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El Paso Police Department names 38-year veteran as interim police chief

Interim El Paso police chief Peter Pacillas (credit: KFOX14/CBS4)
Interim El Paso police chief Peter Pacillas (credit: KFOX14/CBS4)
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The City of El Paso announced the appointment of Peter Pacillas as the interim police chief.

Pacillas, who has been serving as Assistant Police Chief since 2009, graduated from the El Paso Police Academy in 1988 and has served in all ranks within the Police Department.

"We will continue the mission of the police department which is public safety. We have to press on the legacy chief Allen's caliber," said Pacillas.

"I'm grateful for the opportunity," he said.

Chief Pacillas has a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership from Mountain State University.

El Paso deputy manager said they interviewed all the commanders and all chiefs to then make the final decision.

“Chief Allen left a good leadership in place. We are going to work together to make sure his legacy of protecting the citizens of El Paso continues," said Pacillas.

Pacillas said the first thing he will do is get together with his staff to lay out priorities.

“We will be getting together the entire staff to make sure all of our officers are taken care of and make all of the El Paso citizens are protected to the best of our ability," he said.

We need to recruit and retain what we have right now, so we’re going to do a very strong push to do that," said Pacillas.

Pacillas said it was Chief Allen's mentorship that helped him and the other officers prepare for this moment.

"Chief Allen made sure that El Paso Police Department was capable to carry on and keeping the community safe," said Pacillas.

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Pacillas has proven himself in key assignments over his career serving as a member of the Central Patrol Station, Tactical Division, Northeast Substation, Pebble Hills Regional Command, Training Academy, Support Services Division, Directed Investigation Division, Bomb Squad, and SWAT Team.

The City of El Paso Police Department has an incredibly strong group of senior leaders. We were confident that we would find quality candidates for the interim police chief. We took multiple factors into consideration including strong leadership, strategic planning skills, workforce focus, organizational focus, customer focus, knowledge management considerations, and the results that would come from utilizing these criteria. We believe we had several candidates that could have filled this role,” said City Manager Tommy Gonzalez. “In the end, we selected Chief Pacillas who had these qualities as well as the continuity and stable work environment we want to continue to foster during this interim period. We also believe that Chief Pacillas will shepherd our police and civilian workforce through a transition that will make us better. Chief Pacillas and the senior leadership team would make any leader proud, but we believe they especially made our late Police Chief, Greg Allen, burst with pride as he looks down from above at how well they performed during their interviews and the exceptional work that lies ahead for them. I’m confident Chief Pacillas will demonstrate thoughtful and effective decision-making as well as strong leadership in action. These traits have worked well for him in the past and they will guide him as he leads the uniformed and civilian men and women of our police force.

Gonzalez said the cityhas demonstrated time and time again the strength of the organization is in the processes and organizational chart alignments that have been put into place by developing a strong succession plan and a commitment to the city’s talent pipeline management which grows leaders within the organization.

“Pacillas is a great example of the gifted leaders within our successful talent pipeline that has embraced our organization’s leadership development opportunities which inspire collaboration and alignment and integration with our service delivery,” said Deputy City Manager Mario D’Agostino.

RECOMMENDED: City of El Paso interviews candidates for interim police chief position

The next step in the final selection process for the Police Chief will be to conduct a national search, which will include the opportunity for local leadership to apply.

Pacillas is taking over after late police chief Greg Allen died on Jan. 17.

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