NEW HAVEN — A New Haven police officer was identified as someone who associated with known gang members and displayed gang-affiliated hand signals, a background check of the unnamed officer found, according to a Friday news release from the police department.

This discovery was made during his employment with Connecticut’s Department of Corrections, police said. It was also uncovered during an extensive background check as he went through the process to become a city police officer.

The department said it sent out the news release following social media reports circulating regarding the topic — seemingly sparked by a WTNH story on the matter.

Chief Otoniel Reyes said the officer in question — who was not named by the department — applied for a position in the New Haven Police Department and “subsequently went through the rigorous process, which included successful completion of a physical ability assessment, written examination, as well as the oral boards.”

Reyes said the officer was subjected to a “laborious and intensive background check, psychological examination, drug test and polygraph test, among the plethora of requirements needed before entering the police academy.”

At the time, then-Police Chief Anthony Campbell “did not believe the officer to be a suitable candidate for hire.” The news release said during the presentation of the officer to the Board of Police Commissioners, the officer’s full background investigation was revealed.

“The Board of Police Commissioners disagreed with the recommendation of Chief Campbell and moved the officer forward for hire,” the news release said.

Reyes said the officer is currently a member of the department in good standing.