EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The City of El Paso has narrowed the search for the next police chief to four highly qualified candidates.

The finalists are listed below in alphabetical order by their last name. A brief biography for each is included below:

  • Steve Dye
  • Peter Pacillas
  • David Ransom
  • Victor Zarur


In May 2023, the City opened a national search, which included the opportunity for local leadership to apply.

Prior to opening the search, the City selected the national recruitment firm, SGR (Strategic Government Resources), to conduct an extensive search that resulted in an impressive candidate pool. SGR is an executive recruitment firm based in Texas, specializing in recruiting, assessing, and developing innovative, collaborative, and authentic leaders for local governments. SGR’s proprietary recruitment and vetting process produced an incredibly strong field of candidates, with 25 applications from candidates in 11 states.

As part of the process, SGR hosted an online community survey and conducted feedback sessions with the Mayor, Council, key stakeholders, and community leaders in order to identify essential characteristics for the City’s next Police Chief.

The Police Chief Search Committee, led by Deputy City Manager for Public Safety Mario D’Agostino, reviewed the applicants and selected four finalists for consideration.


The next step will be to host an on-site interview process to include multiple interview panels, practical exercises, and a public reception.

Community members are encouraged to attend the reception to meet and hear from the candidates at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 13, at the Museum of Art.

About the candidates:

Steve Dye

Steve Dye was the Chief of Police for Grand Prairie, Texas, from 2011 to 2020, which included two years in a dual role as Deputy City Manager. In 2020, he continued his service in Grand Prairie as Deputy City Manager-Chief Operating Officer and is currently City Manager. Prior to this, Steve’s 29-year law enforcement career also included the police departments in the cities of Colleyville, Garland, Arlington, and Houston. Additionally, he served eight years on the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Community Policing Committee. Steve earned a master’s degree in Criminal Justice from Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas, and a bachelor’s degree in Law Enforcement and Police Science from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas.

Peter Pacillas

Peter Pacillas has served the El Paso Police Department since 1985. He is currently the Interim Chief of Police and was Assistant Chief from 2009 to 2023. Other roles in the department include Interim Commander of the Auto Theft Unit, Fusion, Intelligence Unit, and Narcotics Unit; First Sergeant selected for the newly formed Homeland Security unit in 2004; and an original member of the department’s first full-time SWAT team. He serves on the 911 District Board and was formerly the Regional IV Director of the Texas Tactical Peace Officers Association. Peter holds a bachelor’s degree in Organizational Leadership from Mountain State University in Beckley, West Virginia.

David Ransom

David Ransom began his public safety career in the El Paso Police Department in 1992, serving in Patrol, Gang Enforcement, and SWAT. As a Lieutenant, he served in Airport Police Operations as a Special Operations Commander and Planning, Research, and Special Projects. After more than 20 years with the City of El Paso, David took the Assistant Director of Public Safety post at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy and currently serves as Chief of Police at the Berklee School of Music in Boston. He has been an instructor most of his career, both in the El Paso Police Department and currently teaches Criminal Justice courses at Bay State College in Boston. David holds a Ph.D. in Global Leadership from Indiana Tech in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, a master’s in Strategic Leadership from Mountain State University in Beckley, West Virginia, and a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from UTEP.

Victor Zarur

Victor Zarur spent his first five years in law enforcement with the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office before joining the City of El Paso Police Department in 1995. Before assuming his current position in early 2023 as Executive Assistant Chief (Interim), Operations – Office of Performance and Development, he served as Assistant Chief, Region Commander, Lieutenant, Sergeant, and Detective, starting in Patrol. Victor is an Adjunct Professor at El Paso Community College (where he began his education in policing), teaching both the theory and practice of criminal justice, mentoring aspiring public safety professionals, and promoting careers in law enforcement. Victor earned a master’s degree in Criminal Justice from Sul Ross University in Alpine, Texas, and a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice Administration: Law Enforcement from Park University in Ft. Bliss, Texas.