Gov. Janet Napolitano’s new Cabinet member is a former Detroit police chief whose tenure ended after he was arrested trying to take a loaded and unregistered handgun onto a plane.
In announcing two appointments Wednesday, Napolitano named Jerry Oliver as director of the Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses and Control. He replaces Lessa Berens Morrison, who is the new director of Homeland Security.
“I’ve worked with Jerry Oliver. He worked with Terry Goddard over at the attorney general’s office,” Napolitano said.
“He has been the deputy director of administration now for many months, done a fine job there. And I believe he will be a very, very good director of the Department of Liquor.”
Oliver, who has been serving as deputy director of the state Department of Administration, was Detroit’s top officer for two years until he resigned in 2003. Trouble started for Oliver that year on Oct. 18, when inspectors at Detroit Metropolitan Airport discovered a loaded, unlicensed .25-caliber handgun in his checked luggage.
He pleaded no contest in an agreement the charge would be dismissed after 90 days if he stayed out of trouble.
“This was an asterisk on what has been a very successful law enforcement career,” Oliver said. “I thought stepping aside was the best thing because that was becoming a sideshow.”
Oliver started his career with the Phoenix Police Department in 1970 and left in 1990 as an assistant police chief. He then oversaw drug enforcement in Memphis, Tenn., and became police chief in Pasadena, Calif., and Richmond, Va., before going to Detroit.
Also on Wednesday, Napolitano appointed Kristin Almquist to lead the governor’s Southern Arizona Office.
Almquist has worked for Tucson’s Habitat for Humanity. She replaces Jan Lesher, who now heads the Arizona Department of Commerce.