Public Safety Chief Jim Davis leaving Hickenlooper cabinet

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Jim Davis, shown here helping FBI agents fingerprint Saddam Hussein after the former dictator's capture in Iraq, has served as the director of the Colorado Dept. of Public Safety since 2011.

DENVER — Jim Davis, the former FBI boss who has served as Gov. John Hickenlooper’s director of the Colorado Dept. of Public Safety, is leaving the administration.

Davis is leaving to form his own private security firm, the administration announced on Thursday.

“I could go on about how Jim Davis has overseen a tremendous consolidation of governmental agencies, bringing homeland security, emergency management and wildland firefighting all under one Public Safety umbrella, with grace, intellect, and generally tremendous leadership — and he has — but I won’t,” Hickenlooper said in a statement.

“What I want to focus on is his heart. Jim Davis is a big man, one might even go so far to say, he’s formidable. And within that big man is a big heart.

“What has made Jim Davis invaluable to this state, to me, and especially to the responders and victims of the tragedies that have ranged from shootings to fires and floods, is how sensitive and caring he is, and how dedicated he is to the public’s safety. Jim Davis is a man to be counted on. We will miss him and wish him the very best of luck.”

Under Davis’ leadership at the Department of Public Safety (DPS), the state successfully integrated homeland security, emergency management and wildland firefighting into a single department.

This new structure resulted in more coordinated and effective responses to emergencies such as the High Park, Waldo Canyon, Royal Gorge and Black Forest fires, as well as last September’s flooding.

Davis also oversaw the return of Port of Entry to the Colorado State Patrol, affording more efficient motor carrier safety inspections, improving traffic safety and reducing wear and tear to the state’s highways.

Prior to joining Hickenlooper’s cabinet, Davis served as special agent in charge of Denver’s FBI office, where he oversaw the successful 2009 dragnet of Najibullah Zazi, whose plot to bomb the New York City subway was thwarted by federal agents.

Davis also served in Iraq and happened to be the FBI agent who fingerprinted Saddam Hussein after he was apprehended.

Numerous politicos from both sides of the aisle lauded Davis upon news Thursday of his departure.

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