Aubrey hires new police, fire chiefs
By Abigail Allen
Aubrey has a new police chief and a new full-time fire chief.
The Aubrey City Council hired Richard Brooks to follow now-City Administrator Charles Kreidler as police chief, and Eric Schlotter is the first full-time fire chief, following Michael Starr, who has been Aubrey's part-time chief for decades.
“I’m excited to bring both of these chiefs in as part of the Aubrey family," Mayor Chris Rich said in a release. "They haven’t started yet, but the level of excitement they already have shown makes me look forward to great things to come for the Aubrey Police Department and the Aubrey Fire Department."
Brooks, who was born in Denton, worked in Flower Mound for 31 years and served as Parker's police chief from 2016 to now, is thrilled to be back in Denton County.
"I've been looking for that perfect opportunity, which this is," he said.
When he joined the force in Flower Mound, it was a small department.
"When I started in Flower Mound, I was the 12th sworn officer," Brooks said. "When I left, there were 88 sworn and well over 150 employees. … We started every division you can think of and grew that police department to where it is, and I got to be involved in all of that."
Having experienced that as he climbed through the ranks to captain before moving to Parker, he said, will help him directly in his role as the APD chief.
"The job notice talked about 40 square miles," he said. "Well, Flower Mound was 40 square miles. … I'm familiar with the size of the area and what it takes."
Brooks' philosophy is that communication is crucial, and that cooperation helps everyone succeed.
"We're just a piece of the pie, not the whole pie. And that pie has to work together," he said.
He was highly complimentary of Human Resources Manager A.J. Rodriguez, who offered his cell phone to Brooks and the other candidates to help answer their questions outside of traditional working hours.
When he's home and off the clock, Brooks enjoys spending time with his wife outside or spending time with their grandchildren.
Brooks is hoping to retain officers and draw in quality candidates who provide consistency for the communities Aubrey PD serves.
Brooks and Schlotter share a rare connection and challenge in that they were hired on the same evening.
"I think that's a positive because it's going to be a bonding thing with us," Brooks said.
Schlotter joked he plans to use his two days on the job before Brooks' official start date to get more for his department when budget rolls around.
"Public safety—police and fire go hand-in-hand," he said. "By starting together, we'll be able to grow together and hopefully build a strong bond."
Schlotter knew from a young age that he wanted to be a firefighter.
"In the second grade, I actually toured a Denton fire station, and that's when I decided I wanted to be a fireman," he said, pulling a picture from his pocket of the tour. "… I didn't know it at the time, but six months later those same guys would save my dad."
He started at the Bynum Volunteer Fire Department in high school, moving to the Hillsboro Fire Department from there.
After graduating from fire academy, Schlotter said, he "had a very scientific method for finding [his] first job."
"I was 19, so a lot of places I couldn't apply, so I started alphabetically, and I went to work for Atlanta, Texas," he said.
In 2002, he moved to Texarkana, where he rose from firefighter to fire chief and where he previously knew and worked with Aubrey City Administrator Charles Kreidler.
"Having a boss who you absolutely trust and with whom you communicate very well is essential for success," Schlotter said.
He's also excited to inherit the team that is already in place and to work to build the department as the area grows.
"I look forward to the challenges that come with growth," Schlotter added.
Schlotter, like Brooks, enjoys spending time outside but he also makes silver and copper wire jewelry.
"My wife does stuff with glass," he said. "It's a way for us to spend time together."
The city of Aubrey has announced the location of its third fire station, which it plans to open in 2024.
“Very excited for Chief Schlotter and the men and women of AFD,” Starr said on social media. “This is a much needed station. They are currently running over 5,000 calls a year out of two stations. It will increase the level of service provided to Silverado and the surrounding area.”
The Aubrey Area Ambulance transfer is still in process, and outgoing Aubrey Fire Department Chief Michael Starr remains the administrator of that nonprofit, which provides the city and the communities it serves ambulance services.
Schlotter is set to start on Monday and Brooks on Wednesday.
“We used a multi-faceted approach to find the best candidates for the citizens of Aubrey and for the employees they will lead," Kreidler said. "I look forward to working with Chief Brooks and Chief Schlotter as we continue to grow and strive to provide efficient and effective services to our citizens and communities.”