City manager appoints deputy chief as interim chief, effective Jan. 22

After bringing her groundbreaking data-driven and reform strategies to Boulder, Police Chief Maris Herold will now take them to the national level as part of the Department of Justice (DOJ) Law Enforcement Knowledge Lab.

The Knowledge Lab was launched by the DOJ’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) in April 2022 to promote fair and effective policing practice in departments across the country. The lab serves as a “one-stop-shop” for reliable guidance, modern policies, the sharing of best practices, training and technical assistance for departments across the country.

Herold will help improve policing practices across the country. Specifically, she will advise and support the Knowledge Lab’s efforts to provide evidence-based, innovative, fair, and accessible resources to U.S., state and local criminal justice practitioners, stakeholders, and communities.

She will transition to this role on Monday, Jan. 22. It is a two-year commitment.

"It has been an honor and privilege to serve the Boulder community and the outstanding professionals who serve within the Boulder Police Department,” Herold said. “I will always carry with me the sacrifice and brave response to the King Soopers mass casualty event on March 20, 2021. I am humbled by the opportunity to serve my profession at a national level and continue to promote the importance of fair and effective policing.”

Herold’s work will continue through the Reimagine Policing Plan

City Manager Nuria Rivera-Vandermyde said Herold, who has dedicated more than 30 years to policing, has brought an informed and transformative vision to her profession at a critical time. Many of the principles of this vision are included in the recently adopted Reimagine Policing Plan, which will continue to guide the Boulder Police Department’s work.

“Chief Herold was what our community and our police department needed, and the changes she has made with a focus on problem-oriented policing will be felt for years to come. We’re all thankful for the strategies she has implemented here in Boulder and wish her the best as she takes this approach to an even bigger audience,” Rivera-Vandermyde said.

Herold was Boulder’s first female police chief. She has served our community since April 2020, leading the agency through one of the most challenging times in policing history, as well as the devastating local impacts caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and the 2021 mass shooting at the Table Mesa King Soopers.

Herold has forged a unique path throughout an expansive career that began as a social worker, sexual assault investigator and a juvenile psychiatric intake worker. She became a police officer at the Cincinnati Police Department in 1993. Throughout her tenure at CPD and in Boulder, Herold developed and implemented several notable initiatives, including mental health response teams, numerous place-based crime reduction efforts, and new trainings to support an ethical and constitutional police response. She has been a champion of holistic governance and deepened working relationships with other city departments to address complex community needs, including those associated with homelessness and substance abuse.

During her service in Boulder, Chief Herold has earned numerous distinctions, including:

  • The 2023 Excellence in Policing Award from Radford University. This award recognizes police leaders who champion innovative strategies and bring about change and improve policing. Link:
  • The Community Service Award from PLAN-Boulder County in September 2023 for exemplary leadership and engagement between the community and the police department.
  • The 2022 International Herman Goldstein Award for excellence in Problem-Oriented Policing for her problem-solving efforts to prevent crime.
  • Induction into the Evidence-Based Policing Hall of Fame in June 2022 in recognition of her lifelong efforts implementing evidence-based strategies from Cincinnati to Boulder.
  • The Jerry D. McMorris Community MVP Award presented by University of Colorado Coach Karl Dorrell in 2021.

Herold, who holds a master’s degree in criminal justice from Xavier University in Cincinnati, is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and the Police Executive Research Forum’s Senior Management Institute for Police.

Deputy Chief Stephen Redfearn to step up as interim chief.

Interim Chief of Police Redfearn headshot

As the Boulder Police Department prepares for this change, the city wants to assure staff and community members that the department is committed to moving forward on its Reimagine Policing Plan. To support a smooth transition, Rivera-Vandermyde has appointed Stephen Redfearn, who currently serves as deputy chief of operations, as interim police chief, effective Jan. 22.

Redfearn is respected as a leader within the department and Colorado as well as a subject matter expert who teaches across the country on topics such as leadership and active shooter response, He played a core role in developing the commitments in Boulder’s Reimagine Policing Plan. He has been instrumental in implementing new training, updating operational policies, and setting an expectation around the vision for problem-solving, community-focused policing. He also serves as the department’s liaison to the LGBTQ+ community and is the president of the Colorado Fallen Hero Foundation.

“Deputy Chief Redfearn and I have had many meaningful conversations about his commitment to transforming policing in Boulder,” Rivera-Vandermyde said, “and I’m confident that he has the deep relationships, professional experience and shared vision to create positive change. I appreciate his willingness to step into this important leadership role.”

Redfearn has a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice with a minor in sociology from Metropolitan State University and a Master of Science degree in organizational leadership from Colorado State University.

He came to the Boulder Police Department in fall 2021 with nearly 25 years of policing experience.

Redfearn started his law enforcement career as a cadet for the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department, where he later worked as a 911 dispatcher. Much of his career prior to Boulder was with the Aurora, Colorado, Police Department, where he served in a variety of progressively more influential roles, including Major Crimes, Homicide, Pattern Crimes and as the commanding officer of police district one.

Redfearn’s work in Aurora included significant time on patrol and in specialty areas including vice, narcotics and auto theft. In July 2012, Redfearn was among the first responders to the tragic Century 16 Theatre shooting, where he took an active role in overseeing triage and support for the victims as well as the arrest of the suspect.

In 2020, Redfearn was appointed as the executive officer assigned to the Aurora Department’s Emergency Response Team during a trying time in the city and surrounding areas. When he retired from Aurora in 2021, he was serving as the division chief of operations, where he managed more than 400 employees in patrol, district detectives, the field training program, and SWAT. Recently, Redfearn testified as a witness for the Attorney General’s Office in the prosecution of officers involved in the 2019 death of Elijah McClain.

In accepting the role of interim chief for Boulder, Redfearn said he looks forward to continuing the work that Herold and the entire team at BPD have been engaged in and is excited to further the department’s reputation as a top-tier police agency.

“I am genuinely humbled and honored to be entrusted with this new role. In the past two and a half years, I have daily been in awe of the compassionate, thoughtful, and professional policing that the men and women of this agency provide to our beloved community,” Redfearn said. “Together, we are uniquely positioned to model a positive path forward with policing that is equitable, effective, and in partnership with the community.”