Chief Orders New IA Probe Of Casanova

Allan Appel PhotoIn the second such drama in eight months on the third floor of 1 Union Ave., Police Chief Anthony Campbell has requested an internal affairs investigation of Assistant Chief Luiz Casanova and temporarily removed him from his responsibilities overseeing the training academy.

Campbell acted after supervisors at the academy came to him with concerns about potentially conflicting messages from him and Casanova.

Campbell said Monday night that he is acting primarily in response to “a concern presented by staff members of a hostile work environment” as well as in response to potential insubordination.

For now, he said, he is restricting Casanova to working inside the third-floor chief’s suite on “administrative assignment.”

“He’ll be inside until we sort this out,” Campbell said.

“I took action to make sure he’s not at the academy at this time, to make sure the academy operates smoothly,” Campbell said. “I believe that a fair and impartial investigation will be conducted.”

He said he can’t discuss the matter further because of the pending internal affairs (IA) probe. Casanova said he, too, is not authorized to discuss the matter.

The police union was notified of the action because of it involves reports written by two union members. Union President Craig Miller declined comment.

This is the second time Campbell has acted on a complaint involving Casanova. Last December, when Campbell was still the interim police chief (he got the permanent job this May), he gave Casanova a one-day suspension for calling an officer a “fucking mope” and then denying the officer the right to have union representation at a meeting about it. Casanova was competing with Campbell at the time to become police chief. That incident sparked a demonstration by Casanova supporters in the community alleging that he had been unfairly treated.

This latest incident occurred last week. At the time, Campbell was out of town at a three-week Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) training course in Boston. Campbell also authorized Casanova to take the three-week course. Casanova had started a week earlier, returned to work in New Haven last week.

Meanwhile, Campbell had decided to discipline three officers whom IA investigations had found to have failed to have followed proper search and seizure procedures. Campbell said the officers were involved in three separate incidents, but their violations were similar. So he decided it made sense as part of their discipline to have them go back to the academy for retraining.

People familiar with what happened next, speaking not for attribution, offered somewhat conflicting versions, based on whether they are sympathetic to Campbell or to Casanova — whether they think Casanova had indeed been insubordinate and undermined Campbell while he was out of town, or whether they think he has been unfairly accused based on out-of-context trumped-up accusations. Here’s where the accounts converge: Casanova disagreed with Campbell’s discipline decision. He told supervisors at the academy so and told them to alter the assigned retraining for the three officers in order to make the day feel like less of a punishment, including hours blowing off steam at the firing range.

Mayor Toni Harp said she plans to meet about the matter with city human resources chief Steve Librandi and Corporation Counsel John Rose Jr. “I need to get more information before I weigh in,” she said.

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posted by: T-ski1417 on August 8, 2017  5:16am

IF TRUE, Casanova does not have the authority to veer or undermine the decision the Chief made regarding the retrain of officers as a part of their discipline stemming from a IA complaint, especially when it revolves around search and seizure incident, however this does not surprise me of Casanova. Although this was part of their discipline it is by no means a punishment and going to the academy to “blow off steam”
by unnecessarily shooting on the range when specific retrain was warranted shows that he should not be overseeing a training academy.

posted by: breakingbad23 on August 8, 2017  7:09am

This is exactly why a new Chief should clean house of upper management when he gets hired and pick his own team. Especially in the case of Cassanova who’s made it abundantly clear he has no respect for Campbell or the Officers he supervises.

posted by: southwest on August 8, 2017  8:31am

Nothing new at NHPD or other departments..If the goldens boys don’t always get what they want,they always make attempts to sabotage the chief that was chosen. Casanova and his groupies are out to reck havoc on Campbell chief position. All one got to do is go back and read all the articles regarding previous, Chiefs complaints it’s a revolving circle because my boy didn’t get the position Me and my boys are going to make your tenure a living hell ..that’s always been the inhouse way..Chief tell you to do something you go to your subordinate and complain and he tell you don’t pay it any mind because he’s smarter than the chief so ignore’s a continuing circle in leadership ever action their will be a reaction because most cops think they are the smartest thing since Albert Einstein and don’t want to or think they should be disciplined even when they knowingly have done something wrong..being a Chief one have to be strong and stand by the rules of law and not waiver when it comes to disciplining officers who make bad choices and decisions..If not you will end up with a corrupt department like lots of departments had years ago including NHPD…just google all the articles regarding pass practice of officers and departments,plus new ones popping up everyday..

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on August 8, 2017  8:56am

Mayor Toni Harp said she plans to meet about the matter with city human resources chief Steve Librandi and Corporation Counsel John Rose Jr. “I need to get more information before I weigh in,” she said.

This will be the Kiss of Death for Casanova.Taking Bets. His retirement papers will be in very soon.

posted by: The Rock on August 8, 2017  8:58am

Seems as though Campbell can not control his staff.  The morale is very low and the officers have no direction. Well I guess when your not around this is what happens.  Most within the NHPD have no respect for Campbells leadership because he has no leadership abilities. Another black eye for the department either way.

posted by: magmays47 on August 8, 2017  10:09am

1. Campbell says that the officer had 3 incidents, however he promoted him. 2. How is it insubordination when the discipline was extended by Casanova? 3. Its seems like City Hall and Campbell are doing the best work they know how to do, which is character assassination!? ** I smell a lawsuit if anything else. Casanova get your money and leave before the NHPD implodes. Its a mess and the community is a mess! Hey Campbell, you should quit your day job and stick to doing fake photo ops. Why don’t you start working with the community and figuring out why kids are getting shot!

posted by: Hill North on August 8, 2017  10:16am

What is in the dark always will come out in the light. Chief Campbell is a smart man.  He knows who are the wolves. They will always show their teeth because they are part of the old machine. I agree with @breakbad23.  For the future of the NHPD to go in a positive direction. Chief Campbell has to appoint the right Assistant Chief to lead the Academy class. The next generation of officers should reflex the community they serve and their values.

posted by: Hill North on August 8, 2017  10:25am

I could tell by your use of words who you voted for in the last presidential election.  New Haven has a lot to lose if Chief Campbell quit.

posted by: Sohores on August 8, 2017  10:40am

What a disaster again!!  Two children get shot, one dies. There were protests and press conferences in Newhallvile, now supposedly Casanova disobeyed the Chief all the while the Chief was getting training at PERF for 3 weeks?.  How does a Chief of Police and one Asst. Chief of Police attend training for 3 weeks in Boston at just about the same time, and another Asst. Chief is in the FBI academy for 3 months during all of these major issues within the City of New Haven.  Mayor Harp allowed this? City hall should be ashamed. During all of these shootings, etc.., there was one Asst. Chief in charge and a newly appointed Asst. Chief.  I agree with magmays47, worry about keeping your department together. Campbell is never around and it is showing.

posted by: 1644 on August 8, 2017  11:07am

Given where the stories converge, those who disagree that Casanova was insubordinate don’t know the meaning of the term.  Casanova blatantly undermined the authority of the chief, and respect for rank, including his own, by telling his subordinates he disagreed with the chief’s order, and then modifying that order.  If Casanova disagreed with the order, the only person he should have told is Campbell.  Casanova has to go.  I see another golden handshake deal coming up.

posted by: nib1 on August 8, 2017  12:23pm

What a joke!!  It seems from some comments that the leadership at the NHPD is out of control with all of this in fighting and the supposed disobeyence of orders from the Chief by Casanova. This what the rank and file has to look up too?  New Haven has had many shootings and unfortunately there is more to come and this is what the NHPD is focusing on? If Casanova did not follow orders then he should be punished, but this should not be a major story.  I am sure most residents of the city of New Haven do not care.  We care about reducing the crime, keeping our children safe, reducing property taxes and the next mayoral election.  Wrap this up quickly and move on to more important things. The results of this probe does not affect New Haven residents.  Obviously there are major an issues at the NHPD that must be addressed quickly so they can focus on the shootings of children.  If there is so much leadership issues, low morale and an absent leadership staff as noted in the previous comments, then the Mayor needs to look at the Police Chief because it starts from the top down. When your team is losing, you don’t fire the team you get rid of the manager!!!

posted by: nhpd69 on August 8, 2017  12:38pm

This issue should have been handled internally period.!! If the findings show that Casanova did not disobey the Chief then we have embarrassment throught the NHPD.  The Chief definitley did not learn any leadership skills at PERF. I have never seen so much disarray at the NHPD. There is no strong leadership and things will just get worse. When there is incomptent leadership at the top of the chain and lack of respect by many officers this is what happens. Unfortunately the taxpayers will have pay for it and will have to foot the bill for all the lawsuits that are about to filed or have already been filed against the Chief.

posted by: RobertBaratheon on August 8, 2017  1:00pm

My question on the whole matter is why is a disagreement on discipline a grounds for an internal affairs investigation? This can’t be the only way to actually deal with this situation.

From my vantage point it seems like political positioning for Campbell to put Casanova in a negative light whenever he gets the opportunity.

posted by: JohnDVelleca on August 8, 2017  2:36pm

Back in November 2011, I was the Acting Chief of the NHPD awaiting the arrival of newly hired Dean Esserman.  I was pretty insulted that I was never considered for the job by the mayor at the time and I was pretty forthright with my disdain for the incoming chief, as well as the process that snubbed a small group of life long New Haven Cops; I harbored much resentment.  I knew my resentment would preclude me from being able to do my job at the level expected of me, so I left (as it turns out the boot was on the way regardless).  I recall my staff telling me to “stay and fight, this is our PD” and “we’ll have your back.”  I believe they would have too, but that’s the problem.  Battle lines would have been drawn and that only tends to hurt the front line officers and supervisors.  I couldn’t do that to them.  There is a much bigger issue here and I think we all understand the situation.  Below is a quote from Bass’ 2011 article reporting my retirement:

…..Velleca praised Esserman for giving him the chance to figure out his next step. “[Previous Chief Frank] Limon got to pick his team. I was on that team. This is an important position; he [Esserman] should pick someone he’s comfortable with.”  Velleca said he saw what happened years ago when the chief didn’t get to pick his deputy. “The chief and the assistant chief didn’t get along. All that really hurt was the rank and file patrol officers. It transcended the entire department.”

Past is prologue my friends, we all know what the next step should be.  To those in command, please consider the cops who go out there and chase calls all day and night putting themselves in harms way.  They didn’t sign on for the command level bullshit….

posted by: tartanjug on August 9, 2017  10:48am

The most disturbing information was this as quoted in the article: “He told supervisors at the academy so and told them to alter the assigned retraining for the three officers in order to make the day feel like less of a punishment, including hours blowing off steam at the firing range.”  The residents who have been working for decades on getting a new indoor firing range do not appreciate that the present outdoor one is being used to let off police officers steam.  Perhaps have them go for a run.  We have been more than patient to wait for the gunshot noise to cease.

posted by: TyrWill1985 on August 9, 2017  12:10pm

It doesn’t make sense to buy or rent a house near a airport, train station, subway, sports stadium, fire house, night club, or gun range and complain about the loud noise that is associated with those locations. My parents have been living near the police academy in New Haven since the 50’s. They never complained about the noise. They bought that house knowing the range was close by and reasonably assumed there would be noise with the gun fire that would take place on that range. They didn’t try to move the range, instead, they relocated when it got to be overbearing. Matter of fact were happy to know that our public safety officers were training on a regular basis to safeguard our community. A cop that can shoot more accurately is definitely an asset. On the other hand, a cop that can’t, is a just a liability to our community and the general public.

posted by: Hill North on August 9, 2017  1:57pm

@ TyrWill1985
The 50’s does not apply to 2017. What you fail to realize is the neighborhood has change over the years. We have a generation of people that been traumatize in that community by the hands of NHPD. Your parents was fortunate enough to pack up and leave when it became overbearing from the gun shoots. Everyone does not have the money or resources to relocate their family.

posted by: HhE on August 9, 2017  10:32pm

We could have had Chief Thaddeus Redish.  Could have.  Now we get more of this.  Thank you Mayor Harp.

posted by: T-ski1417 on August 10, 2017  3:34pm

Ask for Casanova’s resignation or remove him and ask Reddish to return as an A/C.