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Is he or isn’t he?

That’s a question some are asking in regard to whether or not Ray Cota is still the chief of the Sedona Police Department.


Because it’s a personnel matter, little information has been made available by the city. However, in a brief email from City Manager Justin Clifton, he wrote, “Chief Cota had to take unexpected leave for personal reasons. In his absence Lt. [Lucas] Wilcoxson is serving as acting chief.”

In a subsequent email, Clifton said, “Chief Cota took leave on Thursday, May 12. I have no date of expected return and have no other information at this time.”

Clifton did not say whether Cota’s leave is temporary or if he’s been permanently relieved of his duties.

It’s also not known whether an item on a rare executive session by City Council has anything to do with Cota. That session, set to take place prior to the Tuesday, May 24, council meeting includes, “Discussion and consultation with the city attorney in order to consider the city’s position and instruct the city attorney regarding pending or contemplated litigation. This matter is brought in executive session pursuant to A.R.S. 38-431.03(A)(4).”

City Attorney Robert Pickels said he could not comment about the nature of the executive session item.

Cota was hired by Sedona in May of 2010, after serving as a captain with the police department in Corona, Calif. He earned a bachelor’s in public administration from the University of La Verne in California and completed public administration graduate studies at California State University, San Bernardino, Calif.  

He is also a graduate of the FBI National Academy, the Department of Justice Drug Unit Commanders Academy and the Los Angeles Police Department West Point Leadership Program.

At the time of his hiring, then-City Manager Tim Ernster said of Cota, “His credentials are impeccable.”



                                    Update:                                   

On Friday, May 20, the city released the following statement:

The city of Sedona announced today that, by mutual agreement, Police Chief Ray Cota will be leaving his position, effective immediately. Chief Cota has served in that capacity since May 2010.

"The city greatly appreciates the service that Chief Cota has given to our community over the past six years," said Sedona City Manager Justin Clifton.

The city of Sedona will move swiftly to ensure that continuity is maintained within the department by designating an interim police chief and beginning the search for a suitable replacement.

For more information call the city of Sedona Human Resources Department at (928) 203-5189.

The city of Sedona announced today that, by mutual agreement, Police Chief Ray Cota will be leaving his position, effective immediately. Chief Cota has served in that capacity since May of 2010. 

"The city greatly appreciates the service that Chief Cota has given to our community over the past six years," said city of Sedona City Manager Justin Clifton.

The city of Sedona will move swiftly to ensure that continuity is maintained within the department by designating an interim Police Chief and beginning the search for a suitable replacement.

For more information call the city of Sedona Human Resources Department at 928-203-5189.

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