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    Friday, August 19, 2022

    Wright reinstated as New London police chief after investigation

    Chief Brian Wright says a few words during during the swearing-in ceremony for an officer recruit on Sept. 8, 2021, in the lobby of the New London Police Department. He has been reinstated on Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021, as chief of the New London Police Department after he was placed on leave during an investigation. (Dana Jensen/The Day)

    New London — Mayor Michael Passero announced Thursday afternoon that the independent investigation into allegations made against Police Chief Brian Wright while Wright was captain has been completed, and he reinstated Wright to full duty.

    "I'm very, very glad to have him back," Passero said. "I remained confident that he would be cleared, and he's just an incredibly important member of the team, and the whole team is glad to have him back on board."

    The mayor had placed Wright on administrative leave with pay on Oct. 6, pending an investigation from an outside legal investigator regarding a complaint received that day. The administration had not previously said the investigation pertained to Wright's time as captain.

    The mayor's office shared a copy of a partially redacted letter that Michael J. Rose, managing partner of the law firm Rose Kallor LLP, wrote to city attorney Jeffrey Londregan on Wednesday.

    Rose advised Londregan that he completed his investigation and concluded: "Then Captain Wright did not sexually harass (redacted) as that term is defined under law" and "There is no evidence at all to support the contention that Captain Wright 'retaliated' against (redacted) through his adverse findings in the (redacted) Investigation."

    Neither Wright nor Rose responded to requests for comment Thursday. The Day has a pending Freedom of Information request for the complaint that prompted the investigation into Wright and the report from the investigation.

    Passero initially said he expected the investigation to last two weeks, but he said Thursday it "took longer than we anticipated" because of "the number of people that the investigator interviewed." He said his office was involved in trying to get some of the interviews set up.

    The mayor said Rose talked to him Wednesday to give him the results of the investigation but didn't go into much detail, and he expects to get an executive summary from Rose "as soon as he has it written up."

    As for the chief being reinstated, Passero said he notified Wright personally and the chief immediately took charge of the department again. He said Wright is "pleased to be back where he should be, and anxious to get back to work."

    Neville A. Brooks, a retired deputy chief of the Hartford Police Department, has been serving as interim superintendent of police while Wright was on leave. Passero said Thursday he's evaluating Brooks' position and will have more on that in the future.

    The mayor said he's "laser focused" on building trust in the police department.

    "Now that Chief Wright's leadership is back in place, you're going to see changes, and we're discussing measures to rebuild that trust with the community," Passero said. He declined to provide more information but said there would be details "in the very near future about some of the stuff that we're talking about doing."

    Wright was sworn in as chief on July 14 after nearly 27 years with the department, making him the city's first Black police chief.


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