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Mayor has a new permanent pick for New Haven police chief

Office of New Haven Mayor
Mayor Justin Elicker, Assistant Police Chief Karl Jacobson, Acting Police Chief Regina Rush-Kittle, and Kelli Jacobson, daughter of Karl Jacobson.

New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker has nominated Karl Jacobson to be the next permanent chief of police for the city.

Jacobson has been with the New Haven Police Department for 15 years. He currently serves as assistant police chief, where he oversees patrol operations, the detectives division, SWAT, emergency services and school resource officers.

Elicker said Jacobson’s experience with the city will make him successful as a police chief.

“We have a person that I'm confident will become the next Chief of Police, who deeply deeply cares about our city and our community,” Elicker said. “I'm excited that he has a willingness to step up to this role. It's a great, great responsibility, but I am confident he will thrive.”

Before joining the force in New Haven, Jacobson worked as a police officer and sergeant with the East Providence Police Department in Rhode Island for nine years.

Elicker said Jacobson is also committed to his home of New Haven. After an 18 year-old was shot and killed last week, Jacobson said he spent the rest of the week on South Genesee Street to talk to residents and worked on how to rebuild the community.

“He earned this job,” Elicker said. “There were some highly qualified people that applied for this job… He shined above the rest.”

Jacobson said, “To the community, I'm going to be there for you. It doesn't matter what time of day or night. I'm going to be there for you.”

He thanked Elicker, former interim Police Chief Renee Dominguez, and the city Board of Alders for their consideration. Dominguez retired from the role earlier this month after a judge forced her to step down, saying she overstayed her interim position. She was denied the permanent position by the Board of Alders in December.

“To the officers, I am very proud to lead this department,” Jacobson said. “This is a very good department. I was told a long time ago as a supervisor, you just get what your officers need so they can do their job and to make them better. That's what I'm going to do for this police department to the best of my ability.”

Jacobson’s name will be submitted to the Board for confirmation on June 6. Until then, Acting Police Chief Regina Rush-Kittle will continue to serve in the role. She will resume her job as the City’s Chief Administrative Officer once a permanent police chief is confirmed.

Natalie is a former news fellow with WSHU Public Radio.