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Aurora names three finalists for police chief job; one withdraws after announcement

Dan Oates has been interim chief since April
Posted at 2:17 PM, Sep 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-21 18:23:41-04

DENVER — The city of Aurora announced three finalists for the police chief position on Wednesday but one of them withdrew from consideration shortly after the announcement.

The three finalists were originally announced as Scott Booth, the chief of police in Danville, Virginia; Scott Ebner, a retired lieutenant colonel and Deputy Superintendent of Administration for the New Jersey State Police; and David Franklin, the chief of staff at the Albuquerque, N.M., Police Department.

But just a couple of hours after the announcement, city spokesperson Ryan Luby said Booth had withdrawn from the process. Luby said the city did not have more details on why but was contacting the recruiting firm to try to learn more.

"At this moment, the city will proceed with the two remaining finalists but may approach some of the original semi-finalists for reconsideration," Luby said.

There will be a three-day process that starts next week by which a finalist will be picked, according to the city.

On Monday, Sept. 26, the three will tour the Aurora Police Department and meet with officers and civilian employees. On Tuesday, they will be interviewed by a community panel, meet with members of the community, undergo a taped interview, and attend a meet-and-greet that is open to the public.

And on Wednesday, the three will interview with Mayor Mike Coffman and members of the Aurora City Council in groups, then with the city’s executive management team and department directors, according to the city.

Starting at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 21, members of the community will be able to submit questions that will be asked of the finalists. They can be submitted in English and Spanish by clicking on the individual links.

After the taped interviews are published on Sept. 27, community members will also be able to provide feedback on the interviews by clicking on this link. And the public meet-and-greet will be at the Aurora Municipal Center from 6 to 8 p.m. on Sept. 27.

Luby said the city manager is expected to pick the finalist “in the coming weeks” after the interview process and a background investigation. The pick would have to receive approval from the majority of the Aurora City Council.

The national search was conducted by Public Sector Search and Counseling, based in California, and focused on “recruiting a diverse pool of applicants at city management’s direction,” Luby said. The firm has done more than 40 police executive searches in large cities and in the metro area, including in Northglenn, Boulder, Thornton and Wheat Ridge.

Dan Oates has been the interim police chief in Aurora since late April, when he was picked for the position. He was the chief of police in Aurora from 2005 to 2014.

He took the interim position after the city fired Vanessa Wilson on April 6 — tasked with turning around the embattled department. He has seen some success.

Ebner worked for the New Jersey State Police for 27 years, starting as a trooper and working his way up to lieutenant colonel. He worked for the Cape Coral Police Department in Florida before that.

Franklin has been chief of staff for the Albuquerque Police Department for about a year and also serves as a law enforcement instructor. He was the assistant police chief at the University of Texas at Arlington Police Department and spent 25 years with the Texas Department of Public Safety before that – moving from a trooper up to captain. He is a Marine veteran.

Before Booth became the Danville police chief, he worked for the Transportation Security Administration as well as at the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority. He spent nearly 20 years before that with the Richmond Police Department, where he started his career. He is also a U.S. Army veteran.

Both Franklin and Ebner have graduated from the FBI National Academy, and all three finalists have degrees in criminal justice, as well as others.