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Police department defends officer with gang associations

NEW HAVEN  — A Connecticut police department is defending the hiring of an officer who was identified in background checks as someone who associated with known gang members and displayed gang-affiliated hand signals.

New Haven police in a release say the discovery was made during the officer’s employment with Connecticut’s Department of Correction and during a background check as he went through the process to become a city officer.

The officer’s name was not released.

Chief Otoniel Reyes said the officer underwent a “laborious and intensive background check, psychological examination, drug test and polygraph test.”

Former Chief Anthony Campbell did not think the officer was a suitable candidate for hire, but the Board of Police Commissioners approved the hire.

Reyes said the officer is currently a member of the department in good standing.

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