renee dominguez

‘Not How My Story's Supposed to End': Dominguez Reflects on Retirement

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Acting New Haven Police Chief Renee Dominguez reflected on her career with the department Thursday, one day before she retires from the force.

She announced her retirement Tuesday, effective at the end of the day on Friday.

Hired at the age of 21, Dominguez has been with the New Haven Police Department for 22 years, rising through the ranks to become assistant chief and eventually was named acting police chief by Mayor Justin Elicker last summer.

Elicker later nominated her to become the city's permanent chief, but the New Haven Board of Alders rejected her nomination in December. She withdrew her name from consideration but remained acting chief.

A lawsuit filed by Rev. Boise Kimber and other local clergy members led to a ruling by a judge that New Haven was in violation of its charter by keeping Dominguez on as acting chief longer than six months.

It was a ruling Elicker disagreed with and vowed to appeal but Dominguez instead decided to retire.

"There's definitely a lot of emotions," Dominguez said Thursday. "Retirement is supposed to be something that you have a countdown for and you can't wait to go. In this situation -- obviously, it's different, right? Because I was hoping to be the permanent chief, so it does come with a lot of emotions."

She said she has been frustrated by the process and that she felt she was more than capable to lead the department.

"It's obviously not how you want it to go. This is not how my story's supposed to end."

Although she is not leaving on the terms she had hoped for, Dominguez said she has a lot to be proud of.

She says the men and women of the New Haven Police Department are the finest in law enforcement. She also cited a 73-percent drop in homicides this year compared to last year. New Haven's three homicides in 2022 are fewer homicides than in Hartford, Bridgeport, Waterbury, and neighboring Hamden, Dominguez said.

"In the end, I've had a wonderfully blessed, amazing career."

As she leaves the department she has been a part of for half of her life, Dominguez says she is unsure of what her next chapter will be. She wants to focus on being a mom to her two girls and knows it will be an adjustment to end a career she has cherished.

"It's going to be different to wake up not a police officer on Saturday."

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