AURORA, Colo. — Changes are coming to the Aurora Police Department after years plagued by controversies and public fallout. Those leading the efforts to reform are looking to past experience to guide future decisions.
"I know consent decrees can [work]," said Jeff Schlanger, president of IntegrAssure.
On Monday, Aurora City Council approved a contract for more than $4.5 million, effectively hiring IntegrAssure to provide independent oversight of the city's consent decree.
The decree is intended to reform Aurora's police and fire departments from the inside out.
"There are focus areas of the consent decree itself: use of force, the issue of Fourth Amendment stops, issues of biased policing. We will be looking at all of those including issues relative to recruitment, hiring, and promotion," said Schlanger.
The consent decree follows a lengthy review and published report from the Colorado Attorney General.
Chief Vanessa Wilson has publicly shared her efforts for reform within the Aurora Police Department. However, Attorney General Weiser's findings called for more efforts to be made.
In an interview with Denver7, Schlanger said he strongly believes in the consent decree process.
"I monitored the Los Angeles Police Department for almost nine years. We saw crime go down and we saw officer safety go up," he said. "Most importantly, we saw public trust increase."
He added that their work will also focus on community engagement.
"We will be having town hall meetings. We will be establishing an advisory council to the monitor, and those are all in the works now, and we will also be putting up a website," said Schlanger.
Denver7 reached out to the Aurora City Council about the city's next steps and progress.
Councilor Alison Coombs responded by saying: "I think if the real spirit of the consent decree is carried out, part of what's mandated in that process is robust and meaningful community engagement. I do hope that having that be carried out in a way that really connects with community members who have mistrust, will lead to us actually addressing the issues that create that mistrust ...that create that lack of safety for so many people in our community."
Preston Nunn, who was tased by Aurora police during a May 2021 arrest, is skeptical.
"Nothing is going to change unless people want to make it change, and make the steps to change otherwise," he said.
On Tuesday, the Aurora Police Department confirmed to Denver7 the internal affairs investigation into Nunn’s arrest is ongoing; the officer who was placed on paid administrative leave as a result of the investigation, has since returned to work and is currently assigned to District 3 patrol.