Aurora announces ‘comprehensive review’ of police department

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AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — The City of Aurora announced Tuesday that it will undertake a “comprehensive review” of its police department.

In a joint statement, City Manager Jim Twombly and Aurora Police Department Chief Vanessa Wilson said the review will be conducted with the assistance of 21CP Solutions, “a global firm of experts in the areas of civil rights and public safety.”

The City’s goal, according to the statement, is a “new vision of public safety that works for everyone.”

The review will address the following:

  • APD’s leadership structure
  • Elevating the role of community policing and engagement
  • Assessing current use-of-force policies
  • Discriminatory policing and bias-free policing
  • Officer misconduct and accountability
  • Stops, searches and arrests
  • Recruitment, hiring and retention
  • Interaction with vulnerable populations
  • Crisis intervention
  • Interactions with people experiencing behavioral health challenges

Wilson stated the following about the review of APD:

“We embrace this opportunity for change and are committed to evolve for the betterment of our profession, our community and the residents we serve.  Law enforcement is being evaluated across the nation and we want to ensure that our entire community feels that APD is an agency that shows dignity and respect and can be a role model for 21st Century policing. We will strive daily to regain the trust in our community. I believe this review, along with actionable policy and training changes, is a good first step.”

APD has faced scrutiny for a number of incidents in recent years, including the death of Elijah McClain and the failure to investigate an officer for driving under the influence after he was found passed out in his patrol car while on duty. Earlier this month, a Black family was detained in a parking lot when officers thought they had encountered a stolen vehicle.

An independent investigation into McClain’s death is underway.

Additionally, in June, Gov. Jared Polis appointed Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser as special prosecutor to investigate McClain’s death.

Earlier Tuesday, McClain’s family announced it is suing the City of Aurora.

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