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AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — An Aurora City Council member is now in the hot seat after calling out Aurora Police Chief Vanessa Wilson on a radio show.

The show segment was then posted to the Steffan Tubbs show website. The goal of the discussion appeared to be the camping ban and crime in Aurora.

Newly elected councilmember Danielle Jurinsky unleashed and said she supports police but said, “You are not safe in Aurora,” highlighting multiple issues within the police department, such as the lack of officers.

The Aurora City Council recently held a meeting about crime prevention and youth violence. Jurinsky was present, as well as Police Chief Vanessa Wilson. Jurinsky said the main problem is the crime situation in Aurora.

When asked what can be done to fix the issues mentioned previously, she called for the removal of the police chief and deputy chief.

“If you want to quote something, Chief Vanessa Wilson is trash,” Jurinsky said on the talk show.

Jurinsky claimed she does not approve of airing the dirty laundry of the officers’ personal lives and clarified she was not referring to the officers involved in the Elijah McClain case.

Jurinsky told FOX31 that she wants the truth to be known that there is a safety crisis in the city.

Councilmember Juan Marcano said that Jurinsky’s comments are a violation of the city charter and borderline defamation.

According to the Aurora City charter, “Neither the council nor any of its committees or members shall direct or request the appointment of any person to, or his removal from, employment by the city manager, or in any manner take part in the appointment or removal of employees in the administrative service of the city, except as otherwise provided in this Charter.”

Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman also weighed in. He sent a statement that reads:

“I am out in Aurora every day, visiting businesses and community members. I hear their concerns. While it is true that the crime rate has increased in parts of our city, the blanket assertion that Aurora is an unsafe community is just not true. Like other major U.S. and Colorado cities, there has been an unfortunate increase in crime. It is OK for us to acknowledge this without creating an unnecessary sense of fear throughout our community.

“It is no secret that the law enforcement profession has faced significant challenges over the past few years. It is no different for us in Aurora. In typical times, our police department has a number of highly specialized units. And yet even with these specialized units, our patrol response to calls for service has always remained the top priority. Because of these specialized units, the Aurora Police Department can temporarily reallocate staff to patrol when shortages occur, allowing us to continue to prioritize the public safety of our community during these challenging times. And while I share the concerns about attrition and retention, I am working hard with council members and our city management team to develop robust ways to support our police and to attract new officers to fully staff our department to better serve and protect our community.   

“Addressing crime and police retention requires a holistic approach with both short- and long-term actions. Regardless of any differences, as elected officials, we owe it to our community to work in a professional manner with our city staff to serve our residents, business owners, community leaders, and other stakeholders to find real and sustainable solutions for Aurora.”

Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman

“I just want to say like I think every council member has things that they’d like to see change, but we have processes and procedures to do that,” Marcano said. “Not just going off half-cocked, repeating lies on you know, public airwaves in a way that I think serves to undermine community trust and our ability to actually get anything done.”

Marcano is in the process of filing a motion to censure, which is essentially a formal notice of the misconduct asking her to stop the behavior and move on.

The Aurora Police Department said Wilson has no plans of stepping down as chief and added the following statement:

“The Major Cities Chief’s Association reported in November 2021 that 66 of the 70 responding major city police departments were seeing an increase in most violent crime categories. As Colorado’s third largest city, Aurora has seen similar trends. However, an increase in crime does not merit a generalized statement that our city is unsafe and only serves to create unnecessary fear in our community. Most violent crime committed in Aurora involves a known relationship and is not random. The Aurora Police Department remains laser-focused on building a sustainable framework of collaboration to reduce crime.”

Aurora Police Department