AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — Aurora’s new interim police chief told FOX31 his number one goal will be to reduce gun violence in a city that faces escalating crime rates. He’s also setting up an advisory committee to help address issues that have plagued the department and troubled the community.

The department’s new chief was blunt during a one-on-one conversation with FOX31.

He said he knows the department isn’t perfect. Indeed, there are problems. It’s the reason he said he’s looking forward to establishing strong relationships with the officers and the community.

“We have to do everything we can to identify the good and the ugly,” Acevedo said.

Reducing violent crime, he said, is a top priority. 

“We have to reduce gun violence. Not just in this city but across this country,” Acevedo said.

Will Aurora reinstate the citizen review board?

Acevedo said he’s also looking to build relationships with officers and the community. He told FOX31 he would not oppose a citizen review board.

“I don’t have an issue with whoever wants to review my decisions as a police executive. Ultimately, I work for the public. I don’t have an issue with that,” Acevedo said.

Acevedo said he is also forming a chief’s advisory committee, which would allow him to hear directly from officers and even citizens about problems they are facing.

“As long as the police chief at the end of the day gets to make the call. I’m good to go,” Acevedo said.

A number of citizens say slow response times have been an issue.

“We need to make sure we are prioritizing our response. I’m going to work very closely with our comms (communications) center colleagues to make sure we monitor and track the different levels and where are we headed — are we headed in the right or wrong direction? — and to make sure we are doing that,” Acevedo said.

Police chief must balance politics, employees, crime

The interim chief stressed many officers are doing great work but don’t get the recognition. Low morale has been an issue in the past.

Jason McBride served on a now-disbanded community police task force. He said APD’s new leader must understand and hear what the community needs the most.

“If Aurora is truly going to be that light, then we need to have people from the community. We need to have representation from all races in the community,” McBride said.

Stacey Hervey, a criminology professor at Metropolitan State University of Denver, said police chiefs can find themselves walking a tightrope in fast-growing cities like Aurora.

“(Chiefs must) really be able to balance the politics while still supporting police officers and fighting and reducing crime,” Hervey said.

Acevedo is not saying if he’ll apply to be Aurora’s full-time chief. He’s focusing on the temporary position for now.