Jim Hughes is the City of Maricopa’s new Police Chief as of Jan 4. The formerly eight-year Maricopa Police Commander was promoted after Police Chief Steve Stahl announced his retirement in November.
Stahl was Maricopa’s chief the last nine of his 33-year law enforcement career.
“It has been the honor of a lifetime to work with and for the dedicated men and women of the Maricopa Police Department. You all have made me very proud,” Stahl said when his retirement was announced in November. “It is now time to devote my efforts into being a better husband, father and grandfather.”
Hughes was selected as the new chief after serving as commander over the operations and support services divisions of MPD. He has restructured units and protocols, built connections with the community and combined innovative thinking with conservative spending, according to a City press release.
“It has been my privilege to serve as one of Chief Stahl’s commanders for the last eight years,” Hughes said. “I have learned so much from Chief Stahl. His mentorship and support have prepared me for this tremendous opportunity.”
Stahl oversaw the department while the community grew and policing policies evolved. Under his leadership Maricopa became one of the first cities in Pinal County to equip officers with body cameras and the youngest city to achieve national accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA), ensuring policies and practices meet or exceed best practices.
He also advocated for the City to join the Regional Wireless Network to improve communications and introduced CompStat and intelligence-based policing to the community. His focus on public outreach led to the popular “Coffee with the Chief” events and videos.
Stahl began his career with the Mesa Police Department, where he spent 24 years and rose to a commander role before coming to Maricopa in October 2011.
Hughes has been in law enforcement since he joined the police department in Mendham Township, New Jersey in 1986, rising through the ranks to lieutenant and overseeing both uniformed patrol and investigations. After retiring from that agency he served as executive director of the Honolulu Police Commission.
He was hired as a commander by the MPD in 2012. At that time, Stahl said, “Hughes’ blend of small city and large city experience will bring a diverse perspective to the City of Maricopa. He has shown the leadership and knowledge skills to bring us into the new era of crime fighting.”
Stahl and Hughes worked together through the final six weeks of 2020 to ensure a smooth transition to the new leadership.
City Manager Ricky A. Horst said he is confident in Hughes and his ability to lead the department as Maricopa continues to grow.
“The police chief/city manager relationship is one of the most critical partnerships in local government management,” Horst said. “I am grateful that we have a well-prepared successor in the appointment of Cmdr. Hughes as our next Chief of Police. Not only will he bridge from the old to the new, but will take us to the next level of modern day policing and community service.”
The MPD currently has 70 sworn officers, 20 civilian employees, two reserve officers and 77 volunteers, according to its website.