UPDATE: As of Sept. 22, the City of El Paso says Westin is still reviewing the four candidates and has yet to make a decision.
We will continue to follow the search for El Paso’s next chief of police.
ORIGINAL: EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – On Wednesday, Sept. 13, the community was invited to meet and hear from the finalists for the El Paso Police Chief position.
The four finalists are Steve Dye, Peter Pacillas, David Ransom and Victor Zarur.
Steve Dye was the Police Chief for Grand Prairie, Texas from 2011 to 2020 where he was also the deputy city manager and is currently the city manager.
“I believe in leading a highly ethical organization where it’s a culture of self-discipline, highly transparent, with the public,” said Dye at a community meeting held on Wednesday at the El Paso Museum of Art.
Another finalist Peter Pacillas is the current interim police chief and was the assistant chief from 2009 to 2023. Pacillas has been with the El Paso Police since 1985.
“We will arrest our officers if they do violate the law. They are not above by law,” said Pacillas at the community meeting.
Finalist David Ransom began his public safety career with the El Paso Police in 1992 and is currently the Chief of Police at Berklee School of Music in Boston.
“Try to finish off what I started in 1992 when I started. I still have deep ties here,” said Ransom at the beginning of the community meeting.
Victor Zarur joined the El Paso Police in 1995 and is currently the interim executive assistant chief. Before joining the El Paso Police, Zarur was with the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office for five years.
“I grew up in South Central El Paso by Washington Park with my parents, grandparents and siblings. He taught me the importance about respect and values,” said Zarur at the community meeting.
El Pasoans spoke with KTSM after visiting with the candidates.
“Seems strange that there was not a female across the country that would rise to the top,” said El Pasoan Anna Perez.
A former El Paso Police officer coming to the event saying he is familiar with three of the finalists.
“Show support for the three that I do know and meet the one that I don’t, even though I’m not part of the department anymore. It being such a large part of my adult life that I’m still interested in what’s going on with our department,” said Marshall Brannon a retired EPPD Officer.
The family of Daniel Diaz who died during an encounter with the El Paso Police Department in 2021, came to the meeting to speak with each candidate. Diaz’s brother-in-law says he is confident.
“I feel confident because we were, I was able to have a very honest conversation with each of them individually and just talk about the need that our police department needs to have transparency, education and accountability across the board,” said Ben Miranda, the brother-in-law of Daniel Diaz.
The Interim City Manager Cary Westin said he’s not going to rush into making a decision but that seeing the finalist interact with the community is helpful.
“I’m not going to rush into the decision so I certainly don’t anticipate making that decision the next day, I’m going to take the time I need to make the best decision that I possibly can for this community,” said Westin.
While the community meeting was being held, protestors gathered outside holding signs that read “EPPD needs change” and “transparency and community engagement in the chief of police hiring process.”
“We’re outside because we don’t agree with the process that the city had followed to select the new chief. I think anything completely it’s disregarding the voices of many people in the community, because this time around, especially now, especially these days, this is not only about just changing a chief, but multiple issues are also happening with the police department,” said Fernando Garcia, the Executive Director for the Border Network for Human Rights who was outside with protestors.
The City of El Paso opened a national search that included the opportunity for local leadership to apply back in May 2023.
As we’ve reported, El Paso Police Chief Greg Allen died in January after leading the department for nearly 15 years.