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Aurora police union overwhelmingly passes no-confidence vote in police chief

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Posted at 9:08 PM, Oct 01, 2021

AURORA, Colo. — The Aurora Fraternal Order of Police union president confirmed a no-confidence vote in the Aurora police chief overwhelmingly passed Thursday.

Marc Sears, president of FOP Lodge 49, said the vote of no-confidence in Aurora Police Department Chief Vanessa Wilson passed 442-16. The vote was available for all captains and below ranks to vote.

"We are representing a unified front in the stance of having no confidence in the chief's office," Sears told Denver7 earlier this week.

Sears raised concerns over recent decisions by Wilson, like opening an internal affairs investigation into use of force during the arrest of Preston Nunn III, which had already been reviewed by the Force Review Board.

After Wilson decided to open the internal affairs investigation “out of an abundance of caution” and place an officer on paid administrative leave, Lodge 49 released a statement saying, in part:

"This investigation was done, and there’s no reason for it to be reopened. This has lead (sic) to the bargaining unit informing city management that it lacks confidence in the Chief’s Office. However, the president of the union is confident they can meet to reestablish trust.”

Following the no-confidence vote, one of the City of Aurora’s deputy city managers released a statement saying Wilson and Aurora officers have “my full support.”

“She was selected because we believed, and still believe, that she is the right person. She accepted and embraced her role knowing significant challenges were ahead. She is responsible for making difficult and, at times, unpopular decisions to meet the needs of both employees and our community. Over the last 21 months, she has been a vocal champion for Aurora police officers while also making it clear that she supports implementing best practices. This vote comes at a time when there are a lot of changes underway for the policing profession. I believe we all share the same goal in supporting our officers and look forward to working with the FOP to address their concerns and restore trust,” Deputy City Manager Jason Batchelor said.

The APD has been embroiled in controversy over high-profile incidents, like the death of Elijah McClain and the arrest of Kyle Vinson, as well as the release of a state report that determined the department uses excessive force and racially biased police practices and violates state and federal laws as part of its patterns and practices.