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As 2019 drew to an end, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock received big news from public safety chief Troy Riggs: He's resigning Jan. 31 after nearly two years in the post and heading into the private sector.

Hancock promoted Riggs to the top position in early 2018, following the resignation of then-safety director Stephanie O’Malley. During his tenure, he oversaw multiple departments, including the police and sheriff’s departments, and managed an annual budget of $600 million.

“Keeping the public safe is one of the most important functions a city provides, and Troy has, without question, taken Denver in a positive new direction. He championed an equity-focused approach. He strengthened the public’s confidence and trust in Denver’s safety agencies thanks to his high level of integrity and commitment to criminal justice,” Hancock’s office wrote in an email to Colorado Politics.

“Troy has been a phenomenal leader and an integral part of my administration. I wish him the best in this next phase of his career.”

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It remains unclear when exactly Hancock will disclose his plans to find a successor or an interim director, spokeswoman Theresa Marchetta said.

Many Denver City Council members Monday night first learned from Colorado Politics of Riggs’ resignation moments after the council's first meeting of the year ended. They each reacted alike: with widened eyes and mouths agape.

Although several members declined to comment because of sudden notice, others proffered up their thoughts:

Councilwoman Candi CdeBaca: “When Troy Riggs was selected by the mayor without any community input, he had eight jobs in 10 years. Now, after just two years, he’s out and we’re still left with a mess of a public safety department. It’s time to overhaul this broken appointee system.”

Councilman Kevin Flynn: “I wish Troy luck in his new position. I am grateful for the innovative methods he pursued for improving public safety in Denver, and I hope that the mayor finds a new director who will continue this approach.”

Council President Jolon Clark: “I’ve been really impressed how focused he’s been on data, and that has really helped us in a lot of ways. So, I hope that what he started there will continue. The way that we look at policing, using data, has been phenomenal. I think he brought a lot to the city, and — not knowing the circumstances of what’s going on — I think he will be missed. 

Councilman Paul Kashmann: “I enjoyed working with him. He was pushing forward great ideas. I’ll miss that alliance.”

Councilman Chris Hinds: “I have only spoken with Director Riggs a couple of times and really don’t know him at all.”

Councilwoman Amanda Sawyer, who initially declined to comment, but later wrote on Twitter: “I found out about this from [Colorado Politics] tonight after our council meeting when [they] asked me to comment on it. I didn’t. But, I think that’s indicative of how dysfunctional our city government is right now that council members hadn’t been informed yet but the press knew.”

Editor's note: This article was updated to correct Troy Riggs' resignation date due to inaccurate information initially provided by Mayor Michael Hancock's office.

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