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Community members ask questions of Aurora police chief candidates

Many people asked the candidates how they would build trust in the community after the death of Elijah McClain.

AURORA, Colo. — Tuesday night, community members in Aurora had a chance to ask questions to the two finalists up for the police chief job.

Leaders of the state’s most diverse city will choose between two white men for the job.

This meet and greet is part of a three-day interview process for these two candidates. Earlier on Tuesday, the two finalists interviewed with a panel of faith-based community leaders and then attended an informal gathering at the municipal center.

The finalists are from outside Colorado. Scott Ebner is the Deputy Superintendent of Administration for New Jersey State Police. David Franklin is the Chief of Staff at the Albuquerque Police Department. 

Ebner previously worked for the Cape Coral Police Department in Florida. He has a master’s degree in human resources management and training and a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. He graduated from the FBI National Academy. 

Franklin previously worked as Assistant Chief of Police at the University of Texas at Arlington Police Department for a year and the Texas Department of Public Safety for 25 years, where he started as a trooper and sergeant and departed as an executive commander and captain. He has an education in criminal justice including a master’s degree focusing on homeland security issues. He graduated from the FBI National Academy and served in the U.S. Marine Corps.

RELATED: 1 of 3 finalists in Aurora police chief search drops out after announcement

Residents were able to go up to both candidates and ask any questions they’d like. Many asked how they would build trust in the community after the death of Elijah McClain. 

"I know the tensions between the community and the department have been fractured," Ebner said. "That is a challenge for whoever the chief is to repair that fracture, and that is one of my goals."

"We got to have voices that haven’t been heard, and if they haven’t been heard before by other chiefs," Franklin said. "Know I have an open policy. If we can’t communicate, we can’t fix."

While community members were able to ask any question they wanted to, a city employee told journalists they had a combined one minute to talk to one of the finalists.

9NEWS' second interview, with the other candidate, was not interrupted by a city employee.

"We certainly appreciated the media presence at tonight’s meet-and-greet, and welcomed it. However, the meet-and-greet was designed for community members to have informal, one-on-one conversations with the candidates, and some of them approached us and said they felt like they were being overshadowed by media questions. As you know, we always strive to balance the interests of all members of the community which include media members. We hope you understand," a City of Aurora spokesperson said. 

9NEWS wanted to ask questions to the finalists because some community members have shared concerns about this process. They worry about the lack of diversity and they wish the community was more involved.

> Watch interviews conducted by community members.

RELATED: Aurora interim police chief says 'things are improving' after extended period of turmoil


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