Today In Surprise

City of Surprise News

Posted on: May 3, 2021

Search for Surprise Police Chief narrows to six candidates

PD chief finalists

The search for a new City of Surprise Police Chief is moving forward, with finalist interviews set to take place on Wednesday, May 5, 2021. 

The application period for the position closed on March 23 after receiving 62 applications. 

The six finalists for the position of Police Chief are:

  • Aaron Jelcick – Interim Chief of Police, Olympia, Washington
    Aaron Jelcick has served as the Interim Chief of Police in Olympia since 2019. He joined the Olympia Police Department in 1993 rising through the ranks to the position of Deputy Police Chief prior to his appointment to Interim Chief of Police. He has worked in patrol, investigations, community outreach, training, and labor and management relations. He earned a Master of Arts in Criminal Justice from Washington State University and a Bachelors of Arts in Criminal Justice from Washington State University.  He is a graduate of the Senior Management Institute for Policing.
  • Geoff Leggett – Interim Chief of Police, Surprise, Arizona
    Geoff Leggett has served as the Interim Chief of Police in Surprise since January 2021. He joined the Surprise Police Department in 2011 as a Commander and advanced to the position of Assistant Police Chief in 2015 prior to his appointment to Interim Police Chief. Before the City of Surprise, he served 25 years with the Maricopa County Sherriff’s Office rising through the ranks to the position of Lieutenant. He has worked in patrol, investigations, SWAT, internal investigations and training and development. Chief Leggett also serves on the Executive Leadership Program and Basic Supervision Program for the AZPOST Advisory Committee. He has earned Master of Education in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University and a Bachelor of Arts in Police Science and Administration from Northern Arizona University. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy.
  • Daniel O’Neil – Chief of Police, Auburn, Washington
    Daniel O’Neil has served as the Chief of Police in Auburn since 2019. He joined the City of Auburn Police Department in 1999 rising through the ranks to the position of Commander prior to his appointment to Chief of Police. He has worked in patrol, field training, K-9, property crime, special investigations, animal control, community programs, training and accreditation. Chief O’Neil also served as SWAT Commander for Valley SWAT. He earned a Master of Science in Public Safety Executive Leadership from Saint Cloud State University and a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology from Eastern Washington University. He is a graduate of the Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command.
  • Benny Pina – Deputy Police Chief, Peoria, Arizona
    Benny Pina has served as the Deputy Police Chief in Peoria since 2014.  Prior to that appointment, he served 25 years with the Phoenix Police Department rising through the ranks to the position of Police Commander.  He has worked in patrol, investigations, special operations, SWAT, K-9, street and violent crime, crisis intervention, school resources, and training.  He earned a Master of Education in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University and a Bachelor’s of Arts in Political Science from Arizona State University. He is a graduate of the Senior Management Institute for Policing.
  • Robert Sanders – Assistant Police Chief, Buckeye, Arizona
    Robert Sanders has served as the Assistant Police Chief in Buckeye since 2014.   Prior to that appointment, he served 19 years with the City of Peoria rising through the ranks to the position of Deputy Police Chief. He has worked in patrol, investigations, SWAT, PIO, community outreach, internal affairs, crisis negotiations, training and accreditation. He earned a Master of Arts in Education Leadership from Northern Arizona University and a Bachelor of Science in Administration of Justice from Arizona State University. He is a graduate of the Senior Management Institute for Policing and the Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command.
  • Doug Shoemaker – Chief of Police, Grand Junction, Colorado
    Doug Shoemaker has served as the Chief of Police in Grand Junction since 2018. Prior to that appointment, he served 27 years with the Jefferson City Police Department rising through the ranks to the position of Police Captain. He has worked in patrol, SWAT command, special services, community services, internal affairs/recruiting, crisis negotiation and accreditation. He earned a Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership from Wilmington University, a Master of Science in Criminal Justice from University of Central Missouri and a Bachelor of Arts in English and Psychology from the University of Missouri. He is a graduate of the Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command. He also serves as Chair of the Police Professional Standards, Ethics and Image Committee with IACP.  

The City anticipates filling the Police Chief position by the end of May 2021 (subject to relocation needs).

The position opened following the promotion of former Police Chief Terry Young to City of Surprise Assistant City Manager in January 2021. Assistant Police Chief Geoffrey Leggett is currently serving as Interim Police Chief.

To learn more about the Surprise Police Department, please visit www.surpriseaz.gov/police.

See press release...
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