The three finalists for Broomfield police chief answered a series of questions submitted by community members Thursday evening during a community forum.

Antonella Hempelmann, Clint Nichols and Mike Phibbs are in the final stages of interviewing for the position, which has included four interview panels, as well a City of Broomfield employee forum and a Broomfield Police department forum. Current Police Chief Gary Creager is retiring next month after 40 years in law enforcement.

The event, held at the Broomfield City Councils chamber, was attended in-person by approximately 30 community members. Ahead of the forum, the public was able to submit questions to the candidates using an online form. The forum was moderated by Broomfield Human Resources Director Niki Macklin, who compiled the most frequently asked questions and posed them to the candidates.

The candidates were asked why they wanted to serve as Broomfield’s police chief. Hempelmann, who currently serves as Deputy Chief of Operations, stated that she wanted to be in Broomfield because she feels connected to the community. After living here for 25 years and having two children graduate from Broomfield schools, Hempelmann expressed her enthusiasm for being not just chief of police, but the “Face of Broomfield.”

Phibbs, who currently is Auraria Campus Chief of Police and Chief of Campus, replied “who wouldn’t want to be chief of police for Broomfield?,” a sentiment that Nichols, current Commerce City Police Chief, later echoed in his response to the question. Both candidates commented on how the Broomfield Police department was well-developed, and that the organization and reputation of the police department would allow them to dive deeper into more complex forms of police work.

When asked what the largest challenge facing the Broomfield Police department would be in the next five years, Phibbs answered growth, in reference to the city’s rapidly expanding population. Nichols responded that there are many different issues facing police departments at all times and that the actual challenge is having a strong internal foundation that is able to withstand any problem. Therefore, Nichols argued, having a good recruitment force and an inclusive group of employees will be essential to the success of the Broomfield police department. Hempelmann responded that she believed the biggest issue would be crime in Broomfield. She referenced the growing population and the increase in crime in the past few years.

The candidates were then asked how they would build relationships and foster trust within their department and the community. Nichols stated that he was proud of how he has built and maintained trust in the past and wishes to continue that on to this next position. He mentioned that it is important for him to meet everyone in his department and ask for feedback, and that as a community leader he isn’t afraid of engaging in hard and honest conversations with members of the public.

Hempelmann replied that she focuses on fostering one-on-one relationships with her staff members and believes that her ability to communicate positively with those she works with will help her build strong relationships. She also mentioned that her ability to speak Spanish allows her to be a more inclusive leader in the community. Phibbs believes in full transparency with the community and his department, and mentioned that he’s extremely easy to talk to and easy to reach.

Asked how they’ve dealt with police reform in recent years, both Hempelmann and Phibbs mentioned that in their departments officers were required to complete repeated training and compliance classes. Nichols discussed his use of a public safety advisory board when it comes to compliance.

Another topic discussed by the candidates was bail reform, in regard to newly proposed legislation. Phibbs stated that he was interested in bail reform for non-repeat offenders who are not threats to the community, but believes that as demonstrated by COVID rules, lowering the standard of bail requirements has negatively impacted crime and the community as a whole. Nichols agreed, commenting that “there is no way to hold anyone accountable if they do not have to stay in jail.” Hempelmenn also agreed, expanding on the subject by saying that members of law enforcement need to have more involvement with these types of legislation.

Next, the candidates were asked how they would address mental health within their departments. All three candidates said that they plan on being present and supportive leaders. Hempelmann pointed to her implementation of a peer support team and police chaplain program within the Broomfield police department already. She expressed pride in how Broomfield currently deals with mental health issues. While working with previous police departments, Phibbs mentioned that he found mandatory health check-ins to be helpful.

Lastly, the candidates each were asked how they would address rising crime rates in Broomfield. Phibbs and Nichols both mentioned disincentivizing crime and utilizing technologies, such as cameras and lighting, to make crime harder to commit within the community. All three candidates believed that community support was essential in stopping crime and that making crime easier to report to the police is a useful way to lower crime rates.

Broomfield residents are invited to provide feedback on the candidates. They can submit comments and candidate ratings online bit.ly/31NG51h. Feedback will be accepted until Sunday at 5 p.m.

According to City and County Manager Jennifer Hoffman, the community feedback will be reviewed and the candidate for police chief will be selected early next week.

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The three finalists for Broomfield police chief answered a series of questions submitted by community members Thursday evening during a community forum.

Antonella Hempelmann, Clint Nichols and Mike Phibbs are in the final stages of interviewing for the position, which has included four interview panels, as well a City of Broomfield employee forum and a Broomfield Police department forum. Current Police Chief Gary Creager is retiring next month after 40 years in law enforcement.

The event, held at the Broomfield City Councils chamber, was attended in-person by approximately 30 community members. Ahead of the forum, the public was able to submit questions to the candidates using an online form. The forum was moderated by Broomfield Human Resources Director Niki Macklin, who compiled the most frequently asked questions and posed them to the candidates.

The candidates were asked why they wanted to serve as Broomfield’s police chief. Hempelmann, who currently serves as Deputy Chief of Operations, stated that she wanted to be in Broomfield because she feels connected to the community. After living here for 25 years and having two children graduate from Broomfield schools, Hempelmann expressed her enthusiasm for being not just chief of police, but the “Face of Broomfield.”

Phibbs, who currently is Auraria Campus Chief of Police and Chief of Campus, replied “who wouldn’t want to be chief of police for Broomfield?,” a sentiment that Nichols, current Commerce City Police Chief, later echoed in his response to the question. Both candidates commented on how the Broomfield Police department was well-developed, and that the organization and reputation of the police department would allow them to dive deeper into more complex forms of police work.

When asked what the largest challenge facing the Broomfield Police department would be in the next five years, Phibbs answered growth, in reference to the city’s rapidly expanding population. Nichols responded that there are many different issues facing police departments at all times and that the actual challenge is having a strong internal foundation that is able to withstand any problem. Therefore, Nichols argued, having a good recruitment force and an inclusive group of employees will be essential to the success of the Broomfield police department. Hempelmann responded that she believed the biggest issue would be crime in Broomfield. She referenced the growing population and the increase in crime in the past few years.

The candidates were then asked how they would build relationships and foster trust within their department and the community. Nichols stated that he was proud of how he has built and maintained trust in the past and wishes to continue that on to this next position. He mentioned that it is important for him to meet everyone in his department and ask for feedback, and that as a community leader he isn’t afraid of engaging in hard and honest conversations with members of the public.

Hempelmann replied that she focuses on fostering one-on-one relationships with her staff members and believes that her ability to communicate positively with those she works with will help her build strong relationships. She also mentioned that her ability to speak Spanish allows her to be a more inclusive leader in the community. Phibbs believes in full transparency with the community and his department, and mentioned that he’s extremely easy to talk to and easy to reach.

Asked how they’ve dealt with police reform in recent years, both Hempelmann and Phibbs mentioned that in their departments officers were required to complete repeated training and compliance classes. Nichols discussed his use of a public safety advisory board when it comes to compliance.

Another topic discussed by the candidates was bail reform, in regard to newly proposed legislation. Phibbs stated that he was interested in bail reform for non-repeat offenders who are not threats to the community, but believes that as demonstrated by COVID rules, lowering the standard of bail requirements has negatively impacted crime and the community as a whole. Nichols agreed, commenting that “there is no way to hold anyone accountable if they do not have to stay in jail.” Hempelmenn also agreed, expanding on the subject by saying that members of law enforcement need to have more involvement with these types of legislation.

Next, the candidates were asked how they would address mental health within their departments. All three candidates said that they plan on being present and supportive leaders. Hempelmann pointed to her implementation of a peer support team and police chaplain program within the Broomfield police department already. She expressed pride in how Broomfield currently deals with mental health issues. While working with previous police departments, Phibbs mentioned that he found mandatory health check-ins to be helpful.

Lastly, the candidates each were asked how they would address rising crime rates in Broomfield. Phibbs and Nichols both mentioned disincentivizing crime and utilizing technologies, such as cameras and lighting, to make crime harder to commit within the community. All three candidates believed that community support was essential in stopping crime and that making crime easier to report to the police is a useful way to lower crime rates.

Broomfield residents are invited to provide feedback on the candidates. They can submit comments and candidate ratings online bit.ly/31NG51h. Feedback will be accepted until Sunday at 5 p.m.

According to City and County Manager Jennifer Hoffman, the community feedback will be reviewed and the candidate for police chief will be selected early next week.

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