NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – – New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker named Assistant Chief Karl Jacobson as his nominee to lead the New Haven Police Department.
Jacobson is a 15-year veteran of the department. Before working in New Haven, he worked at the East Providence Police Department for nine years.
His nomination to the position is subject to confirmation by the New Haven Board of Alders. Until then, Acting Police Chief Regina Rush-Kittle will continue to serve in the role temporarily until a permanent police chief is confirmed, then she will resume her responsibilities as the city’s chief administrative officer.
“To the community, I’m going to be there for you,” Jacobson said at a press conference Monday. “It doesn’t matter what time, day or night. It doesn’t matter. I’m going to be there for you. And to the officers, I’m very proud to lead this department. This is a very good department.”
The announcement comes after former interim Renee Dominguez retired from the police department on May 13.
Elicker nominated Dominguez to be permanent chief, but the Board of Alders rejected the nomination because they felt she didn’t have a clear vision for the future of the department. Concerns were also raised about diversity, and Dominguez not representing the community the department serves.
In January, New Haven clergy members filed a lawsuit against the city and its leadership 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.
In April, a New Haven Superior Court judge ordered Dominguez to vacate the position according to the city charter. At the time, Elicker said the city could appeal the ruling in the case of Boise Kimber, et al. v. Renee Dominquez, and she would continue to lead the department during the appeal process.
Dominguez announced her retirement earlier this month, telling News 8 that she decided to retire early with the department in mind.
After a national search for a permanent police chief, Elicker said the city narrowed it down to 15 qualified applicants. The mayor said it was Jacobson who shined above the rest, complimenting his genuineness and commitment to the community.
“While he clearly has so many of the attributes that are important for success as a police chief, the thing that I am most impressed about is example after example of his genuineness, his commitment to the community,” Elicker said. “He shows up after hours, he knows people’s names in the community, whether they are victims of gun violence, he knows the perpetrators, he knows these members of our community.”
Elicker said he’s confident the Board of Alders will approve the nomination. He said he expects them to begin the review in early June, and it may take a month for the approval process to be completed.