Editor: We, the Transforming Justice Team of Together Colorado, were shocked and disappointed when we learned of the firing of Aurora Police Chief Vanessa Wilson. As Coloradans, no matter where we live, how much money we make, or our race or religion, we all want our community to be safe to live, work, and raise our families. Unfortunately, the police department in Aurora has not always provided a sense of safety and security for the city’s inhabitants. Chief Wilson was hired to remedy this situation in 2019 and provide safety to everyone in the Aurora community.
We believe she was in the process of doing just that for the whole community. In the words of state Senators Rhonda Fields and Janet Buckner, Chief Wilson has been “rebuilding our community’s trust in our city’s police department.”
In September, after a yearlong investigation by Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser, the Aurora Police Department (A.P.D.) was found to have violated state and federal laws with racially biased policing and excessive force practices. As a result, A.P.D. was placed under a consent decree and is currently under the supervision of a specially appointed Independent Monitor. Clearly, the problems that Chief Wilson was addressing were severe and pervasive and called for decisive action. It seems that some of her decisive actions, though correct and called for, were not popular with some in the police department and city. We would assert that adverse reactions to her reforms are in fact a sign of Chief Wilson’s effectiveness at bringing about reform rather than a sign of her incompetence. We are deeply concerned that the firing of Chief Wilson will set back efforts to rebuild trust between the community and the A.P.D., as well as decrease community safety.
As people of a multi-faith organization, we strive to build God’s Commonwealth here on earth where everyone has a moral responsibility to their neighbor, no matter their race or rank. We at Together Colorado stand in solidarity with Chief Wilson. She provided an example of leading law enforcement reform and building trust in the most diverse city in the State of Colorado.
— Together Colorado, via [email protected]