Aurora narrows police chief search to three finalists, but one withdraws

Aurora announced three finalists Wednesday to become the city’s next police chief following the firing earlier this year of Vanessa Wilson, but one of the candidates removed himself from consideration.

Scott Booth, the Danville, Virginia, police chief, “decided to withdraw from the interview process,” city officials said. No further details about Booth’s decision were available Wednesday.

The two remaining candidates are Scott Ebner, a retired lieutenant colonel and deputy superintendent of administration with the New Jersey State Police, and David Franklin, chief of staff with the Albuquerque Police Department.

Ebner worked for the New Jersey State Police for about 27 years, starting as a trooper and rising to lieutenant colonel and deputy superintendent of administration. He holds a master’s degree in human resources management and training, and a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, among other certifications, including graduation from the FBI National Academy, according to a biography posted by online by Aurora.

Franklin has been the chief of staff with the Albuquerque Police Department for about a year. He previously served as the University of Texas at Arlington Police Department assistant chief for about year. Franklin was with the Texas Department of Public Safety for about 25 years, starting as a trooper and sergeant, rising to executive commander and captain, according to his online résumé. He holds a master’s degree in criminal justice focusing on homeland security and is a graduate of the FBI National Academy. Franklin served in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Former Aurora police Chief Dan Oates currently is serving as the city’s interim chief. Oates stepped in after City Manager Jim Twombly fired Wilson in April, saying he had concerns about her leadership and that the department needed “refocused attention.”

Following Booth’s withdrawal, the city will contact its recruiting firm, Public Sector Search & Consulting, a California-based company that specializes in the recruitment of police executives, and a third finalist may yet be chosen from among the original semifinalists.

“We will provide more details when and if that occurs,” said Ryan Luby, Aurora’s deputy director of communications and marketing, in a news release.

Meanwhile, Ebner and Franklin, and perhaps one more candidate, will partake in a three-day, in-person grand finalist selection process. A community panel has been scheduled as part of the final decision-making process.

On Monday, the candidates will tour Aurora police sites and meet with officers and civilian employees. On Tuesday, they’re scheduled to interview with a community panel, meet with cultural and faith-based community partners and city business partners, conduct taped interviews and attend a community meet-and-greet open to the public.

On Wednesday, the finalists will interview with Mayor Mike Coffman and City Council members in small groups, followed by a rotation of interviews with the city’s executive management team and department directors.

The public can submit questions online at Questions must be submitted no later than 5 p.m. Sunday.

Community members will be able to provide feedback online at once the finalists’ taped interviews are posted on Tuesday, according to the news release. The feedback portion will begin at 4 p.m. Tuesday.

A “public meet-and-greet opportunity” is scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Aurora Municipal Center Lobby, 15151 E. Alameda Pkwy.

“Aurora’s city charter requires the city manager to hire a police chief and receive approval from the majority of the Aurora City Council,” the news release said.

A final selection, naming a new chief, is expected in the coming weeks.

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