Aurora will continue search for new police chief after two finalists drop out

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
Aurora’s acting Police Chief Daniel Oates, right, meets with community members at the Dayton Street Opportunity Center in Aurora on Thursday, June 9, 2022.

Aurora’s search for a new police chief will extend into its sixth month after one of its two finalists dropped out of contention. 

Former police chief Vanessa Wilson was fired by Aurora city officials in April for what they described as a failure to rebuild morale following the death of Elijah McClain and a subsequent state-ordered consent decree to reform the agency.

The city selected three finalists from 21 applications in September, one of which dropped out immediately. The remaining two included Scott Ebner, Deputy Superintendent of Administration for the New Jersey State Police, and David Franklin, the chief of staff at the Albuquerque Police Department in New Mexico. The pair was invited to meet with community members and leaders last week as part of the final selection process. 

Franklin withdrew his name from consideration after the three day trip ended, leaving Ebner as the sole finalist. The city announced Tuesday that it wants to continue its search instead of hiring the last man standing. 

“I greatly appreciate the time the finalists spent with our community,” Aurora City Manager Jim Twombly said in a statement. “Over the last week, I listened to a lot of feedback from community members and City Council members who want us to continue the search for a variety of reasons, and I support that. 

“We all – city management, the City Council and the community – want the best person for the job who will address crime in Aurora and lead the Aurora Police Department to be racially equitable, bias-free, culturally competent and responsive to all residents.”

Of the 21 applications received by the city, a third were submitted by women or people of color. Two of those applicants were selected for semi-finalist interviews but did not advance beyond that.

Acting police chief Daniel Oates took over the department in June and will fill the role until the search ends.