Denver hires Cmdr. Paul Pazen as new police chief

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DENVER -- Cmdr. Paul Pazen was introduced Monday as the new chief of the Denver police Department.

He replaces Robert White, who announced in April he is retiring.

Since then, the city has held community meetings to gather feedback from residents about what kind of chief should replace White.

Pazen has been with the department since January 1995. Before arriving in Denver, he spent five years serving in the Marine Corps and is a Gulf War veteran.

Pazen has worked in a number of roles, including as a patrol officer, investigator, lieutenant and commander.

In 2011, Pazen graduated from the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia. He is a Denver native, is married and has three children.

In April, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock thanked White for his service.

“On behalf of everyone in Denver, I want to thank Chief White for his dedication to our city and his distinguished service over these past six years,” Hancock said in a statement.

“Through his great work, he has firmly established a legacy of building strong community relationships and a police department better equipped and prepared to keep our neighborhoods and residents safe, and I wish the Chief all the best in his much-deserved retirement.”

Hancock appointed White as chief in 2011. He was previously a police chief in Louisville, Kentucky, and Greensboro, North Carolina.

“It has been my honor to serve the people of this great city and this department of truly exceptional officers and staff," White said in April.

"And I want to thank Mayor Hancock for allowing me the opportunity to strengthen the department and its bonds to the community.

"It has been an incredibly challenging and rewarding six plus years that I will forever be grateful for and proud of."

White's tenure has had some controversy.

In 2017, a survey of 45 percent of officers in the Denver Police Protective Association found more than 90 percent of the officers did not have confidence in White.

The president of the association said he should be fired.

White was also at the center of a open records request in May 2016. White was accused of not giving a letter to DPPA.

The letter was from then-Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey criticizing the the arrest of an officer and woman for an alleged sex crime.

Hancock said in April that White would not be punished for not turning over the letter. The mayor blamed poor communication.

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