DENVER (KDVR) — Following Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen’s retirement announcement, Mayor Michael Hancock introduced his nominee to take Pazen’s place, Division Chief Ron Thomas.

“This was his decision to retire, I want to be clear with that,” Hancock said about Pazen’s retirement announcement. 

Thomas is a 33-year veteran of the Denver Police Department who worked in patrols, investigations, special operations and administration. He served as the commander of police for District 2, District 5 and the department’s Internal Affairs Division before he was appointed as the division chief of patrol.

“I can’t tell you that this is something that I envisioned when I was sitting in the academy 33 years ago, but certainly as my career has evolved I’ve certainly wanted to become the chief of police and I am honored to have this position and I plan to continue in this position,” Thomas said. 

Thomas’ nomination must be confirmed by the Denver City Council. The mayor’s administration will begin the process of confirming Thomas by sending a bill to the City Council Safety Committee, which will need to be approved by the full council.

“Response times are up, I understand call hold times are up at the same time. I understand that our staffing is down, I understand that community trust is also at a low point, and I’m committed to fixing those things,” Thomas said. 

Thomas, Hancock and Executive Director of Public Safety Armando Saldate outlined how the department plans to make Denver safer, retain and recruit more police officers and expand police presence in downtown hotspots.

“Quite frankly, I want this department to be what the people expect it to be, and I think I can do that,” Thomas said when asked what he wants to see for DPD in two years. 

You can watch the full news conference on FOX31 NOW in the player below.