Attorney General Phil Weiser, Aurora city officials reach agreement on a consent decree to improve policing and protect public safety
Nov. 16, 2021 (AURORA, Colo.)—Attorney General Phil Weiser and the City of Aurora today announced they have reached an agreement on how the city will address the issues identified in a report from an investigation into the practices of the Aurora Police Department and Aurora Fire Rescue.
Attorney General Weiser joined City Manager Jim Twombly, Police Chief Vanessa Wilson, and Fire Chief Fernando Gray at the Aurora Municipal Center to announce a consent decree that sets forth the specific commitments that the Aurora Police Department, Aurora Fire Rescue, and the Aurora Civil Service Commission will take with the oversight of an independent consent decree monitor to improve their practices and comply with state and federal law.
“This consent decree will elevate policing and improve public safety in the City of Aurora. The hard work ahead will be to build trust in law enforcement, operate with a spirit of continuous improvement, and protect public safety using legal and just means,” said Attorney General Weiser. “Working together, we can protect public safety and civil rights by working with law enforcement to improve how it operates in Aurora. As the city does this important work, our department will support it and do all we can to ensure that it succeeds in delivering on its commitments.”
The changes outlined in the consent decree build on recent efforts the city has taken to improve policing and public safety. The draft consent decree unveiled today establishes a framework for addressing the following issues:
- Creating specific guidance on police officers’ exercise of discretion during interactions with community members to address perceived or actual bias in policing;
- Improving use-of-force policies and training to avoid unnecessarily escalating encounters with community members;
- Promoting and improving the hiring of qualified police officers and firefighters to better reflect the city’s diversity;
- Developing a new system to collect data about police interactions with members of the community as required by law; and
- Ensuring the lawful administration of chemical sedatives and requiring review of policies and procedures by the independent consent decree monitor before ketamine may be used again.
In each area, the consent decree requires the city to meet important milestones. The independent consent decree monitor will provide regular public updates to the court and work with Aurora to ensure these changes reflect best practices and community input.
The consent decree will last about five years, with the exact time determined by how long Aurora takes to implement the changes and substantially comply with the requirements of the consent decree.
The consent decree and a complaint will be filed in Arapahoe County District Court.
Earlier this month, the City of Aurora began a competitive search process for a consent decree monitor so that the finalist can begin their oversight role as soon as possible.