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Waco announces police chief finalists

(Top L-R) Jaime Ayala and Joe Chacon. (Bottom L-R) Sheryl Victorian and Chris Jones.
(Top L-R) Jaime Ayala and Joe Chacon. (Bottom L-R) Sheryl Victorian and Chris Jones.(City of Waco photos)
Published: Jan. 14, 2021 at 1:59 PM CST
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - The City of Waco Thursday announced the four finalists in the search for the a new police chief, Arlington Assistant Police Chief Jaime Ayala, Austin Assistant Police Chief Joe Chacon, Las Vegas Municipal Police Department Assistant Sheriff Chris Jones, and Assistant Houston Police Chief Sheryl Victorian.

The four were selected from a field of 43 candidates from 17 states in a second search the city launched for a successor to former police Chief Ryan Holt, who was promoted in 2020 to assistant city manager.

In August 2020 Assistant Waco police Chief Frank Gentsch was sworn in as the city’s interim chief, succeeding Holt, who moved to city hall to oversee the city’s police, fire and animal services departments, the Cameron Park Zoo and the Parks and Recreation Department.

Gentsch also served as interim chief after the retirement of former Chief Brent Stroman.

The city had named five finalists for the position, but in late June 2020 said the “COVID-19 pandemic coupled with the ongoing dialogue in the country surrounding the role of police has changed the environment for completing a hiring process for chief of police” and said the search for a permanent successor will be expanded.

Keller-based Strategic Government Resources was engaged to assist in the search, which involved a Community Stakeholder Panel as well as a public survey.

During the last two weeks of January, the finalists will meet with the Community Stakeholder Panel and then will be interviewed by city officials.

More on the candidates

Jaime Ayala

Ayala has 31 years of service with the Arlington Police Department, including serving as assistant chief since 2011. He has a Master of Science degree in Communication Studies from Texas Christian University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech Communications from the University of Texas at Arlington. He is a graduate of both the FBI National Academy and FBI National Executive Institute.

Joe Chacon

Since September 2016, Chacon has been assistant chief of the Austin Police Department. His tenure with APD started in 1998. He has a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Texas at Arlington and a Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences degree from Midwestern State University.

Chris Jones

Jones has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and graduated from the FBI National Academy. Since February 2020, he has been assistant sheriff with the Las Vegas Municipal Police Department. Prior to that time, he had served as deputy chief since 2016. He began his career with the LVMPD in 1993.

Sheryl Victorian

Victorian is assistant chief of the Houston Police Department, serving in that role since October 2017. She began her career with the HPD in 1993. She has a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Administration of Justice, and a Bachelor of Arts and Science degree in Public Affairs, both from Texas Southern University, and a Master of Science degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Houston-Downtown. She is also a graduate of the FBI National Academy.

(Source: City of Waco)

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