The Mesa City Manager’s Office has narrowed the search for a new police chief to four candidates.

The candidates include interim Chief Michael Dvorak, a Tucson police assistant chief and two former chiefs from Texas and California.

The  new chief will replace former Chief John Meza, who retired in December.

Mesa City Manager Chris Brady announced the candidates Thursday afternoon in a news release that included information on their backgrounds.

In addition to Dvorak, the candidates include:

  • Jose Banales, police chief, Texas State University Police Department. He’s also a former assistant chief of the San Antonio Police Department, where he worked for 33 years. 
  • Ramon Batista, assistant chief, Tucson Police Department. Batista has been with the department for 31 years and rose to the position of assistant chief in 2014. 
  • Robert Davis, former chief, San Jose Police Department. Davis currently serves as the senior vice president of the Hillard Hentze Corp., and oversees law-enforcement consulting services. He worked as a San Jose police officer for 21 years and served as chief from 2004-10.

“I am excited that we have four very qualified individuals who have the knowledge, skills and experience to lead our police department. All the candidates who have participated are strong leaders and represent the best in their field,” Brady said in a prepared statement.

All four candidates were recommended by two community panels representing business, neighborhood and civic interests. They will next make presentations to the Mesa Police Department staff, interview with a peer panel of department officials and meet with Mayor John Giles and the City Council.

A community open house to meet the candidates is scheduled for May 4 at 5 p.m. at the Mesa Convention Center’s Palo Verde Ballroom, located at 263 N. Center St.

“As has been our practice, we wanted to make sure the selection and screening process involved a diverse community input.” Brady said. “This position is critical to our quality of life and so the public’s participation is crucial.”

Meza retired in December 2016 after 30 years of service with the department. He became the interim police chief in February 2015 after Gov. Doug Ducey tapped then-Chief Frank Milstead to lead the Arizona Department of Public Safety. Meza was officially appointed to the position in April 2015 following a west Mesa shooting spree that killed one and wounded five.

A nationwide search for Meza’s successor was launched in the months that followed his retirement, after Dvorak, a 29-year veteran of the department, was appointed interim chief.

In December, the city announced the appointment of its 19th fire chief, Mary Cameli, who previously served as an assistant chief.

Additional information about the police chief candidates can be found at the city of Mesa’s website.

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