EL Paso, Texas (KTSM) – The City of El Paso has named a three-decade police veteran to serve as the city’s interim police chief.

Peter Pacillas was named interim chief on Friday afternoon. Pacillas takes the reins of the department after longtime Police Chief Greg Allen died on Jan. 17 at age 71. The search for a permanent replacement for Allen will continue, according to the city.

Pacillas has served as an assistant police chief since 2009 and has been a member of the department since 1988,  when he graduated from the El Paso Police Academy.

He has served in all ranks within the El Paso Police Department and has served in a wide range of roles and assignments including the Tactical Division, the Bomb Squad and SWAT.

“The City of El Paso Police Department has an incredibly strong group of senior leaders,” City Manager Tommy Gonzalez said in a statement.

“We were confident that we would find quality candidates for the interim police chief. We took multiple factors into consideration including strong leadership, strategic planning skills, workforce focus, organizational focus, customer focus, knowledge management considerations, and the results that would come from utilizing these criteria. We believe we had several candidates that could have filled this role.

“In the end, we selected Chief Pacillas who had these qualities as well as the continuity and stable work environment we want to continue to foster during this interim period. We also believe that Chief Pacillas will shepherd our police and civilian workforce through a transition that will make us better,” Gonzalez continued.

Deputy City Manager Mario D’Agostino added: “Pacillas is a great example of the gifted leaders within our successful talent pipeline that has embraced our organization’s leadership development opportunities which inspire collaboration and alignment and integration with our service delivery.”

The next step in the final selection process for the police chief will be to conduct a national search, which will include the opportunity for local leadership to apply.