New Haven Police Chief Dean Esserman has agreed to take a paid leave of absence amid concerns about his conduct, according to the mayor's office.
New Haven Mayor Toni Harp released the following statement on the situation.
“Following my investigation of recent reports of conduct I consider unbecoming a public official, Chief of Police Dean Esserman and I have mutually agreed that he will take a 15 working-day, paid leave-of-absence, effective tomorrow,” New Haven Mayor Toni N. Harp said. “Beyond that, given the City’s policy and practice of honoring a presumption of confidentiality in personnel matters, there will be no further comment.”
The mayor of New Haven met with staff today about the police chief after the police union voted no confidence in Chief Esserman and reports that he allegedly berated a waitress and caused a disruption at a New Haven restaurant.
The New Haven Police Union expressed disappointment in the decision. Sgt. Rich Miller of the union's executive board issued the following statement:
"The Union is disappointed with the weak stance of Mayor Harp given Chief Esserman what amounts to a 15 day paid vacation. This is a slap in the face to the hard working officers of the New Haven Police who are the true faces of community policing. We are truly disappointed in the Mayor for once again enabling this bad behavior to continue in the future and it will given the chiefs history. This only served to lower the morale of the police department to a even lower level then it was before the no confidence vote."
New Haven taxpayers agreed that the punishment didn’t go far enough.
“He doesn’t have anything else to do he’s on paid leave, plus he’s getting paid money from us tax payers. That’s not right in anyway,” said Emilio Cuccinielo.
Assistant Chief Anthony Campbell will be acting chief during Esserman's absence.