Art Acevedo sworn in as Aurora’s latest interim police chief

Art Acevedo was sworn in as interim police chief Dec. 5, 2022. He’s the second temporary leader at the department’s helm since former chief Vanessa Wilson was fired in April. Photo by PHILIP B. POSTON/Sentinel Colorado

AURORA | Art Acevedo was sworn in and assumed the role of Aurora’s interim police chief on Monday, taking over a department that has struggled to find stable leadership since the last permanent chief was ousted in April.

Acevedo has led police departments in Austin, Houston and, most recently, Miami, where he worked for just half a year before he was fired and later sued the city for retaliation. He brings a reputation for being willing to help rescue troubled law enforcement agencies while being open to dialogue with his critics and calls for reform.

Also on Monday, departing interim chief Dan Oates was thanked for his service during a farewell ceremony. A few City Council members at the end of Monday’s meeting also acknowledged Oates. Dustin Zvonek said the departing chief had done “an incredible job of putting our police department back on their toes.”

Oates previously helmed the Aurora Police Department between 2005 and 2014. He was chosen to lead the department again temporarily after Vanessa Wilson was fired in April.

During Oates’ most recent tenure, the city tried and failed to find a permanent replacement for Wilson, narrowing a field of candidates down to a shortlist of finalists who either dropped out or were rejected by city leadership. Oates was barred by his contract from seeking the permanent job.

Following the failure of the first chief search, Oates said he contacted Acevedo — who he called an “extraordinary leader” and a “good friend” — about taking over as interim chief. Acevedo and the city publicly announced the move last month.

Acevedo has so far avoided questions about whether he would consider staying on as Aurora’s permanent police chief. Unlike Oates’ contract, Acevedo’s contract would not stop him from staying.

He didn’t make any comments at the Monday evening meeting.

Presiding municipal judge Shawn Day administered the oath of office to Acevedo during Monday’s council meeting.

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