The City of Delta has its next police chief. On Friday, Dec. 16, city manager David Torgler announced the selection of Lucas Fedler as chief of police.
The process began with five focus groups where community members were asked to identify the qualifications, experience and education they would like to see in Delta's next chief of police. The job was then posted and 18 applications were received. The list was whittled down to seven finalists who were invited to Delta for interviews and a meet-and-greet with community members.
At that meeting, Fedler said his "life is Delta."
"I've never been anywhere else. I don't plan on going anywhere else."
Fedler was born and raised in Delta. He and his wife Angela are both 1993 graduates of Delta High School. Angela is the director of the Delta Family Center; they have two children, a son who is serving in the U.S. Marine Corps and a daughter who is a sophomore at Delta High School.
"As a lifelong resident of Delta, I understand firsthand the challenges and struggles of this community. I also understand its wonderful attributes and the uniqueness we have here," he said at the meet-and-greet. "I understand what it takes to be a productive law enforcement officer in Delta because I've been here 16 years."
Fedler graduated from the law enforcement academy at Delta-Montrose Technical College and joined the Delta Police Department. He worked at the DPD for about six and a half years before moving to the Delta County Sheriff's Office, where he says he spent the last 10 years "as understudy to one of the most respected law enforcement officers in Delta County."
He earned a bachelor's degree in public management with a minor in criminal forensics from Colorado State University.
In his 16-year career, Fedler says he has worked nearly every aspect of the job, from bicycle patrol to SWAT callouts. He previously served as assistant commander of the DCSO/DPD joint SWAT team and is currently sergeant of investigations for the sheriff's office -- at least until Friday.
At the meet-and-greet, he wrapped up his remarks with the message he heard from citizens, businesses and organizations within the community: They want a chief with a local background who's invested in this community, not somebody who's here for just a couple of years and moves on to bigger and better things.
Fedler has vowed to be that chief.
His first day on the job is Jan. 2; he will be sworn in to office at the Jan. 3 meeting of the Delta City Council. Charles Kettle will remain interim chief of police until Fedler takes office.
"I'm extremely excited to get over to the Delta Police Department and get back to work," Fedler said. "I'm also humbled by the confidence everyone has placed in me, from the city manager to the department heads to the citizens of Delta."
Fedler said he will spent the first couple of weeks getting to know the DPD staff. "Some of them I know very well, others I don't know at all," he said. "I will also meet with some citizens as well as businesses and organizations throughout the area and either build or rebuild relationships with them."
Fedler said he has not yet determined what role Charles Kettle and Commander Jesse Cox will play in department operations. Both were also finalists for the job.
"They both reached out to me and let me know I had their full support," Fedler said. "The three of us will be discussing roles moving forward. They had ideas for this office, as well, and I welcome those ideas."