Robert White, the current police chief in Louisville, Ky., has been selected as the new chief of police for the Denver Police Department.
Louisville's mayors office confirmed that their chief of police is moving to Denver and made the formal announcement at 1:30 p.m. Friday.
The mayors office in Denver was planning a formal announcement next week before 7NEWS broke the story at 12:52 p.m.
"He has the dedication needed to restore the confidence and trust in our police department," Mayor Hancock said at a hastily called news conference. "I strongly believe he will work hand in hand with our officers."
Hancock said he met with White twice, as well as talking to him numerous times on the telephone. He said he offered the job to White on Monday, contingent upon background checks. Hancock said he needed White's permission to conduct the background checks.
The Denver City Council must approve the hiring, a process expected to take three weeks.
White said in a news release that the decision to leave Louisville was difficult but that he felt that he has achieved all he could in Louisville and he looks forward to new challenges in Denver.
"Im leaving Louisville in great hands -- and I want to thank the men and women of the Louisville Police Department who are dedicated and passionate public servants," White said in a Louisville news release. "I also wish to thank the citizens of Louisville who have made my job enjoyable every day the last nine years."
As chief of the DPD, he will be in charge of 1,400 officers and earn a salary of $167,607 a year. The mayor's office had said previously that 61 people had applied for the job.
"We look forward to working with our new chief," said Vince Gavito, vice president of the Denver Police Protective Association. "Good, bad or indifferent, we have to work with him to repair the hits to our departments reputation ... I don't want to prejudge him, but Ive always thought the chief should be home grown."
White will hold a news conference in Denver on Saturday afternoon.
"He needs to let people know what he stands for and what kind of changes he plans to make and will make and give a timeline for those changes," said community activist Lisa Calderon.
White Passed Over For Several Chief Positions
In the past several years, White has been passed over for the chief of police position in Dallas, Atlanta and Chicago, according to media reports.
White was appointed Chief of Police of the Louisville Metro Police Department in January 2003. He was the city's first black police chief and tasked with merging the former city and county police departments.
As chief of police for the combined department, he oversaw 1,200 sworn officers and nearly 400 civilian personnel.
According to the Louisville Courier Journal
, one of his primary tasks early on was to rebuild relationships with a community where many residents were critical of police tactics in the wake of several controversial shootings by police officers. He traveled to churches and community groups and tried to bolster programs in the department aimed at community relations.
"Chief White has been a high-caliber leader who has made our city safer and who has earned tremendous respect across the city," Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said in a Friday afternoon announcement. "Its not a surprise that, over the years, many cities have tried to hire him. Denver is gaining a police chief of high integrity."
During White's tenure, the number of neighborhood watch groups in Louisville soared from about 350 to 750, and violent crime dropped 12 percent in 2009, according to DallasNews.com
, which did a profile of White while he was a candidate for the police chief job in Dallas.
White has clashed with the police union in Louisville because he's not been afraid to hand out harsh discipline to officers who violate department policy or the law, the profile said. He's also found ways to trim the department's budget and shifted civilians into jobs that did not require police officers, putting about 100 officers on the street.
Some say White is not responsive to the needs and desires of his officers, making decisions about them without consulting them or the union, according to the Dallas Morning News.
When White took over the job in Louisville, there was low morale in the department and there continues to be low morale among officers, according to reporters in our sister station in Louisville.
White is married with three children and is also a grandfather of two.
White's 30-year-old son was arrested on Oct. 10, accused of beating his wife, according to WFPL.org
. The radio station reported that the chief's son was accused of striking his wife in the head and face, then holding her against her will.
The woman eventually jumped from the moving vehicle and was taken to a hospital for treatment for what police call significant injuries, the radio station said. The chief's son went to another location, where he was arrested. He faces charges of second-degree assault, first-degree unlawful imprisonment and third-degree terroristic threatening.
White Has Been Chief In North Carolina, Officer In D.C.
White came to Louisville from Greensboro, North Carolina, where he served as Chief of Police for four and a half years, beginning in June 1998. White's law enforcement career began when he was an appointed officer with the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, D.C. in May 1972.
In 1993, Chief White received a Bachelor of Arts Degree, summa cum laude, in Public Administration from the University of the District of Columbia. He obtained a Master of Science Degree in 1996 in Applied Behavioral Science from Johns Hopkins University. In 1991, he completed the Contemporary Executive Development Program at George Washington University.
Louisville Mayor Announces White Leaving
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