Yale Daily News

On Tuesday, the Board of Alders unanimously approved Karl Jacobson’s appointment as the Chief of Police.

Jacobson, who is a 15+ year veteran of the New Haven Police Department and is currently serving as Police Chief, was nominated by Mayor Justin Elicker on May 23. Before joining the NHPD, Jacobson served for nine years as a Police Officer and Task Force Officer with the East Providence Police Department in Rhode Island until 2007. He received a bachelor’s degree in sociology and justice studies from Rhode Island College and a master’s degree in criminal justice from the University of New Haven.

“I am deeply honored to be nominated by Mayor Elicker to serve as the next Chief of Police for the New Haven Police Department,” Jacobson wrote in a press release. “New Haven is a great place to live, work and raise a family, and working together we are going to keep it that way and build an even safer city, a stronger city and a city with deeper police-community bonds than ever before.”

The nomination came after more than three months of a nationwide search for a police chief. It was Elicker’s second nomination for the post – the mayor’s first pick, then-Acting Chief Renee Dominguez, was rejected by the Board last year amid concerns that she had failed to increase NHPD diversity and that she had not adequately addressed the city’s rising homicide rates.

“I am confident he is the right person to lead the New Haven Police Department at this critical time.” Elicker wrote in a press release. “Karl Jacobson and I share a similar vision for the New Haven Police Department: one that utilizes community-based policing, one of deep respect and partnership with the community, and one of a holistic approach to public safety that moves beyond a policing-only paradigm.”

Leonard Jahad, executive director of the Connecticut Violence Intervention Program (CTVIP), applauded Jacobson’s appointment. Jahad said his relationship with Jacobson goes back to 2010 when he was the chief probation officer and Jacobson was a sergeant.

Jahad praised Jacobson for his consistency and dedication to working with the community. He said that Jacobson trusts the community and has the community’s trust as well, and when the case on Richard Cox broke out — the 36-year-old man who is now hospitalized and reported to be partially paralyzed after flying headfirst against a wall in a police prisoner conveyance van — Jahad said Jacobson’s first reaction was “please pray for the victim.”

“He always says we cannot arrest our way out of crime, we need the entire community, the nonprofits, state and federal agencies, municipalities,” Jahad said. “I talked to him last night and the first thing he said was ‘I’m going to need you guys.’ He’ll be able to change the culture for the entire police department where they will be more collaborative, more transparent, more engaging with the community.”

On Wednesday at 11 a.m., Elicker swore in Jacobson as New Haven’s Next Chief of Police.

HANNAH QU
Hannah Qu covers Cops and Courts. Originally from Jinan, China, she is a first year in Trumbull College.