Steamboat police chief set to retire |

Steamboat police chief set to retire

— Steamboat Springs Police Chief JD Hays has announced his plans to retire from police work Jan. 6.

Hays is a veteran member of the department, having joined in 1980 as a patrol officer. He worked in Los Angeles before coming to Steamboat, and his career in law enforcement spans 37 years.

Hays was promoted to captain in 1983 and became assistant chief in the mid-1990s. In 1997, he was named the director of public safety. His job title changed to chief in 2009.

Hays, 66, said he plans to stay in Steamboat after retiring.

"I love this place," Hays said.

He said he would prefer to not make a big deal about his retirement, and he does not know of plans for a public reception.

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Deputy City Manager Deb Hinsvark said the city has not started the formal process of hiring a replacement for Hays.

"I think I can say with certainty that there will be an interim and it will be Joel Rae," Hinsvark said. "We've had some conversations with him, and he's ready to step up."

Rae is a captain at the police department, and he oversees the patrol department.

Hinsvark said the city still needs to discuss how to proceed with hiring a permanent new police chief.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email

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