Bass and Caruso differ on crime issues and policing — but not as much as many think
The New Haven Police Department’s chief of staff, Anthony Caruso, spoke with members of the City Council about their recent vote to cut the department’s two major police divisions in half.
A majority of the six-person council voted to cut the police departments from 23 to eight. Mayor Joe Ganim voted in favor, as did Mayor Toni Harp. Council President Pro-Tem Elizabeth Glidden, Council Speaker Joe Ganim Jr. and Councilman-at-large Scott R. Spencer voted against the move.
It was the second time in as many weeks that the City Council reduced the number of sworn officers the department employs or cut the size of its two divisions.
This time, however, it was Caruso who had the bigger issues to deal with.
Caruso, a longtime police career employee who was promoted from the ranks to become chief of staff in late 2010, has a history of being critical of the department, with some of his comments dating back 15 years. He has even been reprimanded within the department multiple times.
Caruso expressed his concerns over the department’s alleged poor performance, but he also has a history of being critical of former Mayor John DeStefano, a longtime friend and supporter.
In November 2003, Caruso made headlines after telling a group of about 100 City Council members that DeStefano should be “removed from his position.” At the time, Caruso was the police department’s first assistant chief of staff, and he said that DeStefano was “a very weak mayor.”
Caruso’s comments at the time, however, were met with opposition from City Manager Michael P. Hynes. According to Caruso, Hynes criticized him for his comments and then tried to defend him, calling him a “good police chief.”
In his role, Caruso has also been critical of the department and its leadership.
According to a memo he wrote from his position as assistant chief of staff to Hynes, Caruso wrote about the “poor leadership style” of then-chief of detectives James L. O’Neill and the poor job