Campbell named New Haven police chief by mayor

NEW HAVEN -- After nine months as New Haven's interim police chief, Anthony Campbell is Mayor Toni Harp's choice to succeed Dean Esserman, who left the department in early September. ​

Campbell has been with the New Haven Police Department for 19 years, but is a graduate of the Yale Divinity School.

"I was on track to be a Jesuit priest," said Campbell.

But law-enforcement had a large presence in his family. "With my mother having been a corrections officer at Riker's Island and yet my father was on the opposite side of the law," said Campbell. "He was in and out of jail, drug sales."

So, taking his mother's knowledge, his dad's experience and his compassion, he wanted to become a cop because of New Haven's focus on community policing.

"People expect a police officer to be a strong role model and a person that they should be able to come to no matter what the situation," added Campbell.

Body cameras for all New Haven officers by year's end remains a goal for both Campbell and Harp. However, both are making a family justice center a priority. It's essentially one stop shopping for victims of domestic violence, which is on the rise in the city.

Campbell described the make up of one of these safe havens

"You would have detectives. You would have prosecutors. You would have housing assistance. You would have an emergency shelter," he said.

"When I look at the murders last year, over a third of them were because of domestic violence," said said Harp, who noted she chose Campbell when, during a meeting with him last Friday, she learned just how dedicated to the New Haven Police Department he truly is.

"He actually took on three different jobs (within the department) and did them all at once," said Harp.

Campbell will be sworn in on June 1.

"There's a great sense of relief in many ways and a great sense of humility," Campbell said, with a smile.