After a monthslong national search, Bridgeport Mayor Joseph Ganim announced his pick on Monday for the permanent Bridgeport police chief captain: Acting Bridgeport Police Chief Armando Perez. Perez beat out two other finalists for the position, including New Haven Assistant Police Chief Luiz Casanova.
“This has been the toughest process that I’ve been through. Very thorough. I competed with highly professionals from all different parts of our country. You had guys from Texas, from Chicago, from, you know, New Haven,” said Perez during a press conference announcing the decision.
The announcement came 10 days after Ganim shared in a press release that he intended to finish the selection process within the next few weeks. Having come earlier than expected, Perez’s appointment as chief was celebrated with informal festivities Monday evening.
New Haven’s Casanova made it to the final round of decisions from a list of seven semifinalists and 17 initial contenders. Interviews for the seven semifinalists were conducted on Oct. 19 by a panel of five experts from police departments and municipal governments in the region — including Yale Police Chief Ronnell Higgins.
Bridgeport Communications Director Rowena White told the News that it is not rare for someone outside of Bridgeport to be selected as a finalist, adding that while several hopefuls currently serve in the Bridgeport Police Department, others applied from across the country.
On Oct. 26, the city of Bridgeport released all three finalists’ resumes. Casanova’s four page resume boasts over 20 years of experience with the New Haven Police Department.
Casanova graduated from Albertus Magnus College in New Haven with a master’s degree in criminal justice. In his capacity as assistant chief, Casanova managed the New Haven Police Academy, the Internal Affairs Bureau and recruited the most diverse academy class in recent years.
According to his resume, he also assisted the Yale Child Study Center under the Yale School of Medicine with the development of a national trainer curriculum for children exposed to violence.
Perez has worked in the Bridgeport Police Department for 32 years. Ganim promoted Perez from captain to acting chief in March 2016 — just a few months after Perez had helped Ganim, mayor of Bridgeport from 1991–2003, successfully campaign to win back his previous job as mayor, according to The Connecticut Post.
Among 25 other listed characteristics, the ideal candidate for the position of Bridgeport Police Chief must develop trust among the community, have cultural competency and must “walk the talk,” according to the invitation to apply to the job.
The candidates must also possess a minimum of 10 years of law enforcement experience in a population of over 80,000 people with a minimum minority population of 25 percent, as well as a minimum five years of command experience.
The official job application listed 11 “challenges and opportunities” for the potential chief, including the promotion and implementation of new body and dashboard cameras and the recruitment of a culturally diverse staff within the department.
“The complexity of contemporary policing requires the very thoughtful selection of police leaders to compete in the process, and some basic decisions about policing in the community they will serve,” Higgins told the News. He said it was an “honor” to serve alongside the esteemed panel of professionals.
The Bridgeport Police Department was founded in 1837.
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