Denver Police Cmdr. Paul Pazen, a 13-year veteran of the force, will take over the state's largest police department. He's a Denver native and a former U.S. Marine who served during the Gulf War.
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Pazen moves into the job held by Chief Robert White, who announced his retirement in April, after leading the department since 2011. Pazen joined the department in 1995 after five years in the Marines.
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock made the announcement and said Pazen was "a clear top choice" of city officials and residents involved in the search. Pazen was one of five finalists interviewed. All of the finalists are members of the department's command staff.
"I trust that he will work to better unify the department, build stronger bridges with the community and hold our officers accountable," the mayor said.
White's efforts to reform the department earned him praise from some, but also a good share of criticism, including from within the department's ranks. He announced his retirement after he was cleared of misconduct from two internal investigations.
Pazen will become the second Latino Police Chief in Denver’s history, according to the department. He said he wants to build on the department's changes under White and add "precision policing" and wraparound services to minimize crime and violence.
He describes his work in this Denver Police Dept. YouTube video in 2012:
The Associated Press contributed to this report.