After 35 years with the department, Arvada Police Chief Link Strate announced his retirement on Dec. 1, effective Dec. 31.
APD Deputy Chief Ed Brady — who was a finalist for the position along with Strate when the position was last available in 2018— will begin serving as Interim Chief on Dec. 5.
A graduate of Northern Arizona University, Strate’s tenure with APD began in 1987 and spanned his entire professional career. He began as a patrol officer and worked his way through the department’s ranks, becoming a motorcycle officer early in his career and earning promotions from sergeant to commander to deputy chief.
He was named chief on June 2, 2018, succeeding now-Deputy City Manager Don Wick, who was chief for 10 years.
“It has been my greatest professional joy to serve as an Arvada police officer these past 35 years,” Strate said.
Over the course of his career, Strate worked to advance the JEFFCOM Regional Dispatch Center and Jefferson County Regional Crime Laboratory, encouraging the collection of DNA evidence to prosecute crimes that typically went undetected. He also helped lead the Jefferson County Critical Incident Response Team, which investigates officer-involved shootings.
The last two years brought scores of tragedies to the department. The Olde Town Arvada shooting in 2021 claimed the life of Arvada Police Officer Gordon Beesley, and APD Officer Dillon Vakoff was killed while responding to a domestic violence call earlier this year.
Arvada City Manager Lorie Gillis praised Strate’s leadership of the department during trying times and his involvement in the community.
”Over the past two years, through tragedy and healing, he has brought strength and compassion to the Police Department and the community,” Gillis said. “Link's dedication to leading the Department has never wavered. He has been a leader in areas beyond APD, facilitating the City Council’s strategic planning process and serving on the board of the Ralston House among other citywide committees.”
Strate’s predecessor Wick echoed Gillis’ sentiment and highlighted his commitment to the Arvada community.
"Having served with Link for more than 30 years, I am proud of Link’s accomplishments throughout his career with the Arvada Police Department,” Wick said. “Link’s commitment to the department and the community is exemplary. As a community, we are all grateful to Link for the way he helped lead through challenging times."
Arvada's Communications Manager of Infrastructure Katie Patterson gave an update on APD's search for a replacement for chief, stating that, "The City of Arvada is well-positioned for an internal appointment for Chief of Police."
"City Manager Lorie Gillis will lead the process to replace Arvada Police Chief Link Strate and intends to fill the position with an internal candidate," Patterson said in a statement. "By leveraging talent within the organization, the City will continue to ensure certainty in the Police Department’s leadership and move the organization forward."
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