Jul 18, 2023 - News

Aurora council votes to stop sending police to Denver during emergencies

Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman, center, during a meeting in the City Council chambers at Aurora Municipal Center in December. Photo: Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Aurora will stop sending its officers to Denver to help respond during emergency situations.

Driving the news: Aurora City Council voted 5-4 on Monday evening to end an informal agreement between the two cities allowing them to share police officers.

Why it matters: The decision means the Mile High City will have one less area law enforcement agency to rely on for support with mass protests or riots.

  • It also signals an awkward start between new Mayor Mike Johnston's administration and its neighbors to the east.

Catch up quick: In 2020, Aurora police helped Denver with its response to protests following the murder of George Floyd. Denver was ordered to pay millions of dollars in settlements due to how officers treated protesters.

  • Aurora filed a lawsuit in May to prevent itself from having to make any payments even though its officers assisted.

Of note: There is no formal written agreement between the two cities, according to a motion filed in June to dismiss the lawsuit provided to Axios by Denver's City Attorney's Office.

  • Rather, Denver relied on a state law that allows law enforcement agencies to request temporary assistance during emergency situations.
  • Denver's city attorney's office declined to comment because of the pending litigation.

The intrigue: The vote took place hours after Johnston was sworn-in.

  • Johnston told us after his ceremony that he wants to have a strong relationship with Aurora, whose mayor, Mike Coffman, supported the proposal.
  • Coffman said the effort would help his city get leverage to ensure officers aren't held liable when assisting other departments.

Yes, but: Denver's mayor did not say whether he agreed with Aurora's impending decision.

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