Longtime Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman announced her retirement last week in a Facebook post, saying simply that she is “pursuing some new adventures of my own.”
Her last day in the Aurora Police Department top spot will be Aug. 6.
“I will be taking this time to decide exactly what is next for me,” she said via Facebook. “From the bottom of my heart, thank you for the love and support you have given our Police Department and me during the great times and the horrific ones. It has been the most incredible privilege and honor of my life to serve as your police chief, and no matter where my journeys take me, Aurora will always be my home.”
A graduate of West Aurora High School, Ziman started with the Aurora Police Department nearly 30 years ago. She rose through the ranks quickly, serving three years as an Aurora police cadet before becoming a sworn officer in 1994. She worked in patrol, field training, community policing and investigations as a domestic violence detective before being promoted to sergeant in 2003. She was promoted to lieutenant in 2008 and to commander in 2010.
The late Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner selected her in January 2016 to be the city’s first female police chief.
“On July 29, I will have completed my 30th year working at the Aurora Police Department,” Ziman said via Facebook. “I started as a police cadet in 1991, so I have grown up (both literally and figuratively) in the Police Department. I never imagined that one day I would have the privilege of serving as the 41st police chief of the Aurora Police Department.”
Ziman has a long list of accomplishments as police chief.
In her Facebook post, she said she is proud to have “put together a team of individuals who brought a diversity of culture to the force.” She said that team implemented a consistent system of accountability, stopped counting tickets and arrests and concentrated instead on positive outcomes and brought the department into the 21st century by embracing and utilizing technology.
“The most significant achievement has been in building relationships in the community,” she said. “I set a goal of community engagement that I knew would be hard to quantify, but I did it anyway. Our officers and our caring citizens have come together on so many occasions to solve problems and combat crime. And that engagement will continue long after I walk out the door.”
Ziman said the worst day of her professional life was the Pratt Company mass shooting, where five people were killed and five officers were shot. The second worst day of her career, she said, was last year, when a peaceful protest turned violent, and Aurora’s downtown was looted and burned.
Also within the last year-and-a-half, she was interviewed for the top cop position in Chicago and in Nashville. She is a sought-after public speaker, and she was named vice president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
“I am leaving this Police Department in good hands,” she said. “I have built a very deep bench of talent, and there are many skilled individuals who will step in and take over where I left off. I hope that I have knocked down doors for others to walk through.”
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Chief Kristen Ziman Facebook Post