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Mark Beckner to be na

by Pam Regensberg
Daily Times-Call

BOULDER -- The man overseeing the beleaguered JonBenet Ramsey murder investigation today was named Boulder's new police chief.

Cmdr. Mark Beckner of Longmont will take office on Monday, acting City Manager Dave Rhodes announced at a hastily-called news conference this afternoon.

The 42-year-old Beckner -- head of the detective division -- succeeds embattled Police Chief Tom Koby.

Beckner will continue to lead the Ramsey investigation.

Under pressure for not making any arrests in the slaying of the 6-year-old beauty queen and for his handling of the Boulder Hill riots last year, Koby announced in November that he will leave the department by the year's end.

However, city officials asked the Texas native to step down in May. Koby has been working on special projects and collecting his six-figure salary.

Beckner was thrust into the public spotlight when he took control of the Ramsey homicide case from Cmdr. John Eller in October. Eller accepted a job in Florida.

``This was an investigation that was seen as being in disarray and going nowhere,'' Beckner noted in his eight-page resume. ``After a re-organization and a lot of hard work, the Ramsey investigative team has brought the investigation to the point of being able to ask the district attorney's office for the grand jury.''

City officials changed the name of the position to director of police services and will offer Beckner a two-year contract with an annual salary of $90,000. Beckner, a 20-year veteran of the department, has worked the last 16 in supervisory or management positions.

He has served as SWAT commander and negotiator, internal affairs investigator, patrol commander, detective commander, crime scene coordinator, training instructor and field training officer and sergeant.

City officials were expected to announce their decision last week, but some members of the police department said they wanted the new chief to come from outside.

All applicants are Boulder police officers. Five of the department's six commanders applied for the job. They were Beckner, 44-year-old Molly Bernard, who oversees training and hiring; 41-year-old Dave Hayes, who runs the traffic division; 44-year-old watch Cmdr. Jim Hughes, and 51-year-old watch Cmdr. Tom Kilpatrick.

``Because Commander Becker and I have worked closely on the Ramsey case this past half year, I can say we're on the way to forging the sort of cooperative relationship that will serve this community well,'' District Attorney Alex Hunter said in a prepared statement.