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New Haven clergy, community activists speak out about bringing diversity to New Haven Police Department

Clergy leaders said there is a lack of color in the New Haven police department's leadership for the first time in 28 years.

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Community leaders and activists prompted a call to action inside the First Calvary Baptist Church in New Haven on Wednesday, following the Board of Alders' decision to vote against Acting Police Chief Renee Dominguez as the NHPD's next permanent Chief. 

"The Board of Alders has stated that their major priority is community-based policing and violence in the city. And that is not being answered here in our community," explained Rev. Dr. Boise Kimber, the Greater New Haven Clergy Association leader. 

Kimber said there needs to be a national search for New Haven's next permanent police chief. 

"And maybe a person who understands community-based policing will come to this city and exercise and listen and deal with the people of this city," expressed Kimber. 

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Pastor John Lewis of Christ Chapel New Testament Church agreed and said the police chief must reflect the community. 

"You got to have people in a position that really understand what kind of environment that they're coming into," explained Lewis. 

For the first time in 28 years, he said there's a lack of color in the department's leadership. While he stressed that diversity is essential, he believes a chief that reflects the city's black and brown community is vital, especially now. 

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"When you can identify with your community by identifying culturally what your community and look like your community, guess what? The service is gonna be top-notch," Lewis passionately said. 

Dominguez said she is working to give the Board of Alders a clearer picture of her plans for the city, including a diversity plan for the department and the stargate to reduce crime. 

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"To resubmit my name, and I look forward to being able to work through with the older some of the concerns that they have that maybe didn't allow them to vote yes," said Dominguez.

Raquel Harrington is the race and culture reporter at FOX61 News. She can be reached at rharrington@fox61.com. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

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