a lifetime of living with PTSD and other untreated issues. Arresting and jailing such people only compounds their victimization.
  Until we look at the well -documented causes of crime - basically poverty/ lack of economic opportunity - crime will be more prevalent among the chronically deprived, including victims of well-documented racist policies for literally hundreds of years.
    How many so-called white collar criminals actually go to jail?
  Police cannot cure societal ills, but they are the ones to encounter the fallout from desperation.
    We need a new definition of policing, driven by one imperative: a respect for the sanctity of life.
    And we need police with experience to contribute to the redesign of policing and to an ongoing dialogue.

posted by: yim-a on July 4, 2018  12:35pm

From my experience in health care (10 years at Hill Health), staff retention is a oft overlooked aspect of care/service in urban areas.  There is a sort of boorish (but in some ways true) impression that those new to the profession use urban areas as a stepping stone to more lucrative, and less stressful, positions.  New MDs, NPs, and PAs work at community health centers while receiving loan re payment, and then move on to hospitals or private clinics when the loans are repayed and they have just about had enough of the mid/upper management shenanigans/politics and chronic stress of addressing overwhelming needs with inadequate resources. 

The there are the lifers, who are truly called to service, and find their own, inner resources to survive and then thrive in the difficulty environment.

This is probably true for New Haven teachers and others in social and health services.

The question, then.  How well are New Haven leaders balancing the need to support their officers (maintaining morale and sense of mission) with the needs of their other constituents?  It’s not an easy game and the increase in retirements and transitions tells me they’re not doing well.

posted by: JCFremont on July 4, 2018  12:49pm

I think a merging of New, East, West,North[maybe] and Hamden Police and Fire Departments can look to merge with officers moving around in cycles so that senior officers aren’t playing out the string in North Haven nor will rookies be heavy in New Haven. Does Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and The Bronx all have separate police forces? Face it there is a big difference between living in Hartford compared to their suburbs, in New Haven, except from New Haven’s downtown many of the neighborhoods are not much different and most are linked seamlessly.

posted by: EveyHammond on July 4, 2018  2:18pm

@c420…8 shootings in a week? The citizens say disarm the police. Not one was police related.

Other ppl want the pd to strictly stick to quality of life issues such as going fast over speed bumps.

Less cops mean less work, as noted. I cant imagine proactive or community police is being done now.

Starts with better decision making. People who arent responsible adults having children when they cant take care of themselves. They dont watch or discipline their children and the society has to deal with an uncontrollable child. The teachers cant do anything bc the parents dont care. Then, “parents” yell at the teachers, bc its their fault the child has no structure.

Teachers try to educate a classroom, but the disruptive hinder that. The teachers “pass” the child who cant read bc there’s only so much everyone else should be punished.

Meanwhile, the parents continue to receive more social services. DCF doesnt like pulling children from their family, so you space out the time you have kids. One at 17, and then another child every few years til youre 40. Kids at home for 18 years, so you get section 8 and food stamps til youre 60.

Free food and free housing for life. The taxpayer’s pay for this ponzi scheme.

It would take a normal person a salary of 48k a year to live at that level (free rent, health care, and foodstamps/ebt).  Why would any city resident take less money to work for the PD? The system has create an entire class of ppl wholly dependent on the government. If you go to department of social services at 50 James st, you can see “the poor” driving around in brand new cars.

Its not rich v poor. Ppl need to take responsibility for their own life and decisions. Safe sex practices, family planning, etc like the rest of society does.
There isnt much of that in NH. It needs to change.

posted by: AverageTaxpayer on July 4, 2018  8:59pm

@ Hammond —

What town do you live in? Because with those attitudes you sure as shoot aren’t a New Havener….

posted by: wendy1 on July 4, 2018  9:29pm

I am grateful to police, firemen, nurses, paramedics, docs, etc.
I dont blame anyone for leaving New Haven Hell.
We have shootings everyday.  We all need kevlar and Yale cant handle the coming overflow of crime victims in it’s 2 local ER’s.
Say goodbye to any scintella of “normalcy”.  And it aint coming back.

posted by: EveyHammond on July 5, 2018  1:19am

@ ataxpayer- im a tax payer here too. Originally down south, though.

Down south,  its much nicer. Cities are cleaner, less taxes. Why? Everyone pays for themselves, civic pride, personal responsibility.

Detriot, Newark, Baltimore, New haven, Chicago, SanFran, DC, etc, all have something in common. Theyre run by democrats. Im not liberal or conservative but one party rule is not good.

This city needs change, as does the State.

Taxpayers need to revolt.

posted by: Kevin McCarthy on July 5, 2018  8:00am

Although I am not a lawyer, I would like to focus on an obscure legal concept - contracts. NHPD pay and benefits are specified in the contract. Going to Sparkjames’ first point, so is the lengthy process for terminating an officer.  The city should seek to modify these terms going forward. But for the time being, the city is bound by them. This might change if the city entered bankruptcy, but I very much doubt the state would permit this.

1644, I don’t know that a clawback provision would require a change in state law. Public sector contract provisions can supersede statutory provisions. For example, pension benefits in state employee union contracts supersede statutory provisions. But such a clawback provision for NHPD officers would require a change in their contract. I wouldn’t hold my breath on this.

posted by: observer1 on July 5, 2018  8:49am

What most of the commentators are talking about is regionalization of municipal services. All we would have to do is have a New haven county Police, fire and education department, Simple right? WRONG!!!! The folks in the outlying towns and cities have fled the big cities for various reasons. They and each mayor or first selectman would revolt against a county system of government as would the folks in the burbs. Political power would switch and a lot of people would lose their duplicated jobs. Hell, West Haven has three fire chiefs and has tried for years to only have one fire department. It would be an extremely efficient system, but nobody in the burbs wants to see the New haven tax and spend system of government exported to their community.

posted by: JCFremont on July 5, 2018  10:06am

Why would risk working in New Haven where every arrest seems to be a sociologist, psychology case study. You drew your gun, you should have taken out the taser. You used the taser, couldn’t you have restrained the suspect? You used force, (put hands on suspect), why not talk them into surrendering. Please obey the speed limits when pursuing vehicals, better yet don’t chase at all.  I would not advocate for a county police force, it’s just to big and smaller towns will manage these services better. The over-staffing and bloated management level needs a few strong mayors who see the job as going into change the statues quo you can be surprised how a politician can be when they kick some butt and the taxpayers realize its for their own good.

posted by: Adrian35 on July 5, 2018  11:40am

And what about our dispatchers and 911 operators? Nobody mentions them. Do you want them alert when answering 911 calls and dispatching police and fire? Many employees work sixty, seventy, eighty or more hours per week. Been going on for years. How alert and at the top of their profession can they be? It’s a legitimate concern that the city doesn’t want to entertain. Has anyone including the NHI ever looked into the overtime statistics at 911? Legitimate concerns that nobody seems to care about. Makes you wonder what is really going on? A shake up recently took place at 911, but media doesn’t report on it.  Business as usual. Maybe the civil trial regarding the dog mauling case will shed some light?

posted by: Patricia Kane on July 5, 2018  1:22pm

@Adrian35: Why are people working so many hours? Tell me more.

posted by: EveyHammond on July 5, 2018  1:43pm

NH is the only place when ppl work do citizens get upset. One would think working would be encouraged. No wonder ppl are fleeing here.

posted by: challenge on July 5, 2018  3:23pm

More cops will not make any city safer. Declaring crime is down as neighborhoods face daily shootings will not make the declarations true. The chief and mayor can put on all the shows they wish the lies will not become facts. Police are leaving the city for many reasons one being the gravy train that once was is drying up. Several were involved in criminal behavior and left to avoid being fired and losing pensions. Some left and returned because they were rejected at other departments. Some left once they were eligible to retire because they could no longer represent a department with so much scandal and lack of accountability for police misconduct. Also many are dissatisfied with the culture within the department and stay for as long as they are mandated and leave.We need more officers to prevent crime and not simply report on crime and we need officers who care about the community which will make coming to work each day more pleasant. There is also the fact that suburban towns are not hiring over 400 officers so they can afford to pay better. There are many reasons officers leave and paying higher salaries may not be “the fix”. It’s time to stop the false narratives and address the real reasons cops are leaving NHPD.

posted by: EveyHammond on July 5, 2018  5:02pm

Its all a show. Everybody says nice things about everyone else at the table and everyone is happy. Its just as phony as a Trump cabinet meeting.

Crime is getting worse here. Still waiting to hear a plan?

posted by: new havener on July 5, 2018  7:40pm

yo, Adrian35: while responding to Ms Kane regarding 911-dispatcher overtime, be sure to include a tidbits of factual data on excessive sick-time, and non-scheduled personal-time that leads to manning shortages. Factors that contribute to overtime, and ultimately lead to call-center outsourcing. #BeenThereDoneThat

posted by: Seth Poole on July 6, 2018  10:31am


You should write a screenplay entitled, “Stereotypical.”  Your sad attempt at an educated assessment of New Haven’s socio-economic status is troubling at best.  It is this thought process that erodes any possibility of building community.

There are so many other options for you, and I’d be honored to help you relocate.  @AMDC can be your roommate.

Thank you @Newhavener and @JohnDVelecca for bringing solution-minded commentary to this medium.

posted by: EveyHammond on July 6, 2018  2:09pm

@seth poole- your sad denial of reality is delusional at best.

Ask business owners, citizens of other towns how much they enjoy coming to NH.

My parents came up from Florida in February. We were accosted outside of Sally’s by a drunk bum. Luckily someone who was there helped my family get away from the aggressive and drunk bum.

But its me who is said. Smh. Go replace the paper bag on your head.

posted by: Cop4twenty on July 8, 2018  4:30pm

So, since the city probably reached out and had the the independent shut commenting down on the cops disciplinary records, I’ll post it here @ 1644. Let’s get back to the issue of transparency. If that’s what the public wants and some in the police department, let’s violate HIPPA and open up Dean Esserman’s mental health records. Let’s ask Quinnipiac why they walked him out of his position there. It was either a case of harassment (go figure) of a secretary or wrecking a car belonging to the school while under the influence. How about transparency with records of off duty conduct of some of Dean’s top brass, probably find some pretty entertaining stuff there. The last suit filed regarding promotions settled just before trial but there were no white males in that complaint. 🤔

posted by: redman on July 10, 2018  8:22am

People fleeing to the suburbs, cops fleeing to the suburbs. There may be a pattern.

posted by: BHaven on July 10, 2018  11:44pm

The police should also be accountable for the settlements the city has to make on their behalf.

“In late 2017, New Haven, CT’s city council voted to fund a $9.5 million settlement by raiding city funds, including bond funds intended for a bridge renovation project. The city plans to issue new bonds in 2018 to replenish the raided funds.”  From-