Miami Beach might hire Aurora police chief

AURORA — The police chief who led the response to the Colorado theater massacre is the sole finalist to lead the police force in Miami Beach, Fla., officials said Tuesday.

Miami Beach City Manager Jimmy Morales told the Miami Herald (http://tinyurl.com/lf7xmgh) he plans to appoint Aurora, Colo., Chief Dan Oates to the job.

Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine told KUSA-TV in Denver that Oates was the only candidate for the job and that the City Commission would vote on the appointment next week.

Oates didn’t immediately return a telephone message from The Associated Press on Tuesday night. An Aurora Police spokesman said he had no information about whether Oates was being considered for the Florida job.

Oates has been chief in Aurora, a Denver suburb of about 400,000, since 2005.

In July 2012, a gunman opened fire in a crowded Aurora movie theater, killing 12 people and injuring 70. Oates’ officers quickly arrested James Holmes outside the theater, struggled to sort out the chaos inside the building and rushed many of the injured to hospitals in their squad cars because not enough ambulances were available.

Some Aurora officers fought back tears at court hearings as they recounted the carnage.

“It was a searing event for the Police Department as well as the whole community,” Oates said after a solemn remembrance service on the anniversary of the shootings.

Oates was highly visible in the first few days after the shootings and showed a flash of anger when investigators found potentially deadly booby traps in Holmes’ apartment.

“You think we’re angry? We sure as hell are angry,” Oates said.

Holmes pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to multiple charges of murder and attempted murder, and prosecutors are seeking the death penalty. His trial is scheduled to start in October.

Oates previously spent 21 years with the New York City Police Department, eventually serving as chief of intelligence and a deputy chief overseeing 3,000 patrol officers in Brooklyn.

Between the New York and Aurora jobs, he was chief of the police and fire departments in Ann Arbor, Mich.


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