Mayor Toni Harp appointed Anthony Campbell ’95 DIV ’09 as the New Haven Police Department’s chief on Monday morning, filling a vacancy created by former chief Dean Esserman’s departure last September.
Campbell was interim chief and performed the duties of a chief for the past 10 months.
Harp chose him from a group of three final candidates based on recommendations from a committee headed by Michael Carter, New Haven’s chief administrative officer. According to city hall spokesman Laurence Grotheer, this committee reviewed all police chief applications and narrowed down the list of candidates.
Campbell said he felt humbled when he received the news from the mayor, who cited his work ethic, vision for community policing and plans to develop leadership within the department as reasons for his appointment.
“I am eager to serve the men and women of this department and this city,” Campbell said.
After serving as police chief for four years, Esserman promptly resigned after the police union cast a no-confidence vote against him. A police union press release from last July listed “poor morale, hostile work environments, intimidation, retaliation, lack of leadership quality and inability to make sound decisions” as reasons for the department’s discontent with Esserman.
Campbell said increasing transparency within the department, combating domestic violence and fostering leadership skills among the members of his department are the top priorities of his administration. Campbell cited installing body cameras and working with the civilian review board as ways to strengthen the department’s accountability.
To take on domestic violence as the “new frontier” of violent crimes, Campbell said he wishes to create a family justice center to streamline the process of assisting victims of domestic violence. The center would be staffed with officers, detective, prosecutors and equipped with resources like housing so that victims could seek multiple types of support at the same time.
The police chief position has seen high turnover in the past decade, with five different people assuming the role, including Campbell. The new chief said he plans to create leadership roles for NHPD officers to help train his successors and to supply talent on the regional policing level.
Campbell will be sworn in as the police chief on June 1.