AURORA — Aurora police officials on Wednesday promoted Fran Gomez to the rank of commander, making her the first woman in the department's 63-year-history to land a position in its executive ranks.

Gomez, a 22-year-veteran, will oversee the District 3 station, which encompasses the southeastern portion of the city, a 53-square-mile swath of about 121,000 residents.

Chief Daniel Oates said the promotion was an important milestone; Gomez is the first woman to be named a commander, the department's fourth highest post.

Gomez has served many roles in her time on the force, including stints in patrol, investigations, internal affairs, the city's police training academy and its special operations bureau. She has also been stationed in the chief's office as an executive captain. Officials noted her training in such topics as internal affairs investigations, leadership and cultural awareness.

Aurora police also promoted Robert Stef from lieutenant to captain. He is a 32-year veteran with experience in other police departments who will work out of the chief's office. Lee Silver and Michael McClelland were elevated to the rank of lieutenant; Hershel Stowell, Shelly Owens, Brian Kelly and Michael Hanifan were named sergeants; and Mike Prince and Peter Szuch have been prompted from officer to detective.

Oates praised their experience and dedication during a short ceremony at Aurora City Council chambers.

"Now that you have been promoted," he said, "still more will be expected of you."