AURORA, Colo. — With yet another chief to lead the Aurora Police Department on an interim basis, activists and members of the city’s Community Police Task Force are calling for the group to have a role in the selection of a permanent leader.
The group was established by the city in 2020 “to evaluate, discuss, and develop recommendations to improve effective and transparent communication between the Aurora Police Department and the community.”
Lindsay Minter, one of the members of the task force, said the lack of a permanent chief has made the city “unstable” and argued that one may have been found by now had the group been given a more central role in the search and selection process.
“We’re the ones that, you know, go through all the trauma with the citizens,” Minter said of the task force. “We’re the ones that come out when there’s action needed. We’re the ones organizing protests, sitting with city council members, serving on boards. We’re the people who have a vested interest in the city of Aurora.”
Aurora Interim Police Chief Art Acevedo leaving before the end of the month
The City of Aurora announced this week that Interim Chief Art Acevedo, who has been serving since December 2022, will be leaving his post before the end of the month. He will be replaced by Interim Deputy Chief Heather Morris. While Minter said she acknowledges improvements at APD and hopes for those improvements to continue under Morris, she said achievements will be limited without a permanent leader in place.
“How can officers do their jobs and build bridges with the community if everything is chaotic? If everything is always changing?” Minter asked.
Minter also pressed repeatedly for the city to reengage with the Community Police Task Force for the process of finding and hiring a permanent chief. While the task force is still listed as a recognized group on the city’s website, members feel they are being ignored. Minter said they view the group as “disbanded” despite their wish to continue with the work.
“It absolutely has to be a part of the decision-making,” Minter said. “I’m optimistic that if you include the community, you’ll get permanency — because we’re permanent. We are invested. We are dug deep. We stand tall in this community. We want to see the positive change. We want to build relationships. But we absolutely have to have a voice.”
Denver7 asked the City of Aurora what role, if any, the Community Police Task Force and the broader community will play as it searches for a permanent police chief. In a statement, spokesperson Ryan Luby referenced the city’s announcement regarding Interim Chief Acevedo’s departure, saying it is not yet known how a permanent chief will be determined.
“We certainly appreciate the question, but as we have stated, we have not yet discussed next steps and it is way too early to speculate what our process might look like,” Luby said.