Interim police chief in New Haven leaves position in wake of lawsuit

Last day for Acting Chief Renee Dominguez
Published: May. 13, 2022 at 11:57 AM EDT|Updated: May. 13, 2022 at 12:21 PM EDT
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NEW HAVEN, CT (WFSB) - After serving the Elm City for more than 20 years, New Haven’s interim police chief is hanging it up.

Friday was Chief Renee Dominguez’s last day with the department.

Dominguez joined the force as a 21-year-old, worked her way up through the ranks, and was eventually named acting chief last spring.

Mayor Justin Elicker named her as her his permanent pick to lead the department, but New Haven’s Board of Alders rejected the nomination.

Dominguez pledged to stay on until a new chief could be named, but a local pastor filed a lawsuit against the city and won. The pastor said she and the mayor violated the city charter by keeping her in the interim role for more than six months.

While the city promised to appeal, this week Dominguez announced Friday would be her last day. She said a big part of her reason for leaving was the men and women who serve under her.

With her two young daughters and husband by her side, she walked off police headquarters one last time.

“I’m truly overwhelmed, I didn’t expect all of this to happen.  I feel a lot of love, grateful for everybody who came out to support me,” Dominguez said. “Its been amazing to be able to work with these men and women and feel like you’re making a difference.”

“Every time I’m in the media, it causes uncertainty,” said Interim Chief Renee Dominguez, New Haven Police Department. “It’s tumultuous for them and just it puts them back in a place of what’s going to happen to them, so I’m thinking about them when I’m making the early jump to leave because they do too good of a job to have to endure anymore.”

No she’ll turn her attention to her two little girls.

“I’m going to be a mom for a little bit. They’re excited that I get to pick them up from school and do all the activities,” Dominguez said.

She looks back and leaves a legacy.

“I hope that I’ve impacted somebody positively and that they take that and 20 years when they’re leaving they’re like you know what, I had a sergeant, a lieutenant, and chief who did this for me, because I have so many of those people,” she said.

Mayor Justin Elicker appointed City Chief Administrative Officer Regina Rush-Kittle as the next acting police chief for New Haven.

Friday was Chief Renee Dominguez’s last day with the department.