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Meet the candidates for top cop

John Colson

City officials announced Tuesday that the three finalists seeking the job of Aspen’s police chief will be back in town on May 22 and 23 for “meet and greet” sessions with the community.

The culmination of these sessions will be a public reception on the evening of May 23, at which the candidates will be presented to an assemblage of local citizens.

The three candidates are current Acting Chief Keith Ikeda, a 15-year law enforcement veteran with Aspen and Pitkin County; Joseph Cortez, the police chief in Brush, Colo. for the past five years; and Dwight Henninger, a 17-year veteran with police departments in Laguna Beach and Irvine, Calif.

The three have been chosen from an initial field of more than 100 applicants, in a process that involved a selection committee of local citizens and officials.

The final phase of the selection process, as arranged by City Manager Steve Barwick, is a series of meetings next week.

On Monday, the three candidates will meet with staffers at the Aspen Police Department and department heads at City Hall, as well as the elected members of the Aspen City Council and the Pitkin County Board of Commissioners.

Next up will be a meeting in the early afternoon on Tuesday, May 23 between the candidates and local media representatives. The candidates will meet separately with the reporters, and each of them will give a brief statement and then open it up for questions in a 20-minute press conference.

The crowning event of the two-day marathon of meetings will be the public reception, which is scheduled for 5 p.m. at the Variations lounge in the Aspen Club Lodge. The lodge is located on Durant Avenue, adjacent to the Little Nell Hotel.

The public reception, which is scheduled to last until 6:30 p.m., will feature an introductory speech by Barwick, followed by a few remarks from each candidate.

Then, the candidates will be assigned to different tables around the lounge, so that members of the public can make the rounds and ask them questions.

Barwick has said he plans to announce his selection for the job by mid-June, and to have a new chief on the job by early July.


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