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Aurora police faced a 61% spike in officers leaving the force in 2020 compared to 2019

Aurora police car
Posted at 9:40 PM, Feb 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-25 23:40:00-05

DENVER — The number of officers who left the Aurora Police Department increased 61% from 2019 to 2020, according to data gathered by human resources.

The top reasons officers left in 2020 was retirement, working conditions and overall leadership, according to data collected from a departure survey.

In 2021 so far, 13 officers retired, nine resigned and two were fired.

A former Aurora police officer who recently quit spoke with Denver7 on conditions on anonymity.

“Most people when I told them I was leaving said, ‘Good for you. I’m a little bit jealous,’” the former officer said.

On a scale of one to 10, she rated morale at the department a three. When asked how she would grade Aurora Police Chief Vanessa Wilson’s leadership, she gave her an F.

“They really need a police chief that’s leading the department ,and I don’t think they have that,” the former officer said.

She blames the high turnover rate on faulty policies that fail to protect officers and a new hands-off approach to policing.

“There is not support for us," the former officer said.

Wilson has been very vocal about increasing transparency in the department and mending a broken trust between the community and the police department. Denver7 reached out to request an interview with Wilson. She declined and released the following statement about officers leaving the force:

“Policing during a period of reform presents many challenges for a community, agency and the officers. Every year many members of the Aurora Police Department become eligible for retirement and choose to do so for a variety of reasons. As with any profession, some will become disinterested, especially during a period of change, and make the difficult decision to resign. Regardless of their reason to leave, I am thankful for their dedication and service to community. Additionally, I am encouraged by the courageous officers who remain on the force and by the many officers in our academy who despite these challenging times stand ready to serve.”

There are currently 734 officers employed at the Aurora Police Department, which meets a consent signed between the Aurora Police Association and the city in 2016.

The former officer accuses Wilson of being an extension of the Aurora City Council.

The officer turnover rate at the department will be reviewed Thursday by city leaders.