Adrian Kulezsa, Staff
On Monday, the New Haven Police Department held an outdoor retirement ceremony for public information officer Captain Anthony Duff ’88 in front of the department’s headquarters.
Duff’s retirement event coincided with a new wave of police appointments. In the week before Duff took off his badge, the Board of Police Commissioners approved the appointment of his successor, Officer Scott Shumway, at its April 13 meeting. NHPD also approved five lateral hires, for licensed officers from nearby departments who now await a background check for final departmental confirmation.
“Thank you for your 25 years of dedication and service to the city of New Haven … we wish you the best of luck,” dispatch communications manager Debbie Thornton said over a police car’s radio as Duff walked out of the NHPD station. On either side, a row of officers saluted him.
Assistant Chief of Police Renee Dominguez also took the time to honor Duff at the ceremony, highlighting his recovery after a shooting that left him with life-threatening injuries.
In August 2019, Duff was off duty near Dixwell Avenue and Henry Street when he witnessed Troy Clark, a 46-year-old man from West Haven, being shot just feet away from him. Duff was shot in his attempt to intervene. He subsequently called for backup and was later hospitalized. Duff returned to work in January of last year.
Dominguez said that Duff could have retired after the incident but chose not to out of a sense of obligation to his fellow officers and to the city.
“What he’s done for the men and women of the police department, he’ll never know,” Dominguez said. “He’s a wonderful person. He’s an excellent police officer. We love him, as you can see,” referring to the send-off organized by the department.
Duff said at the event that he did not have any official plans for his retirement.
Dominguez’s decision to fill the PIO post with a line officer — an officer in the line of duty — instead of a supervisor has been a point of question. Dominguez said at the April 13 meeting that her decision is motivated by the lack of supervisors in the current force.
“We have few supervisors to spare,” Dominguez said at the Board of Police Commissioners meeting.
Shumway first joined the force in 2012 as a walking beat officer in Newhallville and later covered East Rock’s South of Humphrey neighborhood. The New Haven Police Department requires its newly recruited officers to take walking beats during their first year, covering assigned neighborhoods by foot in an effort to increase community-police relations.
He later received the Police Cross and the NHPD Medal of Honor after he suffered non-life threatening injuries in a 2017 standoff on Elm Street, after a suspect shot his wife several times in their home.
In addition to Shumway, five other officers received conditional offers of employment in the NHPD.
According to the Board Chair Evelise Riberio, the candidates are either police officers in other departments or officers separated from another department for no more than two years. Ribiero added that the department will conduct background tests and present those who pass to the Board for final approval.
The department enacted a “New Hire Policy” last October, which created two lists for police hires: one for new recruits and another for lateral hires. This effectively established separate processes for Connecticut versus out-of-state officers, former NHPD Chief Otoniel Reyes said in October.
Duff joined the force in 1996.
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