From Seminole Heights killings to navigating the pandemic, Chief Dugan will step down after 4 years

Brian Dugan hit the ground running. He had to.

It was November of 2017 and he had been interim police chief for five months. Four people were randomly shot dead in Seminole Heights over 51 days.

"The entire department, the entire community [was] looking to me for answers," he explained.

It would be the highest-profile challenge his department would face, culminating in the arrest of Howell Trae Donaldson III, who has yet to stand trial.

He was named chief by then-mayor Bob Buckhorn because of how he oversaw the investigation and how he interacted with the community.

A relationship that was tested during civil unrest that spawned from agitators who, police said, stole the spotlight from legitimate protestors during protests of the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

"The big challenge departments have now is how do we communicate with our communities?" he said. "How do we tell them what we do? Why do we do it? So, we are not over-policing."

The next chief is to-be-determined, but without being specific, Dugan said there is a strong internal candidate. He does not want to weigh in specifically on who he wants the next chief to be, because that decision will be up to the mayor.

His last day is Friday. The department will be led by Assistant Chief Ruben Delgado for now.

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Here's Dugan's advice.

"I can be a little too candid. I think the next chief is going to have to be a little more politically correct," Dugan said.

His blunt nature was honed during decades of patrol and hands-on police work. Being chief put that personality in the open.

He's retiring on his own terms, after living his dream, one he never expected would take him to the top.

"The joke is when you are chief of police, you age in dog years. I can certainly tell you that is accurate," Dugan explained. "It just became time. All I ever wanted to do was be a police officer."