Thornton goes to Milwaukee for new chief

Terrence Gordon picked to lead Thornton Police Department

Staff Report
Posted 10/21/20

Thornton has selected a former Assistant Chief of Police in Milwaukee to lead the department, city officials announced Oct. 16. The city announced that City Manager Kevin Woods selected Terrence …

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Thornton goes to Milwaukee for new chief

Terrence Gordon picked to lead Thornton Police Department

Posted

Thornton has selected a former Assistant Chief of Police in Milwaukee to lead the department, city officials announced Oct. 16.

The city announced that City Manager Kevin Woods selected Terrence Gordon as Thornton’s new Chief of Police. Gordon replaces Police Chief Randy Nelson, who announced his retirement effective June. 1.

“The position of Police Chief is an exceptionally important position for any city and so we took the necessary time to select not only the most qualified, but also the best fit for our community and police department,” Woods said in a written statement. “Former Police Chief Randy Nelson, who led and served Thornton PD for over 43 years, left a legacy of honor and principled leadership. We knew finding his successor would be challenging.”

The city looked across the country for the new chief, narrowing their choices down to three candidates from Arizona and Washington State, as well as Gordon. The search culminated in a live interview with the candidates and City Councilors and Thornton officers on Sept. 16. Those interviews were followed later that day with a community virtual forum with Thornton residents.

In his written statement, City Manager Woods said Gordon was first choice among all three groups.

“Terrence comes to us with a long and stellar record of leadership among the Milwaukee police department as well as the Milwaukee community,” Woods wrote. “He has built an impressive resume as a senior community leader and has a unique and deep understanding of community policing. Chief Gordon will be a valuable addition to our Police Department and we are all excited and eager for him to begin.”

Gordon holds a bachelor’s degree in business and public administration as well as a master’s degree in criminal justice from Boston University. He is a graduate of the Police Executive Research Forum’s Senior Management Institute for Police.

He joined the Milwaukee Police Department in 1995, worked in Sensitive Crimes/Crimes against Children, Violent Crimes, and Homicide Divisions, served as a crisis negotiator and supervisor of the Crisis Negotiators Unit. Gordon was promoted to captain in May 2010, and promoted to commander in 2011, served as the training director at the Police Academy, and was promoted to Assistant Chief.

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