NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – New Haven city officials have announced that Interim Police Chief Renee Dominguez has withdrawn her nomination to be permanent chief.
She held a 2:30 p.m. press conference Friday to talk about her decision, which comes after the New Haven Board of Alders voted to reject the nomination on Monday night.
“I am disappointed. Disappointed that I don’t get to lead this department as a permanent chief,” Dominguez said.
City officials said Dominguez will stay in the role until a permanent chief is selected.
Dominguez said she decided to withdraw her name for consideration after talking with family and friends.
Dominguez has been acting chief in New Haven since June 2021. She was the first woman elected to be interim chief of the police department.
She said opposition to her becoming chief was about politics.
“To be able to stand there and be the first permanent chief and not come to fruition when the mayor’s appointment, it is disappointing, disappointing to women. I don’t want to say it is because I was a woman. It would have been amazing, would have been historic,” Dominguez said.
There was set to be a second vote by the Board of Alders, where Mayor Justin Elicker said he would be submitting Dominguez for nomination again.
“I’m incredibly thankful for Chief Dominguez’s interest in the position of permanent Police Chief and participation in the confirmation process. The Chief approached the confirmation process with dignity, positivity and integrity – engaging the alders and responding to questions asked. Chief Dominguez has been a strong leader over these recent months while she has served as Acting Chief and shown her commitment to the City of New Haven over her nearly twenty years of service to our city. She has been a champion of important initiatives, such as rebuilding the Police Department and doing so in a way that recognizes our city’s diversity as well as working to launch the community crisis response team. The City of New Haven is truly richer for her service. In light of Chief Dominguez withdrawing from consideration, we will begin a search process in order to identify the next leader of the department. I’ve asked Chief Dominguez to stay on in her acting role until that process is complete. I have every confidence that she will continue to be an able steward of the department during that time. It is my goal to have a new Police Chief in place by the early Spring.”New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker
Dominguez had a message for policewomen in the city and around the state who might be discouraged by the turn of events.
“Continue doing the hard work that you do. Sometimes you have to work twice as hard,” Dominguez said.
Elicker said he has asked Chief Administrative Officer Regina Rush-Kittle to head the recruitment process.
Details about the recruitment process will be forthcoming, according to city officials.