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Our Plan to Restore Trust

Our Plan to Restore Trust

The city of Aurora and its Aurora Police Department (APD) are following a plan of action to restore the community’s trust through a new way of policing. The plan builds on the direction and foundation set by actions of the Aurora Mayor and City Council and the Public Safety, Courts and Civil Service Policy Committee.

APD, its leadership, city management and elected officials are committed to not only a more diverse public safety team that is reflective of the people of Aurora, but also a more racially equitable, bias-free and culturally competent agency that is responsive to the residents it serves. APD leadership has already taken a number of decisive steps to make changes. Those actions, combined with the components of this plan, will help us move toward effective and community-oriented policing for the entire community.

Our commitment to community-focused policing should be reflected in the command structure of the department and in changes that deepen the department’s relationship with the community and ensure the community’s voice is heard and represented.

Restoring the trust of the community is APD's top priority; it must provide responsive and respectful service to all Aurora residents. The continued pursuit of a safe community for all requires the cooperative and engaged involvement of residents, and we must work tirelessly to ensure a thoughtful approach from our professional and dedicated officers, and our community.

Below are the main points of our plan to restore trust. Click on the headers to see the details of each point.



City leaders are undertaking a comprehensive review of the Aurora Police Department in partnership with 21CP Solutions, a global firm of national experts in the areas of civil rights and public safety.

The scope of this review will include: evaluating the department’s leadership structure; elevating the role of community policing and engagement; assessing current policies and practices with respect to use of force, discriminatory policing and bias-free policing practices; reviewing processes to address officer misconduct and accountability; analyzing the practice of stops, searches and arrests; strengthening recruitment, hiring and retention practices; evaluating the department’s interaction with vulnerable populations; and examining crisis intervention procedures for and interactions with individuals experiencing behavioral health challenges.

Every aspect of this review will inform and influence changes that are made.



Our commitment to community-focused and community-oriented policing should be reflected in the command structure of the department. That focus is already a key philosophy of the Police Chief and APD's executive team, but there is more we must do to achieve the cultural transformation and reform needed to better serve the community. This includes:

  • Refocusing the department’s mission and vision with an emphasis on integrity, accountability and respect for all.
  • Building a more diverse Executive Team.
  • Elevating Community Relations to the highest level of the organization by adding a civilian member to the Chief’s Executive Team.
  • Adding a professional Communications Manager to increase communication with the public, media, city leaders and other stakeholders.
  • Creating professional development opportunities and pathways for the promotion of underrepresented members of the department through an internal mentoring program, pairing officers with department and community leaders, incentivizing new roles and expanding experiences and more.



We continue to evolve in how we prepare and train our officers, from the entry-level recruit to those with years of experience.

  • Panels of residents share with recruits and officers their interactions with the Aurora Police Department, both positive and negative, and their fears and hopes. This is a permanent component of all our academies and all-officer training.
  • An emphasis on scenario-based, realistic training will hone cultural competency and emotional intelligence skills. This allows officers to assess the situation and modify their response as appropriate. The purpose of the training is to enhance the ability of our officers to assess when circumstances require a potentially high-risk response or a lower risk response.
  • Implicit and unconscious bias and cultural competency training began in 2021 for all Aurora Police Department employees, whether sworn or civilian, and will continue to be part of training in future years.
  • Regular scenario briefings and tabletop exercises allow officers to assess incidents and determine whether things could have been handled differently and to reinforce model examples of good policing.
  • Crisis Intervention Training expansion.
  • Mental/Behavioral Health Awareness Training in order to recognize and appropriately respond to a mental or behavioral health situations or crisis.

These changes are in addition to the departmental policy changes made in early 2021 and to the changes the Police Department continues to implement in order to comply with new state law on police department procedures.



  • Growing the role of outside voices in APD reviews and decisions:
    • Addition of external representative/community member to participate in the department’s Force Review Boards in the evaluation of whether critical incident responses were conducted according to current policy.
    • Revise the Independent Review Board to include evaluation of the composition of the board, members’ responsibilities, and the IRB’s scope of work.
    • Community member involvement in decisions such as the Chief’s Review Board, key RFP/contracts selections, public-facing policy changes
      • Four community members from the chief’s Community Policing Advisory Team are serving on the selection committee for the department’s body-worn camera system.
  • The addition of a Police Auditor to increase the range and frequency of reviews of APD’s compliance with policies and procedures. The position may also be involved in business process improvements and may participate in select performance audits.
  • Learning from and adopting the recommendations of ongoing and completed reviews:
    • Evaluations, Investigations and Audits
      • 21CP – Comprehensive Evaluation of APD.
      • External Investigation of the Elijah McClain Case—this team-based review is being led by Jonathan Smith, who is executive director of the Washington Lawyer's Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs and includes Roberto Villasenor expert on Use of Force and Dr. Melissa Costello Medical Expert.
      • City Body-Worn Camera Audit completed in Sept. 2020.
      • Attorney General’s Independent Investigation on Elijah McClain case.
      • Attorney General’s Patterns and Practices Investigation.
  • Increased Transparency:
    • Release of Internal Affairs Investigation Reports and other disciplinary actions as allowed by state employment and privacy laws.
    • New regulations and directives incorporated into policies and procedures
      • Timely release of body-worn camera video
      • Collection of demographic data
  • We are working with Crime and Justice Institute, as well as community members, to update our Use of Force policy. Critical use of force directives were implemented involving the ban of the carotid and chokeholds.



  • Including diverse and critical voices:
    • Community Police Task Force is tasked with reviewing current police operations and procedures and making recommendations about community engagement and potential community input on critical incidents, such as civilian oversight. The task force includes leaders and advocates from the community of faith, NAACP, criminal justice reform organizations, educators and Aurora Key Community Response Team, as well as other individuals from the community.
    • Commitment to a department that reflects the community it serves. APD will employ best practices to attract, hire and retain underrepresented communities so that we more closely mirror the demographics of Aurora.
    • Our recruiting, hiring and retention work is crucial to accomplishing this and we will be looking at changes that emphasize the qualities and characteristics of potential officers, not just in the pursuit of a certain number of hires. This may involve changes to our charter mandate of two officers per 1,000 residents, and the Civil Service Commission’s role in selection process, hiring and disciplinary appeals of police officers.
  • Provide opportunities and possible pathways for Explorers to pursue a future career in Law Enforcement.
  • Mentoring with community members
  • APD has established additional ways to personally connect with groups and community members:

In addition to this plan, there are a number of other important steps being taken across the city including: establishing the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in January 2020; building the Equity Champions group; conducting citywide Implicit Bias and Cultural Competency Training; establishing a Police Auditor Position in APD; reevaluating the Civil Service Commission’s role in selection of public safety personnel and disciplinary appeals; and, separating Aurora911 from the Aurora Police Department.

If you would like to provide specific feedback on this plan to the city, please fill out our online feedback form.

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