AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — Reaction to the chief being fired was swift and fiery.
The firing of Aurora Police Chief Vanessa Wilson comes as crime rates soar in the city along with an outcry from some officers saying she did not have their back when it came to getting tough on crime.
“Problem is, she lost the support of the men and women of the police department. And there wasn’t that focus of combatting crime the way a chief of police needs to do,” Aurora Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 49 President Marc Sears said.
APD’s FOP said the organization’s nearly 700 members had a hard time trusting the chief, who seemed to be more focused on mending relations with the community, than supporting them.
“I want a chief that will publicly stand up and say I want my cops to go back to work. I want them to put people in jail when they need to go to jail,” Sears said.
City leaders did not say if there was a correlation between the chief’s leadership style and the rise in crime.
Some city council members believe the termination was wrong.
“I’m extremely disappointed. I think it sends the wrong message to our community. It says there was a time for reform and now is the time to get tough on crime and conveys those things are mutually exclusive,” Aurora Ward 5 Councilmember Alison Coombs said.
Wilson had been working on implementing changes ordered by a consent decree that was designed to improve policing and public safety. The decree came after high-profile controversial arrests lead to community outcries for change.
“I hope that our community stands up and lets folks know that we do need to continue with this accountability of officers and that simply getting rid of the chief is not going to mean that we don’t do what they’ve asked us to do,” Coombs said.
The new chief will have the monumental task of lowering crime rates and establishing a working relationship with officers that help creates a safer city.
The FOP said they are hoping to develop a much closer working relationship with the new chief.