Connecticut leaders selected the state\u2019s first inspector general on Monday, jumpstarting a new office that will be responsible for investigating highly publicized police shootings and deciding whether to prosecute officers for their use of force. The state\u2019s Criminal Justice Commission voted unanimously to appoint Robert Devlin, a former judge and prosecutor, to the position, which will also be responsible for scrutinizing deaths in the state prisons. Devlin, who currently chairs the Connecticut Sentencing Commission, beat out three other candidates for the job, attorneys Moira Buckley, Ryan McGuigan and Liam Brennan. \u201cI\u2019ve seen a lot. I\u2019ve learned a lot,\u201d Devlin said of his long career. \u201cI think I\u2019ve gained some discernment and judgment.\u201d The vote was 5-0. Chief State\u2019s Attorney Richard Colangelo Jr., who sits on the commission, was ineligible to vote for the candidates, and fellow commissioner Dwayne Betts was not able to attend the hearing. The hiring decision is more than a year in the making and is part of a larger push by state leaders to increase trust in the state\u2019s criminal justice system, especially among Connecticut\u2019s minority communities. The state legislature created the inspector general position as part of a sprawling police accountability bill that was passed in 2020 following the high-profile killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. This wasn\u2019t the first group of candidates the Criminal Justice Commission reviewed for the job, which pays roughly $167,000 annually. They also interviewed two career prosecutors last year but deadlocked during that vote. In response, the legislature voted earlier this year to expand the pool of candidates and cast a wider net for the position. The job is likely to be controversial, as several people noted during the hearing Monday. One member of the commission said the position is likely to be a thankless one, but it is also meant to usher in a new era in Connecticut. In the past, it was up to Connecticut\u2019s 13 state\u2019s attorney offices \u2014 the local prosecutors \u2014 to review cases in which officers shot someone or oversaw the death of someone in their custody. But that setup has come under fire across the country in recent years because of the close relationship that often exists between police officers and prosecutors, who need to work together to investigate other crimes. Over the past two decades, there have been at least 76 investigations into police shootings or deaths at the hands of police in Connecticut. Only one of those investigations led to charges against a police officer, and in that single case, the officer was not convicted. Community advocates hope that record will change once the inspector general\u2019s office is up and running. The job was meant to inspire public trust in the process of investigating police shootings and provide a degree of separation between state and local police and the person who are tasked with holding them accountable. Corey Betts, the chair of the criminal justice committee for the Connecticut chapter of the NAACP, said the inspector general was needed to \u201cadd a major piece of accountability\u201d to the state\u2019s criminal justice system. Betts and other members of the public who spoke on Monday want to see the inspector general shake up the status quo, as the legislature intended, they said. \u201cWe have to get this right,\u201d Betts told the commission. \u201cThe person you choose will reflect how serious you are about reform.\u201d The questions that members of the Criminal Justice Commission asked the candidates during the hearing Monday showcased the importance they placed in the new role. It also highlighted the tightrope the new office will need to walk in the coming years. Several commissioners emphasized the apprehensions that members of the public and police have about the new office and its duties. Scott Murphy, a retired state\u2019s attorney who also sits on the commission, asked each candidate how they would deal with the fear among police who believe the inspector general will be pressured to issue charges against officers, even if the evidence is questionable. By contrast, other commissioners asked the candidates \u2014 all of whom are white \u2014 how they would deal with outreach to communities of color and help convince those portions of the public to trust in the system. \u201cI would not even say it is to restore faith, because some people have never had any faith in the criminal justice system,\u201d said Andrew McDonald, a Supreme Court justice and commissioner. In response to those questions, most of the candidates emphasized the separation they would place between themselves and police and their refusal to make decisions based on public pressure or political influence. During his interview, Devlin simply pointed out the rift that exists in American society when it comes to policing and trust in law enforcement. Some members of the public, he said, believe police can do no wrong. Others believe police do nothing right. The inspector general\u2019s office, he said, needs to operate in the middle of those two camps dispensing justice based on the facts of each case. \u201cIt\u2019s all about evidence,\u201d he said. Completely avoiding public pressure will be difficult, however, for a position that everyone understands will be the focus of \u201cintense public interest.\u201d That\u2019s why the commissioners also asked each candidate specifically about when and how they would release videos and other evidence from police shootings, like autopsy reports. The commission also questioned the candidates about whether they would hold press conferences and speak with community members and victims\u2019 family members following police shootings. All of the candidates voiced support for public transparency but said they would only release information if it would not inhibit their job as a prosecutor. Everyone at the selection hearing also seemed to recognize the power and influence that the first inspector general will hold. As the first person to fill the position, Devlin will set the tone for the office and will get to test its powers and push its limits, if he chooses. The inspector general, for instance, will be the only state prosecutor in Connecticut to have subpoena power, which could be used to force officers to testify about a police shooting they observed. Most of the candidates agreed with the use of that power and said they would hold officers and other witnesses accountable if they refused to comply with a subpoena. One serious question that divided the candidates, however, was whether the inspector general should have the power to reopen older cases involving police shootings and bring charges against those who avoided indictments during previous investigations. Buckley, who is a defense attorney, and McGuigan, who is a principal attorney at Rome McGuigan, P.C., both suggested that could be a possibility, had they been chosen for the job. But Devlin said he was unsure that reopening older cases was within the power of the inspector general\u2019s office.