Mesa City Manager Chris Brady announced April 20 that the search for a new police chief has been narrowed to four finalists. The individuals moving to the next steps and final interviews in the selection process are current Mesa Police Department Interim Chief Michael Dvorak; Jose Banales, chief of police for the Texas State University Police Department; Ramon Batista, assistant chief of police for the Tucson Police Department; and Robert Davis, senior vice president and practice lead for law enforcement consulting services and former chief of police for the San Jose Police Department.
“The candidates interviewed during this recruitment are public safety professionals with superior credentials and experience.” City Manager Chris Brady said in a press release. “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.”
The four finalists were recommended by two community panels made up of a wide range of individuals representing diverse business, neighborhood and civic interests. The next steps in the interview process will include presentations by the candidates to Mesa Police Department civilian and sworn staff followed by an interview with a peer panel of City department heads and meetings with the Mayor and City Council members. In addition, a community open house for the public will be held 5-7 p.m. Thursday, May 4, at the Mesa Convention Center’s Palo Verde Ballroom, 263 N. Center St.
“As has been our practice, we wanted to make sure the selection and screening process involved a diverse community input,” Mr. Brady said in the release. “This position is critical to our quality of life and so the public’s participation is crucial.”
Brief bios for four finalists for Mesa Police Department chief:
- Jose Banales serves as the chief of Ppolice for the Texas State University Police Department and has been in this position since May 2016. Prior to Texas State University, he was with the San Antonio Police Department for 33 years. Most recently, from 2010-16, he served as an assistant chief of police. He has been responsible for the Operations Bureau, which included the Patrol and Street Crimes Division as well as the Operations Support Bureau, which included the following division: Investigations, Terrorism and Criminal Intelligence, Communications and Tactical Support. Mr. Banales has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice management from Texas State University and a master’s degree in management and leadership from Webster University.
- Ramon Batista is an assistant chief of police for the Tucson Police Department. He has been with TPD for 31 years and in the position of assistant police chief since 2014. As an assistant chief, he has been responsible for the Patrol Bureau and now oversees the Investigative Bureau, which is comprised of the following areas: crime lab, evidence processing center, identification center and all detectives. Mr. Batista has a bachelor’s degree in public safety and emergency management from Grand Canyon University and a master’s degree in leadership from Grand Canyon University.
- Robert Davis is the senior vice president and practice lead for law enforcement consulting services and a subject matter expert at Hillard Hentze Corp., providing consulting services dedicated to advancing excellence in policing and public safety services. He spent 21 years with the San Jose Police Department and from 2004-10 served as the chief of police at the SJPD where he oversaw a department of 1,272 sworn police officers, with an additional 414 non-sworn employees. Mr. Davis has a bachelor’s of arts degree with honors in English from San Jose State University and a master’s degree in public administration from Golden Gate University, San Francisco.
- Michael Dvorak is the interim chief for the Mesa Police Department. He has been with the Mesa Police Department for 29 years and has served as the interim chief since December 2016. Prior to his position as interim chief, he was an assistant police chief responsible for the Investigations Bureau. He has also overseen the Forensic Services/Metro Resources Division as a deputy chief and the Support Services Bureau as an assistant chief. Mr. Dvorak has a bachelor’s degree in justice studies from Arizona State University and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Northern Arizona University.