By Juliemar Ortiz, New Haven Register
NEW HAVEN >> Police Chief Dean Esserman will be on paid leave following an incident at a local restaurant where he allegedly caused a disturbance a few weeks ago, Mayor Toni Harp said in a statement Monday afternoon.
“Following my investigation of recent reports of conduct I consider unbecoming a public official, Chief of Police Dean Esserman and I have mutually agreed that he will take a 15 working-day, paid leave-of-absence, effective tomorrow,” Harp said in the release. “Beyond that, given the City’s policy and practice of honoring a presumption of confidentiality in personnel matters, there will be no further comment.”
On Sunday, Harp said she was looking at imposing some form of discipline on Esserman, reacting to an incident that a witness told her occurred at Archie Moore’s restaurant on Willow Street.
The witness told Harp the chief berated a waitress about the service and caused a disturbance to the point where some patrons asked to be moved to another table.
“It is hard to believe these things happen. When he is with me, he is very respectful,” Harp said Sunday.
When she spoke to Esserman about the incident, Harp said “He was basically very contrite. He was very apologetic. He was very self-aware. His personal life has been difficult. He is in a position of transition.”
Given the pressures on him from the job and personal circumstances, Harp said it has been a tough time for him.
Sgt Rich Miller, New Haven Police Union Executive Board The Union is disappointed with the weak stance of Mayor Harp given Chief Esserman what amounts to a 15 day paid vacation . This is a slap in the face to the hard working officers of the New Haven Police who are the true faces of community policing . We are truly disappointed in the Mayor for once again enabling this bad behavior to continue in the future and it will given the chiefs history . This only serves to lower the morale of the police department to a even lower level then it was before the no confidence vote .