Miami Beach's New Police Chief Left Behind Plenty of Conflict in Colorado

Categories: News

dan_oates_white_house_photo_2.jpg
Photo by Pete Souza/White House
Dan Oates, center, meets with President Obama after the Aurora shootings.
Just before noon July 20, 2012, Aurora, Colorado police chief Dan Oates stood before a microphone in the parking lot outside the suburban Century 16 movie theater where, less than 12 hours earlier, a maniac in a gas mask had thrown smoke bombs and opened fire during a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises.

It was a clear summer day, and Oates, a hefty, serious man in his early 50s whose short-cropped gray hair was covered by a low blue police cap, was surrounded by a horde of reporters and distraught officials. His face somber and his tone authoritative, he gave the world the update it was waiting for. "Our suspect's name is James Eagan Holmes," he began. "Our best available counts on injuries as of right now -- is that 71 people were shot. And that 12 are deceased."

Just short of two years later, on April 30, Miami Beach commissioners unanimously approved Oates as the city's police chief. But to most of America he'll likely always be known for the role he played in Aurora. After the massacre -- which instantly went down as one of the nation's most notorious murder sprees -- Oates quickly emerged as the capable face of the tragedy's widely lauded response.

"Chief Oates has been dealing with a set of circumstances as difficult as any law enforcement official deals with," an emotional President Obama said minutes after meeting with the families of victims. "And he and his officers have done everything right."

But what neither the president nor any other Dan Oates backer wants to talk about -- at least publicly -- are the controversies the 34-year law enforcement veteran faced out West: the 2011 police shooting of three unarmed Aurora youths; the hellish June 2012 intersection stop; the discovery last June that Oates' department had accidentally destroyed DNA evidence from dozens of potential rape cases.

For Miami Beach, a city still struggling with a public image problem after its own rash of recent scandals, the Colorado controversies raise questions about whether the law-and-order hero from Aurora is the right man to lead a turnaround.

"This new chief needs to come in here and change the entire culture," says Steve Berke, an activist and former mayoral ­candidate. "I would say the reputation of the police department exists for a reason."

Oates was born in Hackensack, New Jersey, in 1955. Growing up, he "never once thought about being a cop," he says. "Ever." He studied English at Bucknell University in central Pennsylvania, where he edited the college newspaper, and upon graduation began a career in journalism, eventually landing a job as a copyeditor at Popular Mechanics. But Oates didn't like the work and planned to go to law school.

Then one day in 1979, he heard a radio ad that the New York Police Department was hiring. Oates was intrigued; he talked to an uncle on the force and decided to visit a Midtown Manhattan precinct where he found an officer at an elevated desk near the entry. "Very intimidating," Oates says. "I walk in and I ask for an application. 'Here you are, kid.' he says."

A year or so later, Oates got the job. He opted out of a law program he was scheduled to begin the same evening and then spent the next 21 years rising through the ranks of the NYPD. (He would graduate from law school in 1986.) He and his wife Nancy, a graphic designer, also adopted two girls from Paraguay, now 20 and 18, and Oates took up a new sport. "I'm a hockey nut," he says.

In 2001 he became police chief of Ann Arbor, Michigan, and four years later took the job as top cop in Aurora, a leafy, ethnically diverse city of 340,000 just east of Denver. In Oates' first week, the department carried out a massive manhunt for Aarone Thompson, a 6-year-old girl who had been reported as a runaway. But when evidence wasn't stacking up, the new chief -- in a preview of his direct style -- publicly challenged the girl's uncooperative parents: "If they truly care about Aarone as they say they do," Oates told a swarm of news cameras, "they need to speak to us at this time."

Several days later, police discovered the girl had in fact been dead for months; her father was eventually sentenced to 114 years for serial child abuse. Over the next five years, Oates oversaw a 30 percent crime reduction, further burnishing his reputation as an effective enforcer.

But by 2011, Aurora PD was also cementing another reputation -- for heavy-handedness. Civil rights critics linked a spate of officer-involved shootings to the chief. "A fish rots from the head down," says David Lane, an attorney who has frequently sparred with Oates. "If he has a culture of tolerance of excessive force by police officers, that shows itself from time to time."


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20 comments
schotzi93
schotzi93

I heard he has already turned up side down MB, and big rumors here, are that the officers have a sick stomach like Aurora Police Department officers and City Staff. Really....Oates thinks the City really liked him but they had to show respect which he knows nothing about but spoke to a few and RELIEF was their exact word.

I am not shy nor afraid and the stories I write are so he made me angry when he fukd around with my husband's career which effected the family.

He had no concern for officer's wives and children like he did not mine when he jerked my husband around for a shooting in 2011, that was an unfortunate situation but the 3 adult men decide to jump in a stolen truck to flee heading right at two Aurora Police officers killing the driver Oleg, and the suspect behind the driver was hit and paralyzed but the front passenger not a scratch. Those men chose their own fate Falco survived from a moving TOWARDS these officer's at night and no where to go ......this happened in 43 seconds, per John Priest a world wide reenactment specialist. Priest told Danni Oates, these was a good shooting with the officers having no choice to save their lives.

Oates police policy will kill an officer unless they can do a Matrix jump but they don't teach that in the academy. It should have some open stipulations; if in a wide open walmart parking good options, small junky cluttered and dark fenced in car lot, the only tight way in--' is the only tight was out. Uummmmm

Oates had an evil obsession to make Officer Falco an example and they was bad blood to began with husband did not have any brown on his nose, that's why. I would have done the same and fighting up against OATES really pist ed him off. Are criminals on streets more important than our officers to OATES?

We'll, I will say he makes their job harder with all his rules leaving no open cracks I would say, all he is doing is harassing the officers and keeping them from performing their job....just the Ferguson Protestor's !! They just need to stop crying wolf, or don't get in trouble???

schotzi93
schotzi93

Oates could be facing a huge Civil Law suit on slander, harassment, lying under oath and so much more and hoping early 2015? OATES IS AN OATH BREAKER.

schotzi93
schotzi93

Hey Trevor Bach, if you haven't by now you and Dave Perry from AURORA Sentinel should have lunch and talk about your delusional comments of false stories, and lies and good officers doing good work even to save their lives and don't be consumed by Oates, like Dave Perry. Just stay behind your papers and edit true fact stories. Office Falco is back to work when the two remaining suspects should have went to prison for attempted murder on two cops in Aurora, Colorado. The stolen tundra cab truck was trying to mow down two cops which MEANS TOWARDS them. These 3 suspects have been hitting that car lot for years and committing these crimes in stolen tundra trucks.

Get your story straight how about you get the transcripts, the officers were cleared and those thugs chose their own fate by refusing police commands instead they job in a stolen truck, does this makes sense to a smart editor or a brown nose hacker editor?

Uummmmm.........

schotzi93
schotzi93

Yep, Oates left a huge mess and not in a good way, the families of the theater shooting some I got to know said, Oates was phony a was in front of cameras sucking it in with all the president and very import people, that the families said, he does not care and wanted him gone from the community. Talk to anyone and you will get a mouth full. Trevor Bach, come visit and get the facts buddy!

schotzi93
schotzi93

Are you serious......the officers shot at the front of the vehicle the bullet went from front to back on the driver Oleg, his passenger behind the driver was shot on the side has he must have been looking at the drivers actions he was paralyzed, the front passenger was never hit. John Priest an expert on vehicle moving shooting stated the shots were in front as vehicle was attempted to run over officers. Why don't you pull the transcripts instead of listening to OATES or the Suspects......really. They refused loud police commands decide to jump in a flee but the huge problem was is that the officers were on foot and near the way out. The suspects are grown men and on video one states he told Oleg to stop, and Oleg stated his either has warrants or probation but either way this was attempted murder on officer's those adult men chose their own fate by complying and going to jail by jumping in a truck and see head lights and a roaring loud motor coming at you my grandma would have shot for her life.

The officer's Falco & McIrvin were cleared and it was proven that Falco shot the driver in the head from front to bullet in brain and the person behind him was moving behind Oleg and was hit by Officer McIrvin weapon. We don't have sloppy cops shooters, or trigger happy. It wasn't , who lives who dies but officers prefer no shooting or killing, but that's not the case here. Do your home work get transcripts and facts before you and suspects have diarrhea of the mouth. They have been hitting that place for years and was in a large huge stolen Tundra truck. Colorado Law states you can shoot at a moving vehicle if your are faced with bodily harm or deadly force however Oates is not the State, so he tried to make this cops life miserable and wanted to break him but never happened Officer Falco fought for his justice and won Oates was pist again narcissistic people don't take this well. I see Oates already put that in place let's see to we bury a cop that's mowed down or violate a piece of paper. I also see he took away off duty at bars he did that here and the cops were busier when bars closing a total mess.

I am glad my husband chose to come home that night instead of being crushed by criminals.

Stolen truck was going towards them not away, suspects refuse police commands and long police records. This was not murder, not even close it's policemen doing their job. Auto Mechanic's Were Sick Of Cars Parts Missing, A 9-1-1 Call And Officers responding is very normal what's not normal is the Russians who hate police, america, and Minorities should have listen to the police and none of this would have happened. .....does this sound about right you smart figure it out. Oates leaves, the officer is back to work. Life is good here in Aurora, Colorado. God bless your police agency he will destroy the moral and is very sneaky.

schotzi93
schotzi93

YEAH, HE PUT MY FAMILY THRU SOME REALLY HARD TIMES FOR DOING THEIR JOB BUT I KNOW ONE THING THAT OATES OR ANY COP WOULD HAVE DONE THAT SAME THAT NIGHT WHEN A STOLEN TUNDRA CAB 6500LBS WEAPON IS FLOORING ENGINE COMING RIGHT AT YOU AND YOU HAVE SECONDS WITH NO WHERE TO GO.....

OATES WOULD HAVE AND APD OFFICERS ALREADY SAID, FALCO DID WHAT HE HAD TO DO. I KNOW OATES WOULD HAVE PULLED HIS GUN AND FIRED EVEN THOUGH HE HAS NEVER BEEN A REAL COP.

SO, I READ THE TRASH ON FALCO BUT IF YOU WANT THE FACTS ABOUT FALCO SHOOTING GET THE TRANSCRIPTS AND YOU CAN FROM THE COURT HOUSE AND STOP THE INCORRECT EDITING. NOW, MIAMI BEACH HAS THE DEVIL AND GOOD LUCK, IF NOT NOW IN TIME YOU'LL SEE AND LIVE HIS CONTROL AND HE WILL HURT MANY LIVES. ...HIS OWN POLICE MEN & WOMEN LIVES. MRS.FALCO

schotzi93
schotzi93

GUESS HOW OATES GOT HIS INTERVIEW WITH MIAMI BEACH PD., LORD KNOWS THAT MAN CANT DO ANY GOOD FOR HIMSELF BUY MAYOR MORALES HAS A BROTHER HERE WHO IS THE D.A , NAME PETER AND I AM SURE PETER HAS OATES UNDERNEATH HIS WING FOREVER TO GET HIM OUT OF AURORA.

I ONCE EMAILED AURORA CITY STAFF TO MAYOR HOGAN, SKIP NOE, CHARLIE RICHARDSON, PETER MORALES, THAT WHEN SHIT HERE IS GETTING TOOO HOT FOR OATES CONTROL THAT HE STIRRED UP HE WILL LEAVE DODGE QUICK. DENVER POLICE DID NOT WANT HIM, SAN JOSE CALIFORNIA DID NOT WANT HIM AND ONLY GOD KNOWS WHERE HE APPLIED TO WALK OUT OF HIS OWN SHIT NOT WEARING BOOTS.

schotzi93
schotzi93

I HEARD OATES HIRED A DIVISION CHIEF BLACK FEMALE FROM TEXAS WHILE ALL OF YOU WELL QUALIFIED ONES WERE WAITING IN LINE THAT'S HOW HE WORKS. HOW MANY MIAMI BEACH WERE QUALIFIED AND WHO GOES OUTSIDE TO GET ONE.....ITS ALL POLITICAL, WHO DOES THIS TO THEIR MEN OR WOMEN.

DONT CROSS HIM BECAUSE YOU WILL PAY AND GET TRANSFERRED QUICK AND YOU CANT DO A DAM THING ABOUT IT.

schotzi93
schotzi93

Oates is an Oath Breaker....... I speak for a lot of street cops and Oates kept his brass monkeys to do his dirty work, if he would ask them.

Ask Oates about Lt. DALUZ, HOLTE, SWANSON, MANGINO, AND A FEW MORE......YOU WON GET THE TRUTH ALL YOU GET IS TRASH ABOUT ME BUT YOU SEE I AM NOT STUPID AND NOR IS MY HUSBAND BUT THESE ARE HIS BRASS BADGE FRIENDS THAT DID HORRIBLE THINGS AND THEY SUFFERED WITH NO CONSEQUENCES UNLIKE THE TORTURE OF A PATROLMAN.

OATES IS TOXIC, AS HE STATED THAT TO MY HUSBAND OFFICER FALCO AND WHY IS BECAUSE FALCO HAD THE SMARTS, MEANS, AND TRUTH TO FIGHT OATES ALL THE WAY AND IT PIST HIM OFF SO TOXIC FITS OATES BETTER.

schotzi93
schotzi93

Oates did on fact leave a huge mess here but in the worse way. My husband a 20 year veteran police officer and I know a lot of Aurora cops & wives and the talk at every event gets worse about Dan Oates aka: John Gotti want a be.

schotzi93
schotzi93

Oates is a narcissistic political man who is dangerous to any police agency. Ex-Mayor Rudolph was said about Oates in Ann Arbor is that with charm you while he's stabbing you in the back stating he is very dangerous to any police department. I have the transcripts of my husband's police shooting in Aurora, Colorado of March 2011, and you will read an complete story then what your editing here which 100% not true. Officer Falco would have died that night being crushed up an old Chevy Pickup just as I advised Oates, that maybe if they trained officers to do a matrix job then he would not had shot at a vehicle driving TOWARDS him not away. The 3 suspects were yelled police hands up turn motor off in seconds they all jump in and head towards these officers. Oates, in February 2011, put into the police directives No officer cannot shoot into a moving vehicle but there is no stipulations or under any other circumstances, so this shooting took place one month later and Oates wanted to make an example of my husband and torment his career because he could and he loved every time that he did because it only hurt our family. These were 24, 26, and 28 year old men not youths grown men who had been hitting that place for years and refused only to attempt murder on two officers. You want to talk and get the facts email me, and I will tell you more about what Oates didn't do to his friend Lt.Jack Daluz who was caught stalking and sexual harassment on a female civilian, whom filed charges. Oates moves the victim to another job leaves this Lt Daluz at D3, tells him to resign with full benefits and pay or I have to fire you.....truth. what choices did he give patrolman making less nearly survived being crushed? Until, this day my husband won every battle while Oates lost and still Oates left his toxic ways that my husband applied for numerous other positions, tested and still was refused. We are seeking a civil suit on Oates and Aurora Sentinel, whom Oates used to edit in the paper to slander what my husband did not do, and was cleared, cleated, cleared, and cleared and this pist off Oates because no one wins but him. Is that a narcissistic man and a controlling one.

schotzi93
schotzi93

The. March 2011, officers shooting at moving vehicle in a car lot was Adults with police records and the vehicle was not driving away, it was headed towards these officer's Falco & McIrvin whom feared their life with a stolen Tundra Truck Cab 6500lbs of deadly force the officers had no where to go in this small, dark, cluttered fenced in parking lot full of cars and the only way in -- was the only way out.

Get your story straight. ..... Mrs. Falco

Coloradojmf@gmail.com

native_new_yorker
native_new_yorker

This happens every few years... City managers get all fuzzy at these New Yaawk accents and the lingo...  REACH OUT...Fagedaboutit... Yuse (you) and so on...


I find this strange way to select a chief...  I have to ask...but for the Aurora shootings...would this guy have been selected? It's as though a mass shooting somehow raises the stock value...I don't get that either.


Anyway...let's give Dude a chance...

DRAKEMALLARD.0
DRAKEMALLARD.0 topcommenter

If a man is smiling all the time he's probably selling something that doesn't work.

Tony Prieto
Tony Prieto

Wait til he makes it to the big leagues of Miami Beach, where cops shoot black dudes just because.

DrumRollPlease
DrumRollPlease

The police union controls the city.  Miami Beach is a dirty tourist city which is declining by the second.  List all the lawsuits against the city of Miami Beach and show the public what is going on. 

schotzi93
schotzi93

No chance, you and MB police department just shook hands with the devil, as a matter of fact the families that I know of the shootings were disgusted in him and the Community with the Aurora Police Department are so glad that Oates is MB'S problem, sorry but true.

schotzi93
schotzi93

Just Ex-Mayor Rudolph Giuliani once stated and I have the clipping is that, Oates will use his charm while he is stabbing you in the back and this was in Ann Arbor.

That's why he always smiles behind that smile is a crooked man he was never a cop he is a politician and he'll play games with all that department lives by his intimadation like he did here for toooo long and the community couldn't be any happier. He will destroy Miami Beach Department and Moral.

schotzi93
schotzi93

Oh, now that the Ferguson may ham is going on .....don't put yourself in any shooting situation you'll pay the price. Oates would rather have you die as an officer then deal the the public or paperwork. I have known him for years and we are good people little, in his eyes enough to want to destroy because he can....but he lost because officer Falco fought him all the way and has been back at his job for some time while Oates leaves his mess behind.....so true.

schotzi93
schotzi93

Oh, sure with Dan Oates it will be worse trust me. Wife of an Aurora Cop, Officer Falco shooting at moving vehicle coming fast in seconds TOWARDS him and his partner with no where to go and seconds to decide who leaves or dies? My husband's LIFE was less valuable than the crooks on the street that night. OATES WILL DESTROY COPS CAREERS AND WILL SLEEP GOOD AT NIGHT WHILE YOUR FIGURING ON HOW YOU WILL LIVE WITH CHILDREN OR GRAND CHILDREN.

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