Ikeda to resign from the APD | AspenTimes.com
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Ikeda to resign from the APD

Brent Gardner-Smith

The man who would be chief has resigned.

Keith Ikeda, assistant chief of operations at the Aspen Police Department, announced his resignation from the municipal force yesterday.

“After much reflection and soul-searching, I have decided to resign from the Aspen Police Department effective Jan. 28, 2001,” Ikeda said. “This has been a very difficult decision and one that I have spent a considerable time contemplating.”

He plans to continue living in the valley and work as a law enforcement consultant, developing law enforcement training programs in the areas of domestic violence, community-based policing and ethics and leadership.

Ikeda was one of three finalists for the top police job that opened up when Chief Tom Stephenson abruptly resigned in February 1999.

Ikeda expressed “great disappointment” when he was passed over in favor of Joe Cortez of Brush, Colo., who became Aspen’s chief of police last July 10. Stephenson resigned shortly after Steve Barwick became Aspen city manager, and it was Barwick who selected Cortez over Ikeda.

At the time, it was reported that a faction within the police department voiced their opposition to Ikeda being selected for the top position.

Ikeda said his moving on was in the best interest of the department, and he had kind words for the man who got the top spot.

“I want to personally thank Joe for his patience, guidance and caring while I was considering my future,” Ikeda said. “I believe he has earned everyone’s trust and support to lead our police department in the new millennium.”

Ikeda first worked in law enforcement in 1977 under Sheriff Dick Kienast, who is credited with bringing an enlightened, and light-handed, approach to policing in Pitkin County.

“I tried to continue to implement those practices, principles and philosophies,” Ikeda said.

In 1984, he moved over to the Aspen Police Department for a year, working under Chief Rich Rianoshek. From 1989 to 1994, he moved to Kirkland, Wash., to be near his father, who had cancer. There, he worked as a detective with the Kirkland Police Department. In 1994, he returned to Aspen as assistant chief of operations.

While with the APD, Ikeda worked both regionally and at the national level training other officers and developing curriculum for training programs.

When word got out that he might be leaving the APD, Ikeda said his phone began to ring.

“I’ve been asked to interview for a number of different consulting opportunities,” he said. “I’m looking really positively at this change.”

Looking back, Ikeda said working with the community was a highlight of his career in Aspen.

“What I’m most proud of is the trust we have been able to develop with the community,” he said. “And if there was any one specific thing I’m proud of, it was working with the Chemical Dependency Task Force in the area of alcohol and drug awareness.”

There were many in the community who felt that Ikeda would have made a good police chief for Aspen because of his years of local experience on the street.

“I hate to see Ikeda leave because he has had many years here with the sheriff’s office and the APD,” Pitkin County Sheriff Bob Braudis said.

“There is an institutional memory that leaves with every longtime employee and is virtually impossible to replace.”


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