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Connecticut News

An international police group will take part in Bridgeport's chief search

Bridgeport Police Chief Armando "A.J." Perez leaves the Brien McMahon Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse out a back door on Thursday in Bridgeport, Conn. Perez was arrested Thursday on federal charges that he rigged the police chief hiring process.
Jessica Hill
/
Associated Press
Bridgeport Police Chief Armando "A.J." Perez leaving the Brien McMahon Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse out a back door on Nov. 18, 2021 in Bridgeport, Conn. Perez was arrested on federal charges that he rigged the police chief hiring process.

Bridgeport's last search for a permanent police chief ended in scandal. Former chief A.J. Perez was convicted of rigging his own hiring process and sentenced to a year in federal prison. Perez was an ally of Mayor Joe Ganim, who himself spent seven years in federal prison before winning re-election.

Jessie Lee with the International Association of Police Chiefs said this time will be different.

“We want to make sure that the process itself, there is no issues or concerns about integrity," Lee said. "We are here and we have been doing this for many years, myself personally for over 20 years.”

The association said it would evaluate all candidates to make sure they meet the minimum requirements for the job. This had been an issue during the hiring of Perez, who didn’t have a college degree.

The city will hold two community forums Thursday and Friday night before the application process opens later this month. The forums are set for:

  • June 2: Central High School at 6 p.m.
  • June 3: Mertens Auditorium on the former University of Bridgeport Campus at 1 p.m.

Officials say they’ll present three candidates to Ganim in September.