A former New Haven Police Department assistant police chief has been named the new deputy chief of the .
Mayor Daryl Finizio announced today that Peter Reichard was chosen over 29 other applicants. Finizio said he considered the appointment to be the final step in a restructuring of New London’s police and fire departments.
“Mr. Reichard was the highest endorsed candidate by the Connecticut Chiefs, our chief, and the ,” said Finizio. “And I’m profoundly impressed personally by the discussions that I’ve had with Mr. Reichard about his approach to community policing, approach to internal investigations, and I believe firmly that he will bring a profound sense of honor and integrity to our department.”
Reichard said he looks forward to the restructuring process, including “working on reducing crime through the city, through some of the different methods we’ve tried in different parts of the country and in the city of New Haven.”
Receive updates to this story and other breaking news in your inbox or smartphone by signing up for our newsletter here
Experience and departure from New Haven
Reichard served 22 years on the New Haven Police Department, including eight years as a patrol officers and four years as a sergeant. He also served as a lieutenant, officer in charge of the ID-Net crime analysis team, administrative lieutenant to the office of the chief of police, officer in charge of the Family Services Division, and chief of staff for the Investigative Services Division.
Reichard was promoted to assistant chief of police in September of 2008 and put in charge of investigations, according to the New Haven Register. He retired on Feb. 1, 2010. A month later, Reichard received a bachelor of science degree in criminal justice from Charter Oak State College.
The New Haven Register reports that Reichard's retirement came three days after former Chief James Lewis relieved him of duty due to concerns over his management style. The paper said a detective filed a complaint alleging that Reichard had threatened him over his attire, and that Reichard told the Register’s police reporter in an e-mail that he would arrest him if the reporter contacted him again.
Reichard said today that he did write to the reporter but did not threaten him.
“There were investigations into those two incidents, and they found nothing,” he said.
Finizio said Reichard “retired under long circumstances with no blemishes on his record.” He said he also contacted New Haven officials about the matter and that they did not have any reservations about Reichard.
Since retiring from the department, Reichard has been the vice president of corporate protective services for Bank of America.
Hiring process and restructuring
The deputy chief’s position has been vacant since Jan. 4, following Finizio’s decision to . Finizio said the decision was part of a restructuring of the police department’s administration and not based on Segar’s performance. Segar had 25 years of law enforcement experience and served in the Army during Desert Storm, according to his law office’s website.
Finizio said that following the determination that the city faced a projected three-year , the city implemented a hiring freeze on non-essential employees. He said the positions considered essential were the deputy police chief, deputy fire chief, tax assessor, and one of two captains’ positions left vacant by the .
The Connecticut Police Chiefs Association vetted the applicants in March, following a public posting of the position on Feb. 3. Reichard received a “highly recommended” rating and the association recommended five other top candidates as well.
Police Chief Margaret Ackley and Personnel Coordinator Bernadette Welch interviewed three candidates on April 10. Finizio interviewed Reichard on April 13 and offered him the job. Reichard accepted and gave his notice to Bank of America on Friday, the same day employment terms were settled.
An examination day has been set for May 24 as part of the process to fill one of the vacant captain’s positions. However, Finizio said he considers Reichard’s hiring as a final step in the restructuring of New London’s public safety departments. In addition to Reichard, he noted , Capt. Steve Crowley of the New London Police Department, and and of the .
“I have total confidence that this is the team we need in place for the management of these two vital departments,” said Finizio.
The city is currently in the midst of setting the fiscal year 2013 budget. The police budget has been , but no figure was adopted. The department’s funding will come up again for discussion at 5 p.m. on .
Finizio said it is possible that councilors could choose to cut funding for the position, but said he would consider such a move a “profound mistake.” He said he also plans to meet with Council President Michael Passero, chairman of the Finance Committee, and Council President Pro Tempore Wade Hyslop, chairman of the Public Safety Committee, on the issue.
“The budget process is ongoing, but I believe there are other areas where we can make responsible cuts without jeopardizing public safety,” he said.
Finizio said these could include the , whose services he feel could be covered by other local police departments in the coming fiscal year for a savings of $77,000 plus about $23,000 in ancillary costs. However, Finizio said he budgeted for the K-9 program in his budget proposal and that the Finance Committee will have final say on whether or not to cut that funding.
The budget process also allows Finizio to use a line item veto or full veto, which the City Council can override by the vote of six councilors.