NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — New Haven Acting Police Chief Renee Dominguez announced her last day on the job will be Friday.
She is retiring on Saturday.
“It’s politics not performance that’s being attacked. I have never been attacked because I have not performed. The police department has always performed to its highest, so it is just time to be able to allow the officers to continue to move forward,” Dominguez said.
Following her announcement Tuesday, New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker announced Regina Rush-Kittle as the next acting police chief for the city. Rush-Kittle, the city’s chief administrative officer, has a long career in law enforcement and the military.
Rush-Kittle will serve in the role temporarily until a permanent police chief is identified by the mayor and approved by the New Haven Board of Alders. The city says that search process is well underway with initial mayoral interviews set to begin this month.
Elicker said applications for the permanent police chief position closed on May 8.
The mayor said the city supported Dominguez and thought she was the right person for the job.
“I want to thank Acting Chief Renee Dominguez for her nearly twenty years of outstanding service in the New Haven Police Department and to the residents and City of New Haven. Chief Dominguez has been an exemplary leader and partner in City government and worked tirelessly to keep our residents, streets and city safe. Back in December of 2021, the Chief made clear she was going to retire and I wish her well and congratulate her on her trail blazing career. In Regina Rush-Kittle, we are fortunate to have another seasoned and trail blazing leader with both public safety experience and New Haven knowledge to step in and lead the Police Department as Acting Police Chief. I am confident that Regina Rush-Kittle will provide a steady hand and strong leadership for the New Haven Police Department and I’m grateful for her willingness to serve in this critical role until a permanent police chief is identified. I am also grateful to the men and women of the New Haven Police Department for their continued dedication, professionalism and partnership with the community.”New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker
All of this comes around two weeks after a New Haven Superior Court judge ordered Dominguez to vacate the position according to the city charter.
New Haven clergy members filed a lawsuit against the city and its leadership in January over how it handled the search for a new police chief. Clergy members claimed the city violated its charter by allowing Dominguez to remain in her position as acting police chief even after the Board of Alders rejected her nomination to become permanent chief.
The city had previously said it would appeal the ruling in the case of Boise Kimber, et al. v. Renee Dominquez, and said Dominguez would continue to lead the New Haven Police Department during the appeal process. Elicker said he is disappointed it all came to this.
“She has shown in particular, over these recent months with political drama in the background, some people trying to undermine her, a poise and perseverance that I think all of us should strive to emulate,” Elicker said.
Once a permanent police chief is identified and approved by the Board of Alders, Rush-Kittle will resume her post as chief administrative officer. In the meantime, Deputy Chief Administrative Officer Rebecca Bombero will assume the duties of that position.
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