DENVER (KDVR) — Following Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen’s retirement announcement, Mayor Michael Hancock nominated a 33-year department veteran to lead Colorado’s largest police force.

Division Chief Ron Thomas will oversee the day-to-day management of the department starting Sept. 6. ahead of Pazen’s retirement on Oct. 15.

Thomas has been part of the Denver Police Department for more than three decades, working in patrols, investigations, special operations and administration. He served as the Commander of Police District 2, District 5 and the department’s Internal Affairs Division before he was appointed as the Division Chief of Patrol.

Thomas led the charge in creating the department’s Denver Police Wellness and Resiliency Program while leading the Internal Affairs Department.

The mayor has asked Thomas to create and implement new strategies to reduce crime and aggressively recruit new police officers, after the loss of 170 uniformed DPD officers over the course of the pandemic. Hancock has also asked Thomas to work on improving the relationship between the community and the department.

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.