AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – The Aurora Police Department’s Deputy Chief Paul O’Keefe- who was slated to become interim chief in a week- withdrew his name from consideration Tuesday afternoon and announced his retirement, indicating his moves were due to the case of Nate Meier, an officer who was found drunk on the job earlier this year.
“It is my intention that by removing myself from this interim position, that the men and women of the Aurora Police Department will ultimately be able to move beyond the negative depiction currently being broadcast and be recognized for the exceptional professionals that they truly are”, said O’Keefe, in a Christmas Eve letter to city administrators.
The Deputy Chief also said he would be retiring effective March 31, 2020. O’Keefe had been named interim Chief and was slated to take over for retiring Chief Nick Metz, who is leaving as of December 31st.
But O’Keefe had been wrapped up in the controversy surrounding Officer Nate Meier, who was found drunk, on duty and at the wheel of an Aurora police vehicle in March.
O’Keefe was one of the first officers on the scene and made the decision not to pursue a DUI case against Meier saying there didn’t appear to be enough evidence and he thought Meier might have been in the midst of a medical event.
Later testing showed Meier’s blood alcohol was at least five times over the legal limit for DUI, according to Aurora police sources familiar with the case.
Although Meier was not charged with a DUI, he was demoted, but remains with the department.
Metz has said he has no regrets about how he handled the case.
The City of Aurora has announced an independent investigation into what occurred and Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler said he too is examining the decision making process.
O’Keefe did not immediately respond to an email from CBS4.