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Aurora City Council votes 9-1 to advance reserve police force proposal

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Posted at 11:05 PM, Jul 31, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-01 16:58:11-04

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to show that the measure has been advanced. A previous story said Aurora City Council reinstated its reserve police force.

AURORA, Colo. — Aurora City Council voted 9-1 Monday to advance a proposal that would reinstate its reserve police force.

Aurora had a reserve officer program until the early 2000s. But after interest in the program dropped to nearly zero, the police department got rid of it, according to city officials. The city also removed a section of code that authorized a reserve police force.

Aurora City Councilwoman Danielle Jurinsky introduced the proposal Monday to bring back the program, which will be composed of unpaid volunteers.

“This was a request brought forward by the police department to be able to revamp the tactical medic program for our SWAT team,” Jurinsky told Denver7 before Monday's meeting.

In a council meeting last week, City Attorney Peter Schulte said medics assigned to work with the SWAT team often carry concealed weapons, putting them and the city in potential legal jeopardy. He said allowing those medics to train and become part of a police reserve force will provide them legal protections.

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Aurora may bring back reserve police officers

Brandon Richard
4:45 PM, Jul 31, 2023

The goal is to address the department's police officer shortage by recruiting volunteers.

The ordinance says the police chief may appoint "up to the number corresponding to five percent of the authorized sworn strength of the regular police department" as police reserve officers. As of June 30, the Aurora Police Department had 680 sworn members, meaning more than 30 reserve officers could be appointed.

Interim Aurora Police Chief Art Acevedo said the program will be "measured and focused."

"It's going to be a program that's going to give a lot to our community," he said during Monday's meeting. "It's going to be a program that I think eventually will save lives."

Those opposed to the idea said there needed to be more community input.

"This ordinance really doesn't have the sustenance that's going to give citizens of Aurora the confidence that we need a reserve police force," one community member told the city council.

"You want to hire volunteer police personnel to protect our city when we don't even have, when our paid police department still f**** up to this day," said another.

Those in the reserve force will be required to undergo peace officer training and certification, which includes training to carry a firearm.

The measure requires a second vote before it can pass.

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