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EXCLUSIVE: New Haven's Acting Police Chief will not vacate position as directed by judge

A State Superior Court judge's interpretation of the New Haven charter resulted in him ruling Dominguez should have vacated the position on December 31.

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — City officials said yesterday they will appeal a Superior Court judge's ruling that requires Acting New Haven Police Chief Renee Dominguez to vacate the position due to a charter violation. But Dominguez said, on the advice of City attorneys, she's not going anywhere and that resulted in a response from the plaintiffs in the case Tuesday.

Even though her title is Acting Chief, Renee Dominguez is the third chief to lead the department in as many years. And stability is one of the reasons the Mayor wants her to remain in the role until a permanent chief is chosen.

RELATED: New Haven leaders against acting police chief's continuation

A State Superior Court judge's interpretation of the New Haven charter resulted in him ruling Dominguez should have vacated the position on December 31., after six months in the role. But the City contends the judge's ruling was narrow and disregarded certain parts of the charter.

"Such as the provision in the charter that indicates that department heads, which Chief Dominguez is one, or Acting Chief Dominguez is one, shall stay in office until their replacement is found and qualified," said attorney Patricia King, New Haven's Corporation Counsel.

While the deadline for applications for the permanent chief's position closes on May 9., Dominguez is on board with the City's decision to have her continue serving as they appeal.

"To make sure we are getting projects done, that we are focusing on things that are important to the community and important to the cops and I feel like I've done that successfully and I will continue to do that until I pass the torch off to somebody else," Dominguez said.

But the plaintiffs in this case, who include local New Haven minister Rev. Dr. Boise Kimber, are considering their options.

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"We can file an appropriate motion if hypothetically an appeal is filed and my clients will file a motion to terminate the automatic stay on appeal," said attorney Jerald Barber, the plaintiffs' lawyer.

If the stay is terminated, Dominguez would then have to vacate the role.

"For us to go from acting chief to acting chief to acting chief is not good for morale in the department," said New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker. "It's not good to ensure the continued safety of our city."

RELATED: Court says New Haven police chief must step down; city will appeal

"Mayor Justin Elicker is trying to overthrow the government in this city," said Kimber, contending Elicker is trying to, at the very least, massage the city charter.

The city has 20 days to appeal yesterday's decision by Superior Court Judge Michael Kamp.

Tony Terzi is a reporter at FOX61 News. He can be reached at tterzi@fox61.com. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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