New Haven Police Union Vote No Confidence in Chief | NECN
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New Haven Police Union Vote No Confidence in Chief

A majority of New Haven Police Union members voted having no confidence in the chief on Thursday. (Published Friday, July 8, 2016)

The majority of the New Haven Police Union members voted having no confidence in the chief on Thursday.

On Wednesday, the union vice president said they were holding the no confidence vote because of Chief Dean Esserman's behavior, conduct and history. 

About 81 percent of the members at the meeting voted "no confidence" for Esserman, the vote being 170 to 42.

"Leadership in the police department is paramount, and we do not believe the current Chief Dean Esserman is the right leader for our department at this time and we're looking for the city administration to understand that, recognize that and move forward," Sgt. David Guliuzza and Elm City Local Vice President.

In a memo sent to  the mayor, the board of alders and the board of police commissioners, the union outlined several questionable incidents involving the chief from his time in New Haven, as well as his previous positions as the chief of police in Providence, Rhode Island, as well as his time with Metro-North Police.

“It is the prerogative of the police officers’ union to schedule votes on relevant topics as it sees fit and it seems such a vote by union members – this time, a non-binding referendum on Chief Esserman’s job performance – may take place Thursday.” Mayor Toni Harp's office released prior to the vote.

Her office later released another statement.

"I’m grateful to everyone in the New Haven Police Department for their service to the city and its residents, and for the public safety umbrella they provide. Likewise, I’m grateful to the subset that voted today for its input regarding police department command,” Mayor Harp said. “Crime statistics over the past five years – and for the first half of this year – underscore a steady, across-the-board decrease in the most serious forms of urban violence and for that I’m extremely proud of everyone responsible.”

“In New Haven, the mayor is the appointing authority for the police chief, and the chief, like other administration officials, is subject to a performance evaluation each year and serves at the pleasure of the mayor,” Mayor Harp added.

“In New Haven, the mayor is the appointing authority for the police chief, and the chief, like other administration officials, is subject to a performance evaluation each year and serves at the pleasure of the mayor,” Harp added. 

The chairman of the board of police commissioners also released a statement and said crime has declined over the last five years.

“With oversight of police administration and operations, our board is results-oriented, responsible for the framework and necessary resources to yield positive results in terms of public safety,” Tony Dawson, chairman of the New Haven Board of Police Commissioners, said in a statement. “The NHPD has followed up five consecutive years of steady decline in crime statistics with additional decreases in the first half of 2016, in homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft – results any city would be gratified to see.”

Esserman left his position in Providence after the police union there voted no confidence in him.

Union leadership said they are concerned about Esserman's treatment of officers and that morale is low within the department.

They also said the chief hasn't been proactive enough in pushing the city to invest in new patrol cruisers, which they claim is a public safety concern. 

The union is currently citing pending litigation for five cases against the chief and city is superior and federal courts. 

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