Aurora hires Art Acevedo as next interim police chief

A fired Miami police chief who is suing his former employer will serve as the Aurora Police Department’s second interim chief as the city struggles to recruit candidates to permanently lead the police agency.

Art Acevedo — former police chief in Miami, Houston and Austin — will take over the interim position in early December, city officials announced Tuesday.

Current interim Chief Dan Oates will return to his home in Florida. Oates has led the department since city management fired Chief Vanessa Wilson in April and his contract will expire Nov. 26.

“I am extremely grateful for Interim Chief Oates,” Aurora City Manager Jim Twombly said in a news release. “We wish he could stay but knew his time with us would be brief. He came out of retirement and returned to Aurora this summer. In that short time, he stabilized APD and brought a renewed focus to crime reduction, community engagement and internal leadership in line with the consent decree.”

The city has received no new applications for the permanent chief position since restarting its search Oct. 4, city spokesman Ryan Luby said. The city re-opened applications after two of the three finalists for the job withdrew their applications and the third finalist did not have the necessary support from the City Council to cinch the job.

Acevedo took the interim police chief job while discussing a contract to help the Aurora Police Department implement its consent decree, Luby said. During those discussions, city management asked if he would be interested in the interim chief position and he took the position instead, Luby said.

Miami officials fired Acevedo in October 2021, six months into his tenure. The city manager said in a letter that Acevedo lost the trust of the department’s officers, didn’t record vacation time, failed to promptly report damage to his vehicle, and used foul language while arguing with a demonstrator, among other issues, according to the Washington Post.

In January, Acevedo sued the city in federal court alleging he was fired for speaking out about corruption. Prior to working in Miami, he served as the Houston police chief from 2016 to 2021 and as the chief in Austin, Texas, from 2007 to 2016.

“Aurora reminds me of Houston,” Acevedo said in a news release. “Both cities are incomparably diverse and culturally rich. As a bilingual Cuban American born in Cuba and raised in the U.S., I am intimately familiar with the challenges facing diverse communities like Aurora, and I applaud the city’s simultaneous efforts to tackle crime and implement public safety changes to better reflect the people it serves. I look forward to building upon Chief Oates’s work to ensure the department implements the consent decree, strengthens public trust, and enhances the safety of this culturally rich city.”

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