Aurora city manager fires police chief Wilson; says scathing records audit wasn’t a factor

 

AURORA | Aurora City Manager announced a “change of leadership” in the police department Wednesday morning, firing chief Vanessa Wilson without a specific cause. 

Wilson, who has been at the helm of the department for two years now, will be paid a year’s salary for the termination “without cause.” 

In answering questions from reporters Wednesday, Twombly said it was neither the rise in crime in Aurora nor a scathing records audit released this week that were grounds for the firing. 

“Chief Wilson prioritized community involvement. This is something we all recognize as a strength of hers. However there is more to achieve that involves management of the police department,” he said. “There also needs to be effective management of department operations, engagement with officers and staff and a strategic approach to moving the department forward.”

Twombly did not give any specific examples to reporters during a news conference about the decision.

Wilson’s lawyer told the Sentinel the termination was “a concerted campaign by Councilperson Danielle Jurinsky and other conservative city council members to smear Chief Wilson’s reputation and credibility.”

A day before Twombly announced his decision, a consultant previously criticized for a lack of professional objectivity blasted Aurora police in an audit saying thousands of police reports for crimes as serious as murder and child molestation have gone unprocessed.

“She wasn’t fired because of the records,” Twombly told a reporter at a news conference Wednesday. Instead he pointed to two “themes”: overall management and overall leadership, he said.

“I’m thankful for the opportunity to serve the people of Aurora.  I am proud of its police officers and what we’ve accomplished together,” Wilson said in a statement through her attorney. “I look forward to continue working in law enforcement to ensure transparency, reform, and accountability. We must all remain dedicated to practices that ensure the safety and well-being of our communities and the fair treatment of all citizens. During my time as Chief, my focus has been to bring about the reforms required by the consent decree and restore trust in our community.  I am proud of the progress this department has made during the myriad of challenges that we have faced.  I hope that the Aurora community understands that the amazing women and men of the Aurora police department care about them and will continue to protect and serve regardless of who leads this agency.  I am proud to have been their Chief.”

City council members were mixed in their responses to the firing.

“Given the challenges that we had when she came on, I think she was the right person for the right time at that time,” Mayor Mike Coffman said Wednesday. “Given the fact that we have rising crime, given the fact that there was a lack of urgency in her leadership, and resolving the problem certainly caused me to support the city manager’s decision.”

“I think Vanessa was in a tough position because she had lost the morale of her department, and when you lead an organization the size of Aurora’s, it’s very hard to lead when you’ve lost the rank and file (officers),” said Councilmember Curtis Gardner.

However, he said he did not think the problem was entirely her fault and that some of the reported crisis of confidence within the organization was caused by external factors.

“To me, there isn’t sufficient evidence that she should no longer be the police chief,” Gardner said, but he acknowledged the decision was ultimately Twombly’s to make.

Councilmember Allison Coombs echoed said she was “disappointed” by Twombly’s decision to fire the chief, which she said would undermine ongoing efforts to reform the department.

“This tells the worst actors in our police department that the city management is not in charge, and the City Council is not in charge, and instead, they are,” she said.

Coombs accused new council members of working behind the scenes to orchestrate the firing of the chief.

Outside city hall, the comment was more targeted.

Lindsay Minter, an activist and member of Aurora’s Community Police Task Force, said that Wilson was “set up to fail.”

“Nobody likes change but to treat someone who served the department for 25 years in such a manner is deplorable,” she said.

Minter said she didn’t always agree with the decisions that Wilson made, but said that she had made significant strides in building back trust with the community. Now, all that has been undone.

“With a stroke of a pen he took all that trust she built with Aurora away,” Minter said.

State senator Rhonda Fields (D-Aurora), one of the cosponsors of Colorado’s sweeping 2020 police reform bill, voiced her displeasure on social media.

I am disappointed by (the Aurora government’s) actions in firing Chief Wilson, who proudly protected our community for 26 years, and rose to become the first woman to serve as Chief of Police,” she said. “The city’s action shows that restoring public trust and holding police officers accountable still is not a priority for our community. This termination was deeply flawed, and I hope the city reconsiders this shameful and disruptive decision.”

Police record consultant Ed Claughton, CEO of PRI Management Group, issued a scathing assessment Tuesday of a long-standing police records backlog, laying blame on Chief Vanessa Wilson’s administration. 

The audit report comes on the heels of news of an effort to oust the chief, disliked by some council conservatives and police union members for her outspoken support of police reform.

Activist Candice Bailey said that Wilson’s firing “sends the message that change is not welcome or warranted in the city of Aurora.”

She criticized Twombly for placing the blame wholly on Wilson and believes that he should be fired as well.

“If her head is on the chopping block, his should be as well,” she said. “He is the most powerful man in our city and chooses to deflect leadership and accountability to one individual.”

Bailey sits on the citizen’s advisory budget committee, and said that anyone who has seen the city’s budget for the past several years would have known that there was a problem with records.

“There is not a question in my mind that every leader in our city knew there was a problem in the records department” but chose to place the blame on Wilson, she said.

According to the audit, the backlog of documents included 2,512 police reports as of March 11, 1,054 of which dated back to 2021, according to the audit report. Claughton warned that the backlog could hold up investigations or result in dangerous criminals not being arrested before harming more people.

“It is administrative errors and failures such as this that lead to cases like the Charleston, SC church mass murder and the Marjorie (sic) Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, both of which would not have happened had law enforcement not erred in the processing of prior cases involving the suspects,” he wrote.

“While the police department is aware of this, it has not assigned the level of urgency that it should and has taken insufficient steps to correct this high-liability matter,” he said. “Ultimately, such failures are the result of a lack of leadership and accountability.”

State legislators representing Aurora, all Democrats, joined a chorus of voices pushing back on the firing.

“The firing of Aurora’s police chief will set back the critical and long overdue efforts currently underway in Aurora to ensure accountability and integrity in our police department,” lawmakers said in  joint press release. The group includes representatives Iman Jodeh, Naquetta Ricks, Mandy Lindsay, Mike Weissman, and Dafna Michaelson Jenet and state senators Rhonda Fields and Janet Buckner. “Chief Wilson has been working hard to build a police force that reflects the diversity of our community and hold officers accountable for racially biased actions. Her firing in the middle of these efforts sends a terrible message to the police force and to the community about Aurora’s commitment to reforming these practices.”

Wilson “held officers who engaged in misconduct accountable, and refused to tolerate the status quo that the Attorney General’s investigation found consistently endangered the lives of Black and Brown people in Aurora.,” the group wrote. “We will not go back. Aurora needs a police chief who will continue these critical reforms to eradicate the department’s clearly documented pattern of racist policing and targeting of people of color.”

The chief’s critics however, seized on the report, demanding accountability. 

Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman posted on social media Tuesday that “there is absolutely no excuse for this, and the safety of our residents has been compromised because of a catastrophic failure of leadership within the department.”

Danielle Jurinsky, who the chief’s attorney has obliquely identified as being part of the conspiracy to oust Wilson, linked to a news article on the audit and said it was “time for significant leadership changes in the APD.”

The firing immediately drew attention to the city’s consent decree with the state’s attorney general, mandating reforms in APD, partly because of death of Elijah McClain at the hands of Aurora police.

“Sheneen McClain and Kyle Vinson are very alarmed after learning of Aurora City Council’s suspicious termination of Police Chief Wilson,” said the family’s attorney, Qusair Mohamedbhai.  “Aurora is already regressing soon after the ink has dried on the consent decree. McClain and Vinson recognize Chief Wilson’s efforts to engage with community, and they both demand Aurora stop undoing efforts to combat systemic racist and violent policing. Aurora has unfortunately not learned from the recent $15 million Elijah McClain settlement.”

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser issued a statement Tuesday, saying the consent decree will be unaffected by Wilson’s firing.

“The consent decree requiring improvement of policing and building trust in law enforcement in Aurora is with the City of Aurora, not any one person or agency,” Weiser said. “The attorney general’s office will continue this important work with Aurora leadership and the next Aurora police chief.”

 

Councilmember Danielle Jurinsky on the council dais Monday March 14, 2022, after the city council met in closed session. SENTINEL SCREEN GRAB

While Claughton blamed department leadership for a backlog of hundreds of reports, some members of the department and an attorney for police Chief Vanessa Wilson questioned his judgment, suggesting he was beholden to the “political agenda” of the chief’s opponents on the city council.

Wilson’s leadership of the department has become a divisive topic on Aurora’s city council in recent months — attorney Paula Greisen previously said City Manager Jim Twombly asked Wilson on March 21 to resign, claiming Twombly was under pressure from a council contingent unhappy with Wilson’s efforts to reform the department.

A veteran Aurora police officer of color, speaking on the condition of  anonymity to The Sentinel, for fear of reprisal, said numerous female officers and minority cops are convinced that the audit controversy is just the latest effort to stymie police reform, especially transparency and accountability.

“There are forces at work here that want to turn back the clock,” the officer said, referring to multiple mandates for police reform. “New conservative members of the city council are either agents of some police union leaders or themselves working to push back against a chief who has worked to restore credibility and trust from the community.”

The officer said Wilson was put in a Herculean predicament from the beginning, trying to rebuild credibility with the public and shore up a police department while making clear “it would no longer be business as usual.”

“The chief has made it clear that she’ll fire cops who commit fireable offenses,” the officer said. “That infuriates some cops who see nothing wrong with pistol-whipping suspects or telling officers that the chief wants to replace white male cops with inferior officers of color.”

The officer said there are many cops afraid to speak out against this effort, fearing it could cost them a future promotion or even their job. More worrisome, the officer said, is bullying and hazing by fellow officers.

“Cops are like lemmings,” the officer said. “They follow the leader.”

Many cops are afraid to step up against those fighting reform because they worry what might happen at a critical moment when they need help from someone who sees them as a political opponent.

“Am I going to be covered when I’m out on calls?” the officer asked. “It may never come to that, but I can tell you, the worry and the fear that it could happen is palpable,” adding that it prevents many officers from voicing their opinions.

The officer said too many cops and political leaders are mistaken in thinking that policing requires oppressive authority and control.

“You can fight crime and endear yourself to the community at the same time,” the officer said.

A veteran ranking officer in the Aurora Police Department also questioned the validity of some claims made in the report, specifically that the public was in imminent danger because cases involving murderers or sexual predators languished.

The officer also spoke on the condition of anonymity, saying they were not authorized to talk about questions the audit raised.

That officer said the PRI report was highly unusual in the language used in the assessment, levying a political charge against the police department “leadership.”

City Manager Jim Twombly said in a statement that he and the city’s internal audit team hired PRI in December, after an internal audit of the department’s compliance with the Colorado Criminal Justice Records Act showed widespread problems within the records section.

The act primarily covers public access to police records, as well as protocols for handling and storing all kinds of reports and materials. The internal audit — requested last year by Wilson and city leaders —- concluded the department had at times not complied with regulations and said the records request process needed improvement to ensure accessibility and transparency.

Alleged violations mostly had to do with how long requests took and how they were handled. The auditors said the records section was understaffed and struggling with a variety of inefficiencies as well as old and incompatible technologies.

“The problems this section faces did not occur over a short period of time, are numerous and in some cases complex,” Twombly said at the time. He also recognized the chief for her attempts to remedy the records problem.

“As I’ve mentioned above, this situation didn’t happen overnight, and I believe she inherited much of it,” he wrote.

Besides backlogged police reports, Claughton said in the Tuesday report that  more than a thousand public records requests were unfulfilled, several thousand court-ordered record seals and expungements had not been processed, and several thousand Colorado Criminal Information Center second-party quality control checks had not been completed.

He blamed the “organizational structure and work schedule” of the section, criticizing how it was split between a “law enforcement / operations side” and a “public window side.” Claughton said that “while staffing may also be a contributing factor, it is likely not the primary, or even secondary, cause of any backlogs.”

He also said there was an “alarming lack of urgency” within the section that he believed could be addressed by assigning a police lieutenant to get involved in operations.

Claughton suggested the majority of records section employees be assigned to addressing the backlog. He recommended the department:

  • Reduce the number of mistakes in police reports which are not caught by police supervisors and tell sergeants to scrutinize reports more closely.
  • Direct the municipal court to fully implement the Versaterm system, which would reduce the burden on the section to print records and provide copies and paper documents.
  • Train officers during daily briefings on how to look up records within the backlog.
  • Give officers the ability to look up criminal histories from their mobile computers without having to contact the records section.

Twombly said in the statement Tuesday that the consultant released its report after spending a week on-site in March and that the records section was “in many ways … the backbone of Aurora’s criminal justice system.”

“These are not failures that have occurred overnight,” Twombly said. “Nevertheless, it is the city management team’s responsibility to make sure there is a plan in place that prioritizes a swift, thorough and lasting resolution to these problems.”

News of the audit promoted top prosecutors from Aurora’s two judicial districts to sound alarm.

“We have read the PRI report regarding Aurora Police Records Staffing and, suffice to say, we are alarmed,” district attorneys Brian Mason and Johns Kellner said in a joint statement. “Our first concern is to ensure that the public – and specifically victims of crime – are protected. Failures in processing police reports of new crimes or processing reports in ongoing investigations must be remedied immediately to both protect the public and the integrity of existing cases.”

City spokesperson Ryan Luby said that, since March, the backlog had been cut down to 1,252 pending reports. Twombly described a variety of steps taken by the department to address the backlog, including:

  • Assigning a police lieutenant with prior records management experience to oversee the section.
  • Transitioning to fully in-person work in the records section.
  • Temporarily closing the section to the public on Wednesdays to focus on transcription.
  • Training sergeants on quality control measures to fix reports before they’re submitted to the records section.
  • Temporarily assigning officers on light duty to the records section.
  • Automating more of the records management system to reduce errors.
  • Adding more records technicians and a supervisor as well as an open records coordinator to process CCJRA requests.
  • Conducting a pay study to ensure the city can continue to hire and retain records staff.
  • Prioritizing “significant” cases that require more investigation or jail follow-up.

Claughton recommended there be a backlog of no more than 50 reports at a given time.

Greisen, Wilson’s attorney, said the chief recognizes the need for improvements in the records section — which is why she supported the original audit and recommended the corrective actions mentioned by Twombly — but does not agree that she is to blame.

Wilson’s attorney reiterated what Twombly said about the problems in the records section existing prior to the chief taking office.

“If the city wanted these conclusions to be taken seriously, then they would have been careful to make sure that it was done by an unbiased firm with no political agenda,” Greisen said. “It’s clear the author does have a political agenda that aligns with the council members trying to oust chief Wilson.”

According to PRI’s website, Claughton founded the firm in 2008. In 2012, after PRI was selected to audit the Milwaukee Police Department, social media posts by Claughton came to light in which he repeatedly praised then-chief Edward Flynn.

Milwaukee Police Association president Mike Crivello and others publicly questioned Claughton’s commitment to objectivity, and Crivello told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the auditor was “absolutely compromised if he has already formulated an opinion without doing an investigation.”

Claughton has continued to weigh in on police policies and leadership on his public LinkedIn page, where he’s also criticized the influence of Black Lives Matter — one of the rallying cries heard during protests over police brutality following the death of Elijah McClain.

 

 

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None
None
2 months ago

This is what happens when you hire staff without experience to further so called diversity

GeneD
GeneD
2 months ago
Reply to  None

Umm…25 years of police experience, including command level.

Bat Manuel
Bat Manuel
2 months ago

Good to know the city manager hired a FOX-addicted true believer to perform this audit. Living in an alternate reality should be an immediate disqualifier.

Fred Ehlert
Fred Ehlert
2 months ago

Vanessa Wilson inherited a corrupt and dis-functional APD when officers had been drunk on the job, Elijah McClain had been murdered and the Police Union didn’t want the “good old boys” network to change. Many of the worst offenders left when Chief Wilson vowed that she wouldn’t put up with the nonsense and un-professionalism any more.
Now the Republicans on the city council and the city manager want to remove Chief Wilson and get back to the old ways, returning the APD lawlessness and hooliganism. Honest cops have a terribly difficult job and need to be supported by all of us. Chief Wilson is one of the honest ones and deserves our support as well.

john wilson
john wilson
2 months ago
Reply to  Fred Ehlert

simply not true, some of the worst offenders historically and currently are in the chiefs office

john wilson
john wilson
2 months ago

This is a very good first step to save a great department. it appears Parker being stepped over is a clear signal. however,m you don’t get a worse acting than Juul…same type person as Wilson…

Last edited 2 months ago by john wilson
Debra MacKillop
Debra MacKillop
2 months ago
Reply to  john wilson

not even a good department, has one of the worst reps in US, and Wilson’s efforts to bring transparency and accountability don’t sit well with the union

john wilson
john wilson
2 months ago

There is no effective union in APD, just an FOP and another Aurora police association, they have no power, but the power of voice. i know Vanessa personally, she never served anything but herself. it was a given she would fail.

Melissa M.
Melissa M.
2 months ago
Reply to  john wilson

While I agree with you on the first point, you couldn’t be more wrong about Chris Juul. There is a reason he has moved up the ranks so quickly. Not only is he one of the good guys, he is an exceptional leader. I trust in his ability to do what’s best for the community and for the department.

In the know
2 months ago
Reply to  Melissa M.

Wilson originally got the job for what she is and not who she is as a leader. The new acting chief is another yes man who never did police work. Riding a desk his entire career other than the few month stints on the road when promoted. So Melissa, you have no clue what you’re talking about. The majority of officers on the department are good people, but the admin ruined what used to be a great department. Young officers need to leave, and anyone looking to apply at apd needs to think twice. It is not the place to be an officer.

Melissa M.
Melissa M.
2 months ago
Reply to  In the know

While attacking someone’s character anonymously and inaccurately, you might want to consider who else on here might be “In the know.” Everyone starts out on patrol. Seeking promotional opportunities or work in other units doesn’t make one less of a cop. It makes one a more ambitious and diversified cop, and that’s a good thing.

Don Black
Don Black
2 months ago
Reply to  Melissa M.

I would like to give you an example of what I experienced with Juul while trying to help a female victim through the process of making a police report, but it is a long story. I asked many of the officers what they thought of Juul and another command officer. They gave favorable opinions of the other command officer who has since moved to another department. They used a very derogatory term to describe Juul and the opinion of the officers under his command. At a retirement party, I recently had a chance to tell Juul what I thought of how he acted when I had the citizen at the substation. He first told me that he was having a bad day that day. When he saw that didn’t work, he just said that we would have to agree to disagree. The public really doesn’t have any idea what Vanessa or Juul are like, just as I don’t have any idea what your boss is like.

Melissa M.
Melissa M.
2 months ago
Reply to  Don Black

Don, Chris Juul WAS my boss. Twice. First as my Sergeant and then as my LT. Having worked with him on a day-to-day basis, what I saw was a dedicated leader with moral fiber. He was respected by the officers in our unit. We all looked to him for direction and guidance. We knew we could count on him, and he could, in turn, count on us. Knowing his true character, having him as Acting Chief, even if it’s only temporary, would be a good thing.

Fyou too
Fyou too
2 months ago
Reply to  Melissa M.

That’s hilarious. A good leader. You’re clueless on the matter.

Joe Felice
Joe Felice
2 months ago
Reply to  john wilson

No one will ever be able to get this mess under control. She was a tough as any man, so now let’s see what man replaces her.

SWC
SWC
2 months ago
Reply to  Joe Felice

…and now we make it a gender issue?

Don Black
Don Black
2 months ago
Reply to  john wilson

You are correct. there has been a long history of sick leadership in the department. They have perpetuated that to a point where the only decent top management has gone elsewhere.

john wilson
john wilson
2 months ago

Vanessa was too busy grooming her liberal image and finding scapegoats than to effectively run a department. the department is a thousand times better off now.

Debra MacKillop
Debra MacKillop
2 months ago
Reply to  john wilson

Elijah McClain and his family, and a multitude of POC that have been brutalized by APD including children, as well as those who were hurt by drunk police tolerated by union, would have to disagree with you

GeneD
GeneD
2 months ago
Reply to  john wilson

Scapegoats like a drunken on-duty officer in a car with its motor on? officers disregarding training and choking citizens? officers handcuffing and forcing young girls to lie on hot asphalt because they were guilty of sitting in a car while black? officers who took selfies of themselves joking about a homicide by a fellow officer?

Which scapegoats do you have in mind?

Jeff Brown
Jeff Brown
2 months ago

So City Council over several decades failed to provide adequate funding to APD to provide sufficient record keeping and when it comes out in an audit, they conveniently choose the scapegoat of the day? Why isn’t Twombly also bring fired? He has far more history in cutting these corners than Chief Wilson.

The lesson here: NEVER allow the GOP or the Dems a majority on City Council ever again. NEVER.

sugar
sugar
2 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Brown

Twombly ought to polish up his resume. If he doesn’t jump high enough when council says
“jump” he’s a goner too. Same applies to anyone
taking over Chief Vanessa Wilson’s job.

Don
Don
2 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Brown

Jeff, what’s it like living life with such a childish point of view?

Debra MacKillop
Debra MacKillop
2 months ago

This is what happens when conservatives take over Aurora Council and don’t want any more transparency and accountability in APD and support corrupt union, looking racist in the process.

Publius
Publius
2 months ago

I seem to remember chief Wilson’s beginning reforms being touted as indicating the City would get out from under the consent decree quickly as real reform was underway, real culture change was happening. Now the folks taking shelter under the policies she was building are firing her for not building fast enough. I might ask Mr. Twombley what he did to help the chief. I wonder how the A.G.’s office will view losing her. Will the A.G. have a hand in bringing in the new chief? Will they view the time period of the consent decree on hold while that process takes place?

Joe Felice
Joe Felice
2 months ago
Reply to  Publius

These days, reforms are expected to happen instantly, or you get the guillotine.

Don Black
Don Black
2 months ago
Reply to  Publius

Consent decrees have traditionally dragged out for a long time resulting in large fees paid to those who are supervising them. The AGs flawed report leading to the consent decree should have been contested. If you really look at the AG’s report, you will see broad generalizations without fact. You will also see a flawed reliance upon disproportionate statistics that are present virtually everywhere. Even Boulder had more disproportionate statistics. The city has painted itself into a corner with the flawed idea that the department is racist. That assumption now means that every criminal suspect who yells racism is due a payout. Every problem with a black suspect is now trumpeted as further proof. There is now no consideration for the fact that the suspect was involved in crime and resisted.

Su Ryden
2 months ago

Thank you, Aurora Sentinel, for telling us “the rest of the story.” It is a sad day, indeed, for the City of Aurora.

Bob
Bob
2 months ago

This poor records keeping along with the lousy and very late production of them when requested and by the way paid for in advance, now all seems to make sense. It was a mystery what seemed a simple request, but was rather nothing but a waist of money and effort filling out the forms and mailing them in good faith to the city. The whole thing was a sham.This story opens the door to look into other city departments to see how how dysfunctional they have come to be. Some of these city departments we will find are not a true municipal department position but subcontractors with daily significant city enforcement duties.

Joe Felice
Joe Felice
2 months ago
Reply to  Bob

You may be onto something. Just try to do business with any “public” department in the City today. They’re all working from home and all you can do is leave a message and not get a call-back. Very frustrating. The City has become very customer unfriendly.

Brent G Taylor
Brent G Taylor
2 months ago

This “newspaper” continues to disappoint as a source of news. Read the first sentence of this article. We should be able to turn to this local news source (who constantly shill with every read) for the news… the facts. Yes, there’s an editorial department (this story barely breaks and nutjob Dave Perry has already posted his kneejerk flatulence), rightfully so, where much of this article belongs.

Sherri
2 months ago

I’ve had 2 experiences with officer Wilson responding to car accidents… And I honestly believe she deserved to get fired . She let the lady who t-boned my car walk off the scene of the accident and didn’t go after her! Never found her, had to put a uninsured claim on my insurance to cover damages and my perium went up $50 an month. That officer never showed that she cared. She was even rude to my boys who were also in the car with me. Shes needed to retire a long time ago. She doesn’t deal well with the public.

Joe Felice
Joe Felice
2 months ago
Reply to  Sherri

So you had a personal vendetta. We get it.

Debra MacKillop
Debra MacKillop
2 months ago

Studies show when a woman is hired in a position that has always been only available to White men, that she is not given the resources or support needed to do the job and is quickly fired, nor do people entrenched in the system step up to support her if she is trying to create change. Just another example with Chief Wilson. I’m sorry her valient efforts to make the APD more accountable and transparent, and better recruited and trained, were not fully supported and used as an excuse to let the union continue to drive the agenda and smear her. We will all suffer because of that, but especially POC.

Joe Felice
Joe Felice
2 months ago

Correct. She was set up to fail. It was a no-win proposition. I thought that when her promotion was announced.

Don Black
Don Black
2 months ago

I am sorry, but you really don’t know anything about the department or police leadership. In fairness, any chief now has a very difficult job. The police reform bill, pushed by Rhonda Fields, is seriously flawed and the supposedly transparent legislature is afraid to talk about it. The Attorney General’s broad statements about racism where he calls everything racist just because the people contacted were black and his flawed logic about disproportionate statistics, are now accepted history. The public’s lack of knowledge about use of force and the media hysteria have now made it almost impossible for good officers to do the job. The police lack of leadership, including Vanessa and Jul, have led to many of the failures you have seen in the department. No one knows what killed Elijah McClain. The uninformed outcry has led to the present charges. It was a sad situation that could have been avoided if Elijah had cooperated. The police stop many innocent people. Most cooperate and go on their way. Elijah knew he was innocent, but he should have cooperated. Unless citizens cooperate with the police, we will have not a have a society of laws. There are plenty of avenues to address complaints.

Two hundred officers who left were not all bad disgruntled officers. They understood things you don’t. Most left because they could see that they can no longer do their jobs and most cared about doing the job. Vanessa was never a competent officer. I have known many people who were her supervisor or her subordinate. They all had stories about her incompetence and her nasty attitude. It has nothing to do with her trying to reform the department. She really did not have any idea how to lead. Firing officers who are drunk or who are otherwise out of line doesn’t really take any courage in todays environment. Not standing up for the officers who are right and not voicing problems with a flawed reform bill that is driving officers out of police work were examples of her political cowardice.

Any chief has a huge problem in today’s environment. The public is so misinformed and the generalizations so huge that it is virtually impossible to do police work in the way it needs to be done. The public really does not know what was broken and yet they want voice their opinions on what has to be done.

Sue Smith
Sue Smith
2 months ago

A woman in a job typically filled by men does not fair well historically and the city of Aurora has just proven this to be true, yet again. The PRI report was conducted by a reportedly unethical group and is unreliable at best yet here we are. Change is slow and arduous at best in the best circumstances. I feel that Chief Wilson has gotten the proverbial “short end of the stick” based on lies and a report that seems to be only good enough to use to pick up dog feces off of the street.

GeneD
GeneD
2 months ago
Reply to  Sue Smith

When you want to do something, any reason will do. City Manager went from praising and backing her to enlisting in the conspiracy to can her. I hope he is blamed for whatever severance package or legal settlement the City has to pay. He has shown his true colors. Coffman, who failed on a federal level and is doing so on a City level played the same game.

Don
Don
2 months ago
Reply to  Sue Smith

Sue what is unreliable about the report? And please use specifics, since you seem very knowledgeable about the credibility of the report that should be easy!

Joe Felice
Joe Felice
2 months ago

I was liking this man for not caving to pressure from the haters and naysayers. And then he did. Cancel culture at its best.

Paul Kaempfer
2 months ago

How do we get Jim Twombly fired?

Jonas Thomas
Jonas Thomas
2 months ago

Twombly hand picked the chief after a national search two years ago. He should be fired as well.

Tyler
2 months ago

While I appreciate the sentiments the police chief represented and the reform she brought forth, the truth is that affective change was not being seen in the community. Living in Aurora over the past 2 years has meant police being spread too thin to be able to respond timely, little to no follow up, and a general feeling of lawlessness. People’s distrust of the police in Aurora has changed from “are they acting fairly and justly” to “are they even going to show up or care”. Don’t get me wrong, it’s better to have fewer good cops than more of those causing the problems of before, but at some point when things haven’t improved from the first wave of changes and still no one wants to work for this department, then something is still wrong. Firing is not going to make this department look any more appealing to candidates or bring about the needed change quickly, so while it’s probably too rash of a move it’s not completely unjustifiable.