Dan Oates named interim Aurora police chief while city searches for permanent hire

The man who led the Aurora Police Department through the 2012 theater shooting will take his old job back temporarily as interim chief while the city seeks a new leader following the firing of Chief Vanessa Wilson.

Dan Oates, who served as chief from 2005 to 2014, will start in the new role before May 23, city officials announced Wednesday. Division Chief Chris Juul has been leading the department since the April 6 firing Wilson.

“I am honored and flattered to be asked to serve again. I love Aurora. It has given so much to me and my family over the years,” Oates said in a news release. “I want to help the men and women of the APD get through this critical period of reform. I also look forward to reconnecting with the wonderful Aurora community. We’ll all need to work together to ensure a smooth transition to the new chief.”

Oates became chief of the Aurora Police Department after working as chief in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and as deputy chief for the New York City Police Department. After leaving Aurora, he became chief in Miami Beach, Florida, before retiring from law enforcement in 2019.

He holds a law degree from New York Law School, a master’s degree in management from New York University, and a bachelor’s degree in English from Bucknell University, according to the news release.

“I selected Dan for this important role because he has established trust with our community and many of our officers, and I believe he will effectively manage the department and further the enduring transformation in public safety our community expects under our ‘New Way’ plan,” Aurora City Manager Jim Twombly said in a news release.

Twombly and Oates are scheduled to discuss the appointment at a 4 p.m. virtual news conference that can be watched live on auroratv.org.

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