Jan 16, 2024 - News

Aurora police chief Art Acevedo resigns after 13 months on the job

Aurora police chief Art Acevedo. Photo: Esteban L. Hernandez/Axios

After just over a year as Aurora's top police officer, chief Art Acevedo is calling it quits.

Driving the news: Acevedo, whose outspoken personality drew a spotlight in nearly every jurisdiction he's overseen, said Tuesday he's leaving to be closer to family in Texas.

  • He was named chief on Dec. 5, 2022, replacing Vanessa Wilson, who was fired in April 2022. His last day will be Jan. 22.

Why it matters: Acevedo leaves a department marred by controversy and still under a state consent decree requiring major changes, including improving its use-of-force policies and hiring more officers from diverse backgrounds.

What they're saying: The outgoing chief told reporters on Tuesday the decision was "100%" his and wasn't due to pressure from the police union, whom he criticized last week.

The intrigue: Acevedo on Tuesday said he felt supported by Aurora's City Council, though a report in 5280 in November, citing an anonymous source, suggested the lack of a Democratic majority on the council would likely lead to Acevedo's departure.

Catch up fast: Aurora reached an agreement with the state in November 2021 after the Colorado attorney general's office found the department broke state and federal laws while engaging in racially biased policing and excessive use of force.

Of note: Acevedo received calls to resign last summer from attorneys representing the family of Jor'Dell Richardson, a 14-year-old who Aurora police fatally shot on June 1.

  • Richardson, who was Black, was later found to have been carrying a pellet gun — a fact the teen's family said wasn't revealed until shortly before Acevedo held a lengthy press conference detailing the shooting.

What's next: Heather Morris will serve as the Interim Chief of Police after Acevedo's last day, according to a city statement.

  • Batchelor said the city will take "a few weeks" before beginning a search for a permanent chief.
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