“I stand by the decisions I made that night”: Boulder’s Interim Police Chief speaks on his career after the death of Elijah McClain


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    Redfearn! Jackie Sedley

The Boulder Police Department has been in a period of transition since early January, when the City announced that then-Police Chief Maris Herold was stepping down to take a position with the Department of Justice’s Law Enforcement Knowledge Lab. Since then, Stephen Redfearn has been acting as Interim Chief. Redfearn was employed at the Boulder Police Department in 2021 as Deputy Chief of Operations.

Redfearn has made headlines for his involvement with the murder of 23-year-old Elijah McClain, who died in 2019 following a violent encounter with Aurora police. They were responding to a 911 call about a “sketchy” person in the area. McClain did not commit any crime.

Boulder Deputy Chief Stephen Redfearn was one of many witnesses in the trials. He worked at the Aurora Police Department for 22 years, and was a captain there at the time of McClain’s death. During his testimony for the investigation into McClain’s death, he said he changed call logs for the dispatch call from “suspicious person” to “assault on an officer,” based on information given to him from officers. He said he was properly following Critical Incident Protocol.

Redfearn’s involvement in the murder of McClain, as well as other aspects of his time both at the Aurora Police Department and at the Boulder Police Department thus far, have drawn criticism from community leaders and residents of Boulder. NAACP’s Boulder County Branch called for his resignation late last year, to no avail. NAACP Boulder also asked the Police Oversight Panel to look into Redfearn’s background based on his behavior and testimony related to McClain’s murder. To KGNU’s knowledge, that never transpired.

KGNU’s Jackie Sedley sat down with Redfearn, as well as the City of Boulder’s Director of Communication and Engagement Sarah Huntley. They discussed his goals as Interim Chief, his desire to become permanent Chief once the hiring process kicks into gear, his perspective on his past at the Aurora Police Department, and more.

Jackie Sedley

Jackie Sedley


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