Another New Haven Police Department officer is joining the list of NHPD officers who have left the city department in the past months. Last week, Assistant Chief Herb Johnson announced his retirement from the police department effective April 11 — according to the New Haven Independent.

The announcement comes just a few weeks after Chief Anthony Campbell ’95 DIV ’09 announced his retirement from the NHPD. As assistant chief, Johnson is currently responsible for the NHPD Investigative Services Division. Johnson worked for the NHPD for a total of 21 years — the same number as Campbell. Both officers are taking jobs with the state’s attorney’s office.

According to the Independent, Johnson applied for the position of state inspector at the state attorney’s office when the position first opened up in February. This position was granted to Campbell, and Johnson was given another investigator position that opened up after the first.

At Campbell’s farewell party last week, Johnson made a short speech in which he reminisced about the time he shared with Campbell at the Police Academy 21 years ago.

“In that academy I just remember you helping every single person,” Johnson told Campbell. “You made me assistant chief, and I can’t thank you enough for my career.”

Johnson serves as one of four NHPD assistant chiefs. Up until last month, the other three assistant chiefs were Rachael Cain, who is responsible for Professional Standards; Otoniel Reyes, who heads the Patrol Division; and Luiz Casanova, who is responsible for Administration.

On March 22, Reyes was named interim chief of the New Haven Department effective immediately that day. With Johnson’s departure, his leaves the NHPD with only two assistant chiefs — Cain and Casanova.

NHPD Captain Anthony Duff told the News that he did not have a press release on the matter and directed the News to Reyes, who did not respond to requests for comment.

Since the beginning of 2018, the New Haven Police Department has had difficulty in retaining its officers — losing a large portion of its force every year. The Department graduated 35 members from its police academy in 2015, and then lost 10 of those officers by the end of 2017, according to data from the city’s human resources office. Fifty-nine new officers were hired in 2016, at least eight of which have already left the Department.

“There is an ongoing challenge to retain New Haven police officers because very often after the extensive training [in the police academy], other departments will offer higher salaries to lure away New Haven police officers,” mayoral spokesman Laurence Grotheer told the News in December 2018.

At the start of 2019, the New Haven Police Department had over 100 vacancies.

Sammy Westfall | sammy.westfall@yale.edu