Vanessa Wilson Named Aurora Chief of Police

Vanessa Wilson Named Aurora Chief of Police
Posted on 08/11/2020
Photo of Aurora Police Division Chief Vanessa Wilson

City Manager Jim Twombly announced that he is appointing Vanessa Wilson as Aurora’s new Chief of Police. The Aurora Mayor and City Council voted 10-1 to approve the city manager’s selection at its regular meeting Aug. 3.

Twombly stated, “I believe Vanessa is the right person with the right skills to lead the Aurora Police Department at this time. As a city and as a nation we are facing unprecedented calls for police reform and improvement. As Interim Chief she has already taken steps to begin to restore trust between the department and the community. With more than 23 years of varied roles in the Aurora Police Department, Wilson has extensive experience in not only law enforcement, but importantly, relating to and serving a complex and diverse community. We heard from members of the community that she has the qualities that Aurora needs today and in the future.”

Twombly made the selection following an extensive national search and interview process that included residents, employees, members of the Community Police Task Force, business leaders, the immigrant and refugee community, advocates for change and racial equality, and the Aurora City Council. Wilson was selected from a group of four finalists including: Commander Marcus Dudley, Aurora Police Department, Colorado; Colonel Alexander Jones, Baltimore County Police Department, Maryland; and, Avery Moore, Assistant Chief, Dallas Police Department, Texas.

“One of the things that has impressed me most about Vanessa in her seven months as Interim Chief of Police has been her demand for accountability and her dedication to communicating with the community in pursuit of trust and truth,” Twombly said.

Wilson has held numerous community meetings this year and instituted several reforms to police directives, including a ban on carotid control holds, changes to officers’ response to suspicious-person reports, a duty to intervene policy for officers who witness wrongdoing, and more.

Wilson will be the department’s first female police chief. She has served as the Interim Police Chief since January 2020. In 2015 she was the first female to attain the rank of Division Chief in the department and was the first female to serve in the position of Aurora Interim Police Chief. “I am honored, humbled and energized by the trust the city manager, mayor and council have placed in me,” Wilson said. “Aurora is a city that has experienced many triumphs and tragedies, and we sit at a crossroads for our city’s future. I am committed to leading the Aurora Police Department to be an active and engaged part of this community in building a collaborative and constructive path forward. We will be a transparent partner dedicated to making Aurora a safer city for all, with respect for our diversity, an embrace of unity, and continual conversation about how we can do better.”

During her career Wilson has served as Metro Division Chief with oversight of the Investigations Bureau and Special Operations Bureau, Patrol Operations Division Chief, Acting Commander of District 2 Patrol Operations, Executive Officer of the Investigations Bureau, Internal Affairs Commander, Lieutenant of Recruitment and Field Training and various other assignments.

Wilson holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Humanities from the University of Wyoming in Laramie. She is a graduate of the FBI National Academy, Rocky Mountain FBI Academy, FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Association Command Institute, Leadership in Police Organizations, sponsored by the International Association of Chief of Police, and she attended the Senior Management Institute for Police, sponsored by Boston University and the Police Executive Research Forum. In 2014 she received a Recognition Award from the Aurora Chamber of Commerce for “Women Making a Difference” for her creation and oversight of the ACOT (Aurora Community Outreach Team). She also received a Morton Bard Allied Professional Award from the National Organization of Victim Assistance for her support of victims of crime.

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