One-on-One with New Haven’s interim police chief

New Haven

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Chief Anthony Campbell was in charge of the patrol division back in July, when he was promoted to fill the void of interim chief.

The Yale graduate and New Haven Police veteran looks forward to guiding the department into the next generation.

During an interview Wednesday with News 8, Interim New Haven Police Chief had to pause several times to waive and speak as people passed by yelling his name. He’s a man of the people and that’s exactly the image he tried to cultivate over nearly 20 years with the New Haven Police Department. It’s also how he wants fellow officers to interact.

“They’ve got to become a part of this community,” Interim Chief Campbell said. “They’ve got to talk to people. Got to be the most approachable people out here.”

Campbell steps in to fill the role after the controversial departure of ex Chief Dean Esserman, who’s reported short temper ended his tenure after five years. Campbell’s glad the uncertainty is now over, and the department can move forward.

“A paramilitary organization does not operate well with uncertainty,” Campbell said. “We need definitive direction. So I wish the circumstances had been different.”

Barbara Fair is a long-time community activist in New Haven, and said Chief Campbell has her full support moving forward. She calls him a breath of fresh air.

“He’s a very open man,” Fair said. “He’s compassionate. He’s thoughtful and listens to people.”

Community policing fundamentals will remain in place under Chief Campbell. He actually wants to kick them up a notch, saying all police work is based on information and connections.

“You can have a police chief come and go as long as you’re determined to maintain that philosophy of community policing and make sure it’s implemented properly, you can continue with it.”

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