Mayor announces that Commander Paul Pazen will be new Denver Police Chief

Posted at 3:25 PM, Jun 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-28 19:26:20-04

DENVER — Mayor Michael Hancock on Thursday announced that Commander Paul Pazen will be the next Denver Police Chief and will replace Robert White.

Hancock made the announcement during a press briefing Thursday afternoon. 

Pazen, who has served 24 years in law enforcement, was chosen by a committee of city, police and community leaders and was initially among 22 applicants who were eventually narrowed down to five finalists after a series of community meetings.

Hancock called his decision a long and arduous one, "because we had so many phenomenal candidates in which to choose from.”

"Paul was chosen because he proposed innovation — and he is innovative. Because he proposed being collaborative — and he is a collaborator," Hancock said of Pazen before introducing him during Thursday's briefing. 

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. 

“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.”

Pazen said he would like to build on what he called Chief White's policy of community policing. 

"My passion is to use innovative and collaborative approaches to build on this very strong foundation that the chief has laid for us,” Pazen said. “It’s our turn to raise the bar and serve this community in preventing, and when we get there we’re going to raise the bar again."

Prazen's appointment comes about two months after White announced his retirement, which was just weeks after Hancock announced White wouldn’t be disciplined after a pair of administrative reviews of his role in a 2017 car crash and a public records spat with the former district attorney.

Hancock praised White for his six-plus years of work in the department, stating "Chief White you did not let us down."