City | 6:15 pm | January 28, 2012 | By James Lu

Esserman asks three assistant chiefs to exit

Dean Esserman is New Haven's top cop.
Dean Esserman is New Haven's top cop. Photo by James Lu.

Two months after taking over as New Haven Police Department Chief, Dean Esserman announced his intention to restructure the department’s leadership Friday evening.

Esserman said he had informed his three remaining assistant chiefs — Petesia Adger, Tobin Hensgen and Patrick Redding — over the past few weeks that he planned to appoint his own leadership team. Adger, Hensgen and Redding — along with John Velleca, a former assistant chief who retired last month — were appointed less than a year ago by then-NHPD Chief Frank Limon, and together have served over 60 years at the NHPD.

“I am moving the Department in a new direction and have taken these past two months to assess the organization,” Esserman said in a Friday press release. “Over the last several weeks, I have met with the assistant chiefs to let them know that I’d like to put my own team together and that I will honor and respect their service to the City of New Haven in developing a time frame for the transition”.

While Esserman said he would let the assistant chiefs announce their own decisions about if and whether they would department, adding he he would not bring “anyone from New York or Providence.” Esserman previously served as chief of the Providence Police Department.

Redding signaled he would retire on Thursday, according to the New Haven Register, but neither Hensgen nor Adger could be reached for comment.

NHPD Spokesman David Hartman deferred comment on the leadership restructuring to the chief’s office, but said that the announcement of any new assistant chiefs would come from Mayor John DeStefano Jr. City Hall spokeswoman Elizabeth Benton ’04 explained it is the “right” of the police chief to choose his assistant chiefs.

CLARIFICATION: An earlier headline incorrectly asserted that Esserman had “fired” the three assistant chiefs. Rather, he asked the assistant chiefs to retire so that he could structure his own leadership team.

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