Hamden Considers Public Input in Search for Next Chief

Hamden hasn’t had a full-time, permanent police chief since Chief Wydra stepped down last fall.

Residents in Hamden are getting their chance to weigh in on who will lead the town’s police department.

Over the next weeks, a public committee will hear their thoughts before making recommendations to town leaders. The first meeting was Wednesday.

Hamden hasn’t had a full-time, permanent police chief since Chief Wydra stepped down last fall.

A lot has happened since them and the mayor said he wants to make sure he hears the opinions of the citizens before deciding who the next chief will be.

“I think this is fantastic. This is exactly what our town needs and has needed for a long time,” Karlen Meinsen of Hamden said.

Meinsen offered up her thoughts on who should be the town’s next chief. She was among several dozen residents who came to the meeting.

“We know what’s going on. We know the problems. We know the issues. They need to know what we think and feel,” Meinsen said.

“I want the person to have integrity. That’s the number one thing he has to have,” said Sherri Roberts.

The Hamden Police Chief Community Input and Transparency Committee was formed by Mayor Curt Balzano Leng to give residents a say in who the town’s next top cop will be. The committee also comes in response to a series of protests following a shooting of an unarmed couple involving a Hamden officer.

“Made it more important to get that community input and to try to work on building that trust back,” Leng said.

The committee is set to submit a list of changes it wants made to the job description of police chief before applications for the position will be accepted.

Once there’s a list of candidates, the committee will review those and offer suggestions to the mayor, who says he’s leaving this is the hands of the committee, with the hope they can find the right person for Hamden.

“I want someone with top quality integrity. I want a strong leader and I do want someone that has a focus and experience in community policing. Beyond that I want to hear what the committee has to say and gives to me,” Leng said.

The final say on who will be the next chief will go to the mayor and then has to be ratified by the council.

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