LOUISVILLE, Colo. (KDVR) — David Hayes has served as police chief in Louisville for eight years. His home was destroyed during the Marshall Fire.

Hayes said Estes Park has always been dear to his heart.

“A change of scenery is sometimes as good, as well,” Hayes said.

He jumped at the chance to take the job as the top cop at the Estes Park Police Department.

Hayes leaves the Louisville Police Department after serving as chief since 2014. He oversaw the department during the COVID-19 pandemic, George Floyd protests and of course, the devastating Marshall Fire.

“It also gave me a new perspective — the victim perspective, a fire victim, if you will,” Hayes said.

Hayes’ home was a casualty of the fire which may have had some impact on his decision to leave Louisville.

“Previous to the fire, I wasn’t considering leaving Louisville,” Hayes said. “Is it difficult to come to work at the Louisville Police Department where my home was across the street that’s not there anymore? Absolutely.”

While the destruction of the Marshall Fire was a setback for the community, Hayes said he is proud of how his department responded to the disaster.

“In the Marshall Fire, we didn’t have a single loss of life in Louisville,” Hayes said. “That was really a highlight because we rose to the occasion. There’s no book that’s written on how to do this for an organization.”

Where he thinks the Louisville Police Department could use some improvement: response to mental health calls.

“We continue to struggle with mental health response,” Hayes said. “Some people want the police to respond, some don’t want the police to respond.”

Hayes attributes that shortcoming to a shortage of police officers and mental health clinicians.

As for his successor, Hayes hopes they will continue to protect every resident in the city and make no reservations about that.

“We don’t give a darn, frankly, about someone’s immigration status, or their race or their ethnicity or their sexual preference,” Hayes said.

Hayes’s last day in Louisville will be Nov. 25 with his first day in Estes Park that following Nov. 28.

The deputy chief at Louisville PD, Jeff Fisher, will serve as interim chief until a permanent replacement is hired.