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Face the Facts: Controversy Surrounding Interim New Haven Police Chief

New Haven County reporter Kyle Jones reports on the controversy surrounding New Haven Interim Police Chief Renee Dominguez.

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There's a power struggle over the police department in one of Connecticut's biggest cities.

It's all about who should be New Haven police chief.

This week, a judge decided that the interim head of the department had to go, but the mayor disagreed.

So what's behind all of this? NBC Connecticut's New Haven reporter Kyle Jones breaks it down for us.

Mike Hydeck: "They've been very vociferous about this. But do we know why?"

Kyle Jones: "No, we don't. We don't know exactly why they say that she should not even be in the interim position. Now, this is a small group of clergy that lobbied against her formal appointment to the chief. So the Board of Alders listened and they turned down the nomination. So now she's here interim, so we know that she won't be the permanent chief. So it's not clear why they're pushing for her to be even be out of that position. Now, when they lobbied against her being the formal chief, they said they had concerns over crime and violence and the homicide rate. Under her leadership this year, the homicide rate is down to three. Last year, this time it was at nine, so the homicide rate is down and gun arrests are up. So there is work that the police department is doing under her leadership. So we're not sure exactly why they say that she should be out of the interim role. Now there is some history here. The City of New Haven was involved in a lawsuit. It was Ricci vs. De Stefano. And that went all the way to the US Supreme Court. And Boise Kimber, who is the head of this current lawsuit against Chief Dominguez's interim role, he was also named in that lawsuit. And that involved the hiring of Black officers in the New Haven Fire Department over white officers. And it went all the way as we said to the Supreme Court, and the city lost that role. So there is some history here with Boise Kimber being involved in some of what the politics of the city are. And we'll have to see how this one plays out."

Mike Hydeck: "And they get so complex. And the interesting thing about New Haven is the police chief position really has been a revolving door for more than a few years now. The last chief Otoniel Reyes left for a job at Quinnipiac, the chief before him, Anthony Campbell, is now at Yale, each of them really only in the chief job for a short period. Why is it such a challenge to keep that job filled? Do they say it's pay? Or is it benefits that they need, better of both?"

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Kyle Jones: "We don't really know. I think it's just a tough position. I think that New Haven, as we've mentioned, is a political city. And there's a lot of different players involved and a lot of different people to please at the same time. So I think that that role has been very difficult in the last couple of years, to find someone who will stay there to hold up and to meet all of those different demands."

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