Names of NHPD top cop finalists leaked

New Haven

News 8 has learned from multiple sources the names of at least four finalists said to be in the running to be New Haven‘s next top cop.  

Among them is former NHPD Asst. Chief Thaddeus Reddish.  He told News 8’s Mario Boone by phone he’s excited to even be considered.  Reddish currently serves as chief of security for New Haven Public Schools.

Kenny Howell retired as a lieutenant from NHPD, and later took a chief’s job in Millbury, Mass.  His time there ended in 2015 when the Board of Selectmen opted not to renew his contract.  He blamed it on his efforts to bring change to the small department.

Next, retired NHPD Asst. Chief John Velleca is on the list.  His time in the Elm City marked by a sexual harassment lawsuit by female officer, which ended with a $20,000 taxpayer settlement to the victim.  He later served as chief in Weare, NH, where he was slapped with a restraining order following domestic violence allegations by a female staffer in that department.  He eventually resigned.

Lastly, current Interim Chief Otoniel “Tony” Reyes is vying for the job permanently. Reyes has served on the NHPD force for nearly 20 years.  During that time he received numerous commendations, including the Medal of Honor and Medal of Valor awards. He came under fire internally after some rank and file complained he gave special treatment to ex-cop and close pal, Ray Tennant, who was locked up in 2018 following a SWAT stand-off at his home. 

Related: Metro-North job offer derailed after NHPS loses thousands of transcripts

Absent among the finalists, female candidates.

“We want someone who has experience and who has respect for the urban community,” said Dori Dumas, head of the New Haven chapter of the NAACP.  She said the group is closely monitoring the selection process.

“If, for some reason, we see a red flag we will let that be known; and if it’s someone that’s really shining through, we also share that as well,” Dumas concluded.

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