The city of Aurora and Colorado Attorney General will enter into a consent decree of up to five years over issues involving policies, training, record keeping and hiring practices within the city police and fire departments that were identified in a September report following a 14-month investigation.
Attorney General Phil Weiser and Aurora’s city manager and police and fire chiefs announced the consent decree at a news conference Tuesday afternoon, the Denver Channel reports.
"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,” Weiser said in a written statement. “Working together, we can protect public safety and civil rights by working with law enforcement to improve how it operates in Aurora.”
The decree says that Aurora will have to develop new policies and training for officers surrounding stopping people, tracking and documenting use-of-force incidents and creating a culture that prioritizes de-escalation, making changes to the city’s Force Review Board, making policy changes surrounding different types of stops and crisis intervention.
The city will also hire an outside expert with expertise in recruiting and hiring a qualified and diverse public safety workforce and to change policies to better identify trends and patterns involving the conduct of officers, including officers who repeatedly expose the city to civil liability or who have multiple complaints filed against them.
For the first year of the decree, the monitor will have to provide updates at least quarterly, and for the remainder of the decree, at least twice a year. But the decree also says that the monitor should spend most of its time working on the action items rather than working on writing updates.
The independent monitor will either be one individual or a team, Aurora City Manager Jim Twombly said. They could be paid hourly with a capped amount or an annual fixed price, but Twombly said the cost could top $200,000.
Colorado's policing reform law passed last year, known as Senate Bill 217, allows the state Department of Law to investigate the patterns and practices of government agencies and mandate changes if the investigations find the agency has a history of violating people's civil rights or denying their constitutional protections, the Denver Gazette reports.