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Aurora chief's attorney says she doesn't plan to resign; sources maintain she will be out as chief

Sources told Denver7 Investigates Wilson was planning to leave the department, terms still under negotiation
Posted at 6:31 PM, Mar 24, 2022

DENVER — The attorney for Aurora Police Chief Vanessa Wilson said Thursday Wilson does not plan to resign or retire from the department, but acknowledged that the city manager did request a meeting to discuss an exit strategy with the chief earlier this week.

“As of last Friday, outside counsel said there was no intention to terminate Chief Wilson, no intention to push her out at all. And then on Monday, the city manager called Chief Wilson … and said, ‘I want to talk about an exit strategy,’” Wilson's attorney Paula Greisen said in an interview Thursday.

She added that it is not just City Manager Jim Twombly who is trying to force Wilson out.

“I think it’s several people. But certainly, when you ask somebody for an exit strategy, it does appear there’s a big problem,” Greisen said.

Greisen spoke to Denver7 Thursday, a day after Denver7 Investigates cited three high-ranking Aurora sources who said the chief was planning to leave the department, but the terms of her departure were still being negotiated.

The sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said pressure had been mounting for weeks on the chief to step down.

Those sources maintained Thursday that whether Wilson resigns, retires, or is fired, she will not continue as police chief moving forward.

Wilson is currently out of the country on vacation.

She has led the department since she was named interim chief in December 2019, replacing Nick Metz. She got the job on a permanent basis in August 2020. She is the first woman to lead the department and has been with APD for 25 years.

The city of Aurora released a statement Thursday following reporting Wednesday night by Denver7 Investigates.

“We are aware of the news coverage regarding Chief Wilson, but it remains wholly improper for us to engage in external, speculative conversations on any personnel matters,” the statement from spokesperson Ryan Luby says. “As we previously stated, we are focused on comprehensive public safety changes that are in the best interests of our community and employees.”

Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman also declined to answer a question about Wilson’s future on Thursday.

“It's really a matter for the city manager in our form of government,” he said.

Wilson’s tenure as police chief has been a tenuous one as she oversaw the aftermath following the death of Elijah McClain and dealt with several other scandals involving the department and the behavior of police officers.

The department has also had a steep drop-off in staff as 176 officers have left APD since January 2020.