NewsFront RangeAurora


Aurora Interim Police Chief Art Acevedo leaving the department before the end of the month

art acevedo aurora interim police chief
Posted at 11:17 AM, Jan 16, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-17 00:21:46-05

AURORA, Colo. — Aurora Interim Police Chief Art Acevedo will leave the department before the end of the month after only 13 months on the job.

"It's a sad day for the City of Aurora; however, we are blessed to have had Interim Chief Acevedo here," said Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman during a news conference Tuesday afternoon in which city officials gathered to provide more details about his departure hours after the surprise announcement was made earlier in the day. "He has set us on a positive trajectory in terms of the leadership in the department, effective strategies in bringing down the crime rate and extraordinary progress under the Consent Decree. ... It is a loss to the city, but nonetheless, we are grateful for his time here."

Acevedo said he decided to return to Texas to be with his family, expressing through tears just how much he missed his son.

"I thought I would be here two to three years, but I missed my kid, I missed my family," he told a group of reporters who had gathered at the Aurora Municipal Center. "Every time I'd get a video of my son wrestling and I'm not there... I just... I can't be without my boy."

The interim chief said he had to get back home to Austin, Texas, because he wanted to be judged as a father, "and family has to come first."

"I'm sorry to leave because this is a special city," Acevedo said, reminiscing about the call he got when he was offered the position for interim chief and why he decided to move to Colorado.

Acknowledging that the embattled department needs help and leadership after being marred by controversy for the past several years — most notably with the in-custody death of Elijah McClain in 2019 — ultimately, he said, it was the department's "history of bravery (and) history of excellence" that made him want to come to Aurora.

Acevedo said the Aurora Police Department "went to a theater and set the stage, the tone, the example, of what collective bravery is, and that’s what brought me here." He added that faced with the outrage of the community in the aftermath of McClain's death, "the department didn't run away from responsibility. We embraced it."

Aurora Interim Police Chief Art Acevedo leaving the department before the end of the month

"We were very intentional over the last 13 months of assessing our leadership," Acevedo said. "You see, what has brought discredit to this department isn't the result of the collective hearts of the men and women that serve this community, it was a failure of leadership. And that leadership failed the officers, failed the city and failed the community."

Acevedo said he was confident the city has the personnel to move forward in the months ahead and that other cities across Colorado will have to catch up, "because we're really setting the standard and we have a lot to be proud of."

His last day will be Jan. 22. Interim Deputy Chief Heather Morris will then be appointed as APD's Interim Chief of Police.

"City officials will discuss the next steps for identifying a new permanent police chief in the coming weeks," city officials said in a news release earlier Tuesday.

Acevedo was sworn in as the interim leader of the Aurora Police Department in December of 2022.

Before that, Acevedo worked as a CNN law enforcement analyst and an adviser with the body camera analytics company Truleo.

Acevedo previously served as police chief in Austin, Texas, Houston and Miami.

Acevedo filed a lawsuit in 2022 against the City of Miami claiming he was wrongfully fired as Miami’s police chief in 2021 after just a few months on the job. Acevedo claimed they fired him for blowing the whistle on wrongdoing by city officials, CNN reported.

Aurora Interim Police Chief Art Acevedo leaving the department before the end of the month

D7 follow up bar 2460x400FINAL.png
The Follow Up
What do you want Denver7 to follow up on? Is there a story, topic or issue you want us to revisit? Let us know with the contact form below.