Aurora police chief fires union president after letter mocking diversifying department

Officer Douglas Wilkinson had been with department since 2002
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Posted at 6:20 PM, Feb 03, 2022

DENVER – Aurora’s police chief fired the president of the police union Thursday after he sent an email in November to more than 200 members of the police department decrying attempts to diversify the maligned department, calling them “systemically sexist and racist.”

Chief Vanessa Wilson fired Officer Douglas Wilkinson after an investigation by Aurora’s human resources department and after finding Wilkinson violated Aurora’s anti-harassment policy and the police department’s directive on discrimination and harassment.

Lt. Chris Amsler, a spokesperson for the Aurora Police Department, said five APD employees made a complaint about the Nov. 16 email Wilkinson sent to 235 members of the department. Wilkinson, who was hired in 2002, was put on administrative leave after he sent the email. He was the president of the Aurora Police Association and sent the letter to the members of that union.

Wilkinson sent the email after the city of Aurora and Attorney General Phil Weiser announced earlier that day they would enter a consent decree to fix issues involving the policies, training record keeping and hiring practices within APD and Aurora Fire Rescue, which came after a 14-month investigation.

Part of the decree aims to change the city’s hiring practices to make them more inclusive and reflective of the city’s diversity, and another facet aims to reduce racial disparities in who officers engaged with and how.

In his letter to the 230+ others, Wilkinson decried the diversity changes.

“I suppose that the city could do political polling to make sure that the average politics of the department reflects the political ‘diversity’ of ‘the community.’ Or, to match the ‘diversity’ of ‘the community’, we could make sure to hire 10% illegal aliens, 50% weed smokers, 10% Crackheads, and a few child molesters and murderers to round it out. You know, so we can make the department to look like the ‘community’,” he wrote.

“…So, yes, the State’s plan, fully embraced by the city, is literally systematically sexist and racist,” he went on to add.

Wilkinson plans to appeal the termination, he said.