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Monitor: Aurora Police Department missed several consent decree deadlines

Interim police chief says he's committed to implementing reforms
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Posted at 2:52 PM, Feb 18, 2023

AURORA, Colo. – The third and latest report from the independent consent decree monitor shows Aurora has more work to do reforming its police department after missing several key deadlines.

Jeff Schlanger, the lead monitor and CEO of IntegreAssure, which is reviewing and tracking the city’s progress in implementing reforms under the decree, delivered a presentation highlighting key findings from the 378-page report before a virtual meeting of the Aurora Consent Decree Community Advisory Council Thursday night.

“There is no doubt that working together we can get to the finished line and achieve everything that everyone on this call wants to see happen,” said Schlager.

The consent decree was created in November 2021 after the Colorado attorney general’s office found Aurora Police violated several state and federal laws due to racially biased policing and the use of force.

The consent decree directs the department to make changes in several areas, including improving its use of force policies and training.

But the monitoring team found Aurora agencies to be in substantial compliance with only 11 mandates.

The monitoring team listed 29 mandates as being on a cautionary track, because of missed deadlines or uncertainty as to whether the expectations of the monitor would be met.

This included 19 missed deadlines related to use of force policies.

Monitor: Aurora Police Department missed several consent decree deadlines

“With the force review board, there needed to be more focus on continuous improvement and more critical examination of issues,” said Schlanger, adding that improvements have been made recently.

The report said the monitor and Aurora officials have also developed a “better understanding” of the capabilities of APD in simultaneously implementing what are significant changes.

The report covers the period from mid-August to mid-November of 2022, which was before Interim Police Chief Art Acevedo arrived in Aurora in December.

Acevedo, who is nationally known as a police reform advocate, spoke at length and answered several questions from community members at Thursday’s meeting.

Acevedo says he’s committed to implementing the reforms outlined in the consent decree.

“We are … very much committed to the consent decree,” said Acevedo. “I really believe the consent decree is a great opportunity for this department to become the model agency for the nation.”

Acevedo also announced a new policy on body cameras.

Officers must turn their body cams on when responding to a call and not wait until they get to a scene.

It also limits when they can mute the camera’s microphone, a change Acevedo learned was needed after going on patrol with some of his officers.

“What they were actually muting was what the community needed to hear if something went wrong and we ended up using force or God forbid deadly force,” said Acevedo.

Schlanger says all the changes outlined in the decree won’t happen overnight.

But the monitoring team is optimistic that with the chief’s support, the changes will be made.

“And while there have been failures to meet some of the agreed-upon deadlines, overall, the City has expressed its belief that all deadlines will be met within the first two years of the decree,” the report said.

The monitoring team expects the entire process to last five years, which includes three years of monitoring how the policies are being followed by officers on the street.

To read the full report and previous reports visit https://www.auroramonitor.org/reports


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