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New Chief Takes Over Troubled Department
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Come July, New Haven will have a new police chief at the helm.

James Lewis will take over for former Police Chief Francisco Ortiz and fulfill the 18 months remaining of his term. New Haven’s police department has been rocked by scandal in the past year, following an FBI corruption probe that led to the arrest of three narcotics officers. An independent research organization was brought in to recommend changes within the department.

Lewis will be in charge of implementing those recommendations. New Haven mayor John DeStefano says Lewis’ biggest challenge is also his biggest asset.

"He’s not from the New Haven department. So he has a wealth of experiences of how other agencies have conducted their business. And he’s new. And you know, sometimes, human nature is such that we don’t always feel comfortable with new."

Lewis comes to New Haven from the small town of Grand Chute, Wisconsin. But he’s also led police departments in larger cities like Green Bay, Wisconsin and Pomona, California, placed with challenges similar to those in New Haven. He’ll focus on improved accountability for narcotics investigations, reducing violent crime and the creation of an anti-truancy program.