New Haven mayor Toni Harp said she’s not inclined to remove Police Chief Dean Esserman anytime soon, despite having placed the chief on a three-week leave after an incident during which he reportedly berated a waitress at a local restaurant.
The mayor has called that behavior “unbecoming a public official.” It's the second time she's publicly reprimanded Esserman for his behavior with New Haven residents.
Still, speaking on WNHH radio, Harp said that before Esserman arrived in New Haven, there were 34 murders in one year.
Then, the next year, there were 17.
“We’ve gotten down to below ten since he’s been here. We have seen crime reduced across every measure that is measured by the federal government,” Harp said.
Harp said that in the case of Esserman, she believes in “progressive discipline.”
“One of the things that I can’t afford to have happen is for our crime to go up, for us to lose our babies on the streets. That, to me, is the most important thing,” she said.
She said her expectation is that Esserman's outbursts will stop. But the mayor acknowledged that there could come a point at which she’d need to find a new police chief.
Listen to Harp's comments below.