AURORA, Colo. — A townhall Tuesday evening gave residents in Aurora their first opportunity to ask questions and voice concerns to city leaders and representatives from IntegrAssure, the firm selected to act as independent monitors of the consent decree entered into by police and fire departments in Nov. 2021.
The monitors promise this to be the first of many townhalls and focus groups with the community to keep them an active part of the reform process.
The consent degree was formed in the wake of Elijah McClain’s death, which put a spotlight on public safety in Aurora. The decree calls for oversight related to racial bias in policing, use of force policies, the documentation of police stops, the use of ketamine as a sedative, the recruitment and hiring of officers and accountability in disciplinary processes.
IntegrAssure’s chief executive officer Jeff Schlanger said the monitor team’s job is to “hold the city’s feet to the fire” as it pursues reforms. He also said a community advisory council will be impaneled, giving residents the opportunity to participate in the process. Those interested can apply on the independent monitoring agency’s website.
“They will be our eyes and ears on the streets of Aurora to report back to us how they are feeling about their public safety agencies,” Schlanger told Denver7.
Consent decrees can be controversial. Opponents argue they can hurt police morale, leading officers to be less proactive in the field and overtime, allowing crime rates to spike. According to John MacDonald, a professor of criminology at the University of Pennsylvania, research on the topic is limited, but studies of consent decrees in Los Angeles and Pittsburgh suggest they can lead to increased public satisfaction police with no evidence on police morale when police leadership embrace the decrees.
IntegrAssure will be releasing quarterly reports on their monitoring, with the first expected to be released on July 15, 2022.