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AURORA, Colo. — Aurora Police Chief, Nick Metz, says in an email that he chose not to fire Aurora police officer Nate Meier after he was found drunk inside his patrol car while on duty because Meier owned up to his poor decision.

“Since my arrival five years ago, I’ve made it very clear that when an employee makes a
mistake worthy of adverse action, before imposing discipline I not only consider the
actual offense, but I also take into serious consideration whether that individual owns
their mistake, takes responsibility, and takes steps to right the wrong,” Metz says in the email.

Metz has been in law enforcement for 36 years, and says that this particular line of work can take a toll on officers. ” Trauma, suicide, and substance abuse continue to be huge problems in our profession,” Metz continues. “. . .This is why officer wellness has been a huge part of my mission during my tenure here in Aurora.”

Metz says that when in a line of work such as this, there needs to be a balance between discipline and support because of the level of trauma and stress officers are exposed to while on the job.

“We have to prove that it’s okay to use the resources we have in place (peer support, CAARS program, psych services, etc.) and the only way I can think to demonstrate that to you is through my actions,” Metz says. ” I will stand out front and take any criticisms the media, community members, or uninvolved law enforcement personnel want to throw at the department if it means an officer gets the help they need.”

Metz says that he unequivocally stands by his decision to not fire Meier because he courageously owned up to this poor decision.

“Fight the stigma. Use the resources. Get help when needed,” Metz says. “And come back stronger, more resilient, and more empathetic to those struggling both internally and out in the community.”