Aurora police miss key deadlines in consent decree with the state
The Aurora Police Department continues to struggle to make mandatory changes outlined in the city's consent decree with the state's attorney general.
Catch up quick: An agreement on the consent decree was reached in November 2021.
- It requires the city to make numerous changes, including improving police use-of-force policies and hiring more diverse police officers and firefighters.
Driving the news: The latest report tracking Aurora police's progress in meeting the consent decree mandates shows pivotal deadlines were missed. The report was issued on Jan. 13.
- The city contracted with IntegrAssure for more than $4.5 million last February to monitor its progress.
Why it matters: In 2021, the Colorado attorney general's office found evidence that the police department violated state and federal laws through a pattern of racially biased policing and using excessive force.
What they're saying: "I just believe, in my heart of hearts, that we will end up, when we get through this process, a better trained, better supervised, and more successful department," Aurora's interim police chief, Art Acevedo, tells Axios Denver.
- Acevedo — the third Aurora police chief in less than a year — said he supports the mandate because it's a roadmap to improve the department's procedures and rebuild trust with the public.
- Referencing IntegrAssure's report, Acevedo said he'd rather miss a deadline and get it right than "cut corners." But he added that the agency needs to be more organized in its approach to adopting mandates.
- The latest report looks at the department's performance from Aug. 16 to Nov. 15, 2022, before he started last month.
State of play: Jeff Schlanger, CEO of IntegrAssure, tells Axios Denver the police department is making progress but not as fast as the community and consent decree had hoped for.
- He notes all mandates need to be adopted by February 2024, at which point the company will monitor the department for another three years.
- If the requirements aren't met after this five-year period, Schlanger said, they will continue monitoring the department until the mandates are adopted.
Of note: The consent decree also includes mandates for Aurora Fire Rescue and the city's Civil Service Commission, which oversees hiring for both agencies.
The latest: Of the 58 mandates in the consent decree, Aurora's agencies were found to be in "substantial compliance" with only 11 of them.
- The report notes there are concerns about the "apparent reluctance" of Aurora police to look into use of force incidents when policies aren't violated but can be improved.
- But the police department is on the right track to finalize updated rules regarding use of force.
The other side: "Aurora is a beautiful place, but as long as Aurora police continue to exist, we will have a black eye on our face," local criminal justice activist Candice Bailey tells Axios Denver.
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