Englewood appoints new police chief

Chief John Collins retiring after four decades of service; Deputy Chief Sam Watson to take helm

Ellis Arnold
earnold@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 8/9/21

Englewood Police Chief John Collins has announced his retirement from the force after 43 years of service, making way for Sam Watson, the city’s deputy police chief, to take over beginning Aug. …

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Englewood appoints new police chief

Chief John Collins retiring after four decades of service; Deputy Chief Sam Watson to take helm

Posted

Englewood Police Chief John Collins has announced his retirement from the force after four decades of service, making way for Sam Watson, the city’s deputy police chief, to take over beginning Aug. 20, according to a news release.

Collins came to the Englewood Police Department in 1978 and served the city over the span of 43 years, with a short stint as an 18th Judicial District investigator. Collins "came back to Englewood after about 18 months because I missed being a police officer," he told the Englewood Herald years ago. Collins became Englewood’s police chief in 2011.

Watson began his service to the Englewood Police Department in 1988 as a patrol officer and has since assisted in the creation of “alternative policing programs” such as school resource officer, victims’ assistance, nuisance abatement team and restorative justice programs, according to the Aug. 9 news release.

He was also responsible for the integration of code enforcement and the city Fire Marshal’s Office into the police department, the release said.

Watson has served as deputy police chief since 2017, and in his capacity with police command staff, he has supervised the operations of the three police divisions, including Patrol Operations, Special Operations and Support Services, according to the release.

Watson was also integral to executing the design and construction of the new Englewood police headquarters, the release said. An April 2019 ceremony celebrated the opening of the new building.

During his time as deputy chief, Watson also served as the City of Englewood’s designated incident commander for the COVID-19 crisis, according to the release.

“I am very proud to be able to serve with and next to the fine men and women of our police department, who are the most dedicated and hard-working people I know,” Watson said in the release. “Every member of our department, both sworn officers and non-sworn employees, are members of our team, and this is what makes this department great. Policing is a difficult and challenging profession, although with the strong support we have from our community it is very rewarding.”

“Sam is the right person at the right time for our police department and the community as a whole,” Shawn Lewis, Englewood’s city manager, said in the release. “Englewood Police Department has done exceptional but challenging work through our police reform process, the Tri-Cities Homelessness Policy Committee, our award-winning partnerships with AllHealth for mental health and substance abuse and much more. This success is due to strong leadership at the top and throughout the Englewood Police Department.”

After the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police last year, the Englewood Police Department took steps to continue its commitment to “continuous review of policing policies and community engagement,” Tim Dodd, Englewood's assistant to the city manager, said previously. The city established a Police Reform Task Force in August 2020 to provide city council with recommendations regarding training, hiring and discipline, use-of-force policies and procedures, and alternate policing.

The mention in the Aug. 9 news release of the Tri-Cities Homelessness Policy Group is a reference to a partnership between Englewood, Sheridan and Littleton, formed to address issues of homelessness in the region.

In 2018, the three cities convened the group, a collaboration consisting of mayors, city managers, and representatives of numerous other agencies and charity groups.

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