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Mayor Hancock Names Paul Pazen as Denver’s New Police Chief

DENVER – Mayor Michael B. Hancock today introduced the new Chief of Police for the Denver Police Department (“DPD”). Commander Paul Pazen will take the helm as Chief Robert C. White concludes his career in policing here in Denver after 46 years of dedicated service.

“Paul Pazen has built a phenomenal reputation for being an innovator, collaborator and community-focused leader,” Mayor Hancock said. “Throughout his career, he has demonstrated a well-known passion for protecting and serving the people of Denver, and I trust that he will work to better unify the department, build stronger bridges with the community and hold our officers accountable. He will push to make this department better every day and he will do it in lock-step with the men and women of the department and the people of Denver.”

Pazen will become the second Latino Police Chief in Denver’s history. A Denver native, he has served the community for 24 years as a police officer, most recently leading Police District 1. During this time, he has served throughout the city, developing a deep understanding of the city and its people.

“My family has a lifelong commitment to service and there is no job I would rather have than to be a member of the Denver Police Department,” said Pazen. “I am truly grateful to the Mayor for this opportunity and look forward to leading the dedicated men and women of DPD.”

Six years ago, Mayor Hancock and Chief White implemented critical changes to ensure the people of Denver had a police department committed to long-lasting reforms and 21st Century policing. Through the leadership of Chief White, the department made community-centered changes focusing not just on fighting crime but preventing crime from occurring by working with neighborhoods and neighbors.

“The testament to Chief White’s indelible impact on the department is the deep bench of leadership he has developed, and Paul Pazen has been a rising star in the department who is one of the many results of that work,” Mayor Hancock said. “This was a very hard choice. I was blessed to be reminded of the outstanding individuals who lead this department. All five candidates are truly talented public servants who love this city and are loved by its people.”

Mayor Hancock relied on the collective and individual advice of many community members, including a diverse search committee that included three department officers and community activists. The city also hosted five community meetings as well as received input via emails and in-person meetings.

The search process was launched in May and led by Executive Director of Public Safety Troy Riggs who said, “The feedback we received from the community and the officers was clear that we needed to find a leader who has a deep commitment to the people of Denver,” said Riggs. “As someone who grew up in the city and has served the department for the past 23 years, Paul has what it takes to be successful as Denver’s next chief.”

The Search Committee, composed of 16 diverse community leaders who are trusted representatives of the community’s broad interests, synthesized the hundreds of voices who weighed in and advanced their perspective on behalf of the community to the Mayor.

The five candidates went through a rigorous interview process with two interview panels. First, interviews were held with the Search Committee including Councilmembers Kendra Black (Dist. 4) and Chris Herndon (Dist. 8). Second, candidates met with the Mayor and city leadership including the Independent Monitor Nick Mitchell and Councilman Paul Kashmann (Dist. 6).