New police chief wants body cams for New Haven officers

New Haven Police Chief Anthony Campbell (WFSB)

The new New Haven police chief said he was out with his family having brunch over the weekend when he learned he would be chosen to lead the city’s police force.

New Haven Police Chief Anthony Campbell will soon get to remove the “interim” tag from his title.

"It’s a myriad of emotions, I'm very excited,” Campbell said.

As for his priorities when it comes to leading the department, he has a few, including body cameras.

"When she (Mayor Toni Harp) called and told me I was the selection, I really felt humbled and eager,” Campbell said.

After being New Haven's top cop for the last ten months, first in an acting role, and then on an interim basis, Campbell can officially make the office, his home.

"I’m very excited to start implementing some of the ideas and really developing our leadership here,” Campbell said.

He got to New Haven in the early 1990s and attended Yale University.

He had his sights set on becoming a Jesuit priest, but in his second year in the Elm City, he met his future wife.

Still looking for a way to serve, in 1998 he joined the police department, working his way up the ranks.

"I saw a poster on the side of a bus that said, ‘police others and you would have others police you’ and that resonated with me, with my spirit and I said this is what I want to do,” Campbell said.

Campbell was one of three finalists to replace former Chief Dean Esserman, who was forced to resign in September after allegedly berating a waitress at a New Haven restaurant earlier in the summer.

New Haven Mayor Toni Harp says she made her decision on Friday after a final interview with Campbell.

"Any one of them would have been a great police chief, but what I liked about Chief Campbell was his ability to speak across multiple populations, to really show this commitment to the idea of service as it relates to protecting, and that's how I made my final decision,” Harp said.

Campbell says priorities include a family justice center in New Haven to combat the rise in domestic violence, a union contract for officers, and continuing with the community policing model while being more transparent, and he says that starts with body cameras.

"It’s been proven that when officers have body cameras, it really does make it a level playing field both for officers and members of the public,” Campbell said.

In a message to the Elm City, Campbell said he wants the community to play a part.

"We can't do this job, without the community. The more we collaborate, the more we communicate, the more we see one another, the more we can make sure this community is safer and healthier for everyone to live, work, be educated, on a daily basis,” Campbell said.

The mayor's pick needs to get approved by the Board of Alders.

While they're still ironing out the details with the time and location, Chief Campbell will be officially sworn in on Thursday, June 1.

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