NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — The City of New Haven has a new police chief. Karl R. Jacobson was sworn in on Wednesday, ushering in a new era for the department.
This comes after the Board of Alders voted unanimously to promote him.
News 8’s Eva Zymaris spoke one-on-one with Jacobson after he was sworn in to discuss his goals for the department.
Mere minutes into his new role, Jacobson couldn’t wait to get right to work.
“We’re doing some things good, but we have to get back to the basics. I talk about this all the time, procedural justice. It’s a way of getting legitimacy with the community. All you have to do is give someone a voice, listen to them, treat them with dignity, be neutral in your decision-making, and build trust,” Jacobson said.
He says that is one of his top priorities. He also hopes to diversify his command staff, address officer retention, combat crime, and work on community engagement.
“I hope we can reduce crime. We can do it together with the community,” Jacobson said.
One way to do that, he says, is by bringing back the walking beat.
“When we had a homicide, our walking beats would come in and give us more information than the detectives. That’s a big gap for every division within the police department,” Jacobson said.
In recent weeks, Jacobson has led the department through challenging times after 36-year-old Richard “Randy” Cox, a New Haven resident, became seriously injured while in police custody. Jacobson vowed there will be transparency and accountability during his tenure, righting wrongs, and putting policies in place to ensure incidents like this never happen again.
“We’re not going to say that things were done right. We’re going to change things,” Jacobson said.
Change is what community leaders and activists are looking to see.
“We will be working with him to look at different policies and how police officers treat certain ethnicity groups,” said Rev. Boise Kimber, First Cavalry Baptist Church in New Haven.
New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker says he’s confident Jacobson is the right person for the job.
“He’s risen to the occasion, he’s someone with an open heart, a very thoughtful mind, and a steady hand. And that’s what you want to see in the police chief,” Elicker said.
New Haven police are graduating 20 cadets from the academy on Wednesday night. Jacobson says he spoke with the graduates on Tuesday, sharing those hopes with them.
He says he’s excited for this new era to begin.