After shake-up, NHPD swears in 3 new assistant chiefs

Two Chicago Police Department veterans and one member of the New Haven Police Department were sworn in Friday as New Haven’s new assistant chiefs of police, according to a City Hall press release.

Thomas Wheeler Jr. and Tobin Hensgen both served in the CPD, where NHPD Chief Frank Limon, who took his post in early April, worked for 30 years and served as chief of the Organized Crime Division. Hensgen, who recently retired from the Chicago force, worked in the the Organized Crime Division as well, according to the press release. Wheeler served in the CPD from 1976 to 2006 and became a commander in 2005.

According to the press release, Wheeler will oversee Investigative Services, the NHPD’s detective force, and Hensgen will head Professional Standards, which handles internal affairs and training.

The third new assistant chief, Ariel Melendez, has spent more than 30 years in the NHPD and is currently an administrative lieutenant and S.W.A.T. team operator, the release said. Melendez, who became a lieutenant in 2008, will be in charge of the Operations/Patrol Division.

Mayor John DeStefano Jr. said in a statement that the new hires demonstrate the city’s efforts to change the NHPD from a “good department to an excellent department.”

“The individuals we are swearing-in today are experienced and prepared to help us do that,” DeStefano said in the statement Friday.

Four assistant police chiefs served under the former NHPD chief, James Lewis. But by the time Limon was named the new chief in early March, the city was left with only one top official, Stephanie Redding. Former Assistant Chief Peter Reichard was relieved of his duties in late January because of complaints about his management style and conduct, while former Assistant Chiefs Roy Brown and Kenneth Gillespie chose to depart at the end of January and the end of February, respectively.

Redding, who served as acting chief in the period of transition between Lewis and Limon, will continue as an assistant chief, the press release said.

Colin Ross contributed reporting.

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