Cottonwood Police Chief Placed On Non-Disciplinary Administrative Leave

The City of Cottonwood announced this week that Police Chief Steve Gesell has been placed on non-disciplinary administrative leave as “internal matters are being addressed.”

In a press release issued the leave took effect last Thursday, May 11 and read, “Gesell was placed on a non-disciplinary administrative leave while certain internal matters are being addressed. Because this process is confidential in nature, the city is unable to provide additional information at this time.”

“Meanwhile, the Cottonwood Police Department continues to deliver a high-level of service to our community under the oversight of Cmdr. Gareth Braxton-Johnson as the city’s acting chief of police. Any and all inquiries regarding this matter should be directed to the City Manager’s Office at (928) 634-5526.”

Gesell was appointed to lead the department in 2016 and had previously worked for the Scottsdale Police Department for two decades.

Gesell campaigned as a Republican for Arizona House of Representatives in Legislative District 1 in January 2022, however May 3, announced that he was quitting the race. He campaigned on a platform of law and order, election transparency and Second Amendment rights.

No additional information has been released on the administrative leave.