LETTERS: Candidate claims that increasing crime requires bigger police budgets are mistaken

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Editor: Unfortunately, the candidates for Aurora City Council who are running on a platform of more money for the Police Department and an out of control crime rate are unnecessarily increasing the fear of the residents of Aurora. Three of those candidates, Danielle Jurinsky, Jono Scott, and Dustin Zvonek, are members of Aurora’s Citizens’ Advisory Committee and have ready access to all of the budget information I am going to present. However, they chose to not share the budget information with the voting public because it destroys what they are campaigning on. The other candidates who are part of their slate are Bill Gondrez and Steve Sundberg.

The following is from the City of Aurora Colorado’s website.

The Budget for the Aurora Police Department has continued to increase over the last several years, and in fact, the proposed budget for 2022 represents the largest percentage increase compared to that for the years 2018 through 2021’s projected budget.

2018 Actual 2019 Actual 2020 Actual 2021 Projection 2022 Proposed
$113,304,955 $121,280,734 $128,017,950 $127,156,044 $136,794,493
% Change 7.0 5.6 -0.7 7.6

From the proposed 2022 Budget, “Police Budget Developments for 2022″

In 2022, the department will increase civilian staffing levels to handle increasing volumes of work and better serve the residents of Aurora. Adding an additional team of records technicians will improve transcription turnaround times, ensuring residents receive reports sooner than currently available. Civilian traffic personnel will be added to handle responses to minor traffic incidents, allowing officers to respond to higher priority calls for service. Similarly, the addition of electronic support section analysts will improve the use of different technologies while allowing the currently assigned officers to perform police work rather than administrative functions. A crime analyst supervisor will be added to centralize the structure of crime analysts throughout the department and provide consistent supervision and workload management. A personnel specialist is also included in the 2022 budget to take on the increased workload Police payroll staff currently handles as staffing has grown over the years.

The 2022 budget also includes one-time adds to replace and add vehicles and equipment throughout the department. This includes providing proper personal protective equipment (PPE) to the Emergency Response Team (ERT) to prevent hearing loss and other health issues, ERT equipment and maintenance for use and training materials that are necessary for crowd management, crime lab equipment replacement, and other.”

The Police Training Section budget has also continued to increase over the last several years.

2018 Actual 2019 Actual 2020 Actual 2021 Projection 2022 Proposed
$6,836,472 $6,802,111 $8,489,205 $9,492,390 $9,884,403
% Change -0.5 24.8 11.8 4.1

From the above, you can see that the city is already taking the necessary steps to improve the coverage we get from the sworn officers and at the same time relieving them of the duties that they did not sign up to do as professional law enforcement officers. The salary of civilians is significantly less than that of the sworn officers, so the city is also saving the taxpayers money.

I am supporting the candidates who don’t hide facts from others, but rather those who believe in others, honesty, transparency, equity, and people over profit. Those candidates are Crystal Murillo, Bryan Lindstrom, Ruben Medina, and John Ronquillo.

— Arnie Schultz, via [email protected]

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FeelingsAreNotFacts
FeelingsAreNotFacts
1 month ago

How very typical of a committed Berniecrat to think that candidates Znonek, Jurinsky, and Scott are only talking about budget levels, but expected since spending seems the primary lens through which you look. No, this trio of candidates is talking about supporting police in spirit and intent, as well — including some of the reform measures currently in development that may make more officers available to fight actual crime.

What I believe these candidates are talking about rejecting the vilification of LEOs, rejecting criminal-friendly policies that endanger our communities, and empowering officers to do a very dangerous, very unpredictable job and return to their families at the end of the day.

FeelingsAreNotFacts
FeelingsAreNotFacts
1 month ago

Just visited the websites and NOWHERE do any of these candidates mention increasing police budgets. Nice strawman, old man.

Joe Felice
Joe Felice
1 month ago

So we’ve been lied to by those who want us to believe the police department is being defunded and that the current City Council members aren’t doing anything about crime. Whomever we elect will have to live under this budget, be they liberal (“socialists” as the haters and naysayers like to call them) or conservative. Thank you, Arnie, for this information!

The problem is not funding. The problem is that no one wants to be a police officer nowadays, and many of the old guard (the good old boys’ club who don’t support beneficial changes) are not the least bit happy about being subject to rules and laws. I’m sure many officers are reluctant to answer calls for fear of their lives. (With just cause, since all the criminals, even the juveniles, are armed.)

The other problem is called “American society.” We are totally out of control and everyone seems to have a gun and wants to shoot it. People hate each other and have no respect for life.

So here we are. And what do we do about it? We make the situation political, thereby assuring no resolution, and we continue to argue, instead of advocating for common-sense solutions.

Always remember that there is no one running for office who does not want safer streets and neighborhoods in Aurora, despite what some would like us to believe because it suits their agenda. It’s that agenda that gets us in so-much trouble these days.

Reno Carollo
1 month ago

Well said Arnie, I sit on the Citizens Advisory Budget Committee as well, and given the numbers I see and the work that has been done to support our police as well as find deserving officers is so Important and not to be overlooked. Our city manager is doing a good job in addressing the needs of changing our police department to serve our citizens, and change the warrior culture that currently exists on the police force. Scott, Jurinzsky, and Zvonek are just supporting the status quo and not addressing the need for change in our police department. They are using fear to promote a conservative agenda. What a shame.

Brent G Taylor
Brent G Taylor
1 month ago

Rather obviously, you’ve missed (deliberately?) the point in the campaigns of Danielle Jurinsky, Jono Scott, Dustin Zvonek, Bill Gondrez and Steve Sundberg. Not necessarily endorsing any of these people, but all you’ve pointed out is that the police budget is already increasing for next year. Who sets this budget? Who approves it? Who do you want (voter), if this is your litmus test, approving the budget in 2023, 2024, 2025 and 2026? Someone who wants to further fund the police department or who wants to cut their budget?

Jeff Brown
Jeff Brown
1 month ago

As a former member of The CABC, I remain curious on how the city can transform the police department when

(A) police salaries and benefits makeup the city’s top expense.

(B) the city depends largely on sales tax receipts to fund everything.

(C) the city’s retail economy measured per capita falls 14% the state average and 59% behind Denver– the city’s top competitor for talent, including law enforcement.

I haven’t heard one candidate acknowledge that Aurora’s dying retail is a root cause of everything that ails the city.

Further, Republicans and Democrats seem united in doing nothing substantial to correct the tanking retail economy. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!

Dean
1 month ago

The problem with this letter to the editor, is it premise has stated a deceptive political agenda exist within the current election cycle for city council. It’s done by relying on some presumption of static historic projected schedules for the general police budget and the police training budgets. This particular budget forecast the author has used, makes it sound like nothing in Aurora has changed in the last five years. Thus, no change in the budget and a minimum need to make any course corrections in the city’s police departments financial arrangements. So, in short, he paints a picture of these candidates having inside information on long term police economic requirements to deliver services, but instead these contestants would rather intentionally mislead voters. And the legendary “people over profit” argument. Now that’s rich….
    
Interestingly, the same day (Oct-19) this illusory editorial was posted, The Aurora Sentinel did another news piece about the Aurora police. This other reports the total train wreck at the Aurora cop shop. An operation running like a department with an unknown future, no details on a plan to pay for everything unidentified and shortly to take place in the city. The Sentinel’s piece yesterday, although not owed to any calculation will detail the conflict and contradiction of the “increasing crime requires police budgets are mistaken” editorial headliner piece  and his hypothetical perspective.

Pleas note     https://sentinelcolorado.com/news/metro/overtime-totals-near-300k-for-aurora-cops-taking-shifts-to-cover-staffing-shortages/

“The new found lack of personnel has forced Police Chief Vanessa Wilson to cut resources previously allocated to the department’s SWAT, traffic, narcotics units and backfill patrol duties with overtime assignments.”
“We are facing a manpower issue,” Wilson told city council members earlier this year. “I want to applaud the officers that are working day in and day out those that are taking on these overtime assignments. They are tired and they’re weary.”
Does Chief Vanessa Wilson, wonder if the police budget will stay within the rails?           Think again, she knows how expensive a dept like hers cost to run.   
Common sense seems evident to the future of funding demands for the Police.

 The reality of crime escalation (every day shootings/high level crimes) to most anyone that pays just the minimum attention should be able to figure what’s going on. And… No… social workers don’t cut it. These candidates, running for council that have pulled no punches that they will not let the police flounder and help restore some law and order in this city. Unfortunately, for the ones that recognize what needs to happen and they end up successful next month, into things that are exploding.  These candidates also know they will need to deal with people that object now, as they will always object, to reasonable police protection and terrified of a well-run police dept.   
 

Don Black
Don Black
1 month ago

While I am impressed with all the improvements, I also know that much of where the money is being spent will have little impact on crime. Having spent many years working with the police administration, I am keenly aware that they have no effective plan for dealing with crime. It looks great on paper. That is, as long as you really don’t know much about what is actually effective. It can’t change much with the present leadership.

sugar
1 month ago

makes a lot of sense – you just can’t throw money at a problem and expect it to go away!