Aurora looking to hire Art Acevedo as interim police chief

DENVER — The city of Aurora is looking to hire Art Acevedo as its interim police chief, Denver7 Investigates has learned.

Earlier this year, Acevedo filed a lawsuit against the city of Miami claiming he was wrongfully fired as Miami’s police chief in 2021 after just a few months on the job.

Acevedo can immediately take the interim position upon his appointment by the city manager if the two sides agree to move in that direction. Should he seek the permanent chief position, Acevedo would have to be confirmed by the Aurora City Council.

Aurora looking to hire Art Acevedo as interim police chief

Acevedo is reportedly meeting with city officials on Monday afternoon but there is not yet a formal commitment between the two sides, two sources told Denver7 Investigates.

Acevedo most recently worked as a CNN law enforcement analyst and an adviser with the body camera analytics company Truleo. Prior to that, Acevedo was hired as the chief of the Miami Police Department in April 2021 but was then fired that October.

In January, Acevedo filed a federal lawsuit against the city government, city manager and three city commissioners claiming they fired him for blowing the whistle on wrongdoing by city officials, as CNN reported.

He accused the three commissioners of trying to get his department to investigate their political enemies and interfered in an internal affairs investigation into an officer. One of the commissioners said the police union leadership had a vote of no confidence in Acevedo and claimed the relationship between the officers and the chief was “untenable.”

He was hired amid high praise from Miami’s mayor – who called Acevedo the “Tom Brady or the Michael Jordan of police chiefs” – after more than four years as the Houston (Texas) Police Department chief.

While in Houston, Acevedo called for police reform after the murder of George Floyd, who was originally from Houston, though he received heavy criticism himself for his department’s perceived lack of transparency of its own and low clearance rates for homicides. Acevedo also criticized misdemeanor bail reform efforts.

Acevedo worked as the chief of the Austin (Texas) Police Department from 2007 until he was hired in Houston. Prior to his time in Austin, he worked for California Highway Patrol from 1986 until 2007, moving his way up from a field patrol officer to the agency’s chief.

The interest from the city in Acevedo comes a little more than two months after it decided to scrap its last two finalists for the chief position and start the process over.

Dan Oates has been the interim chief of the department since this summer. He was picked as the interim chief after former chief Vanessa Wilson was fired in April for what the city manager called her failure to effectively manage the department.

City Manager Jim Twombly said in October that community members and City Council members wanted the city to continue the search and start over for “a variety of reasons,” which he said he supported.

“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,” Twombly said at the time.

The city of Aurora sent the following statement regarding its interest in Acevedo:

“We would certainly welcome someone of Art Acevedo’s caliber to lead the Aurora Police Department. He recently began discussions with city management about assisting us with the consent decree. During the discussions we asked him if he would consider applying for our interim police chief position. He has not committed to the job until he has had the opportunity to meet with city officials. Irrespective of the outcome, Mr. Acevedo will serve as a consent decree consultant for the city through his consultancy, the Acevedo Leadership Advantage.”

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