Aurora grad student files complaint with Aurora police after officer sent her unsolicited text

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AURORA | An Aurora graduate student who witnessed an act of vandalism outside of her residence last week has filed a complaint with the local police department after she said an officer who spoke with her about the crime later sent her a text message asking if she was single.

Rachel Jones, 27, said an Aurora police officer last weekend sent her a text message inquiring about her relationship status less than 24 hours after she provided the officer with her contact information. Jones spoke with the officer, who described himself as “the handsome one with the beard,” late in the afternoon on Sept. 11 after she watched a neighbor throw a rock at another neighbor’s car.

“I had a very normal interaction with the two cops who came to speak to me,” she said. “It all seemed pretty routine.”

At 3:49 p.m. the following day, she received a message stating: “You seemed really cool and attractive. I was wondering if you were single? I apologize if this seems inappropriate and will promptly go away if that’s what you’d like!”

Jones, who is pursuing her PhD in molecular biology at the University of Colorado Anschutz, said she promptly blocked the sender’s phone number and filed a complaint with Aurora police.

“While I’m not well versed on the police code of conduct, I think signing up for that job you agree those are things you’re just not going to do,” she said Wednesday. “If a bank teller or a pharmacist went and got my contact information to then asked about my relationship status … I think anyone would be concerned, and I think it’s a pretty blatant invasion of privacy.”

Jones later published a now-viral Facebook post with a screenshot of the message from the officer, which solicited more than 2,000 comments ranging from praise to derision.

Hey Aurora Police Department is it normal to get hit up when you provide your number to a law enforcement agent because…

Posted by Rachel Jones on Sunday, September 13, 2020

“It doesn’t surprise me at all that a lot of men don’t even believe this is wrong and say I’m in the wrong for drawing attention to this, or my fear or anger is unwarranted and I should take the compliment and just let it go,” she said. “But at the same time I’ve gotten so many messages from women who didn’t want to comment and have said things like this has happened to them and they’ve been stalked and assaulted and seen where this could go.”

Jones said she has since spoken to Stephen Redfearn, commander for north Aurora’s district one, who apologized on behalf of the department. She said that Redfearn suggested the officer will not be fired for sending the message.

“I do not think it will be taken super seriously within the department, but I want to let people know that this is something that is all too common and can very well happen again, especially with this police department,” she said. “I just don’t think I’m an outlier with this.”

Officer Matt Longshore, spokesman for the Aurora Police Department, said the department is currently looking into the incident.

“We are currently investigating this allegation,” he wrote in an email. “The investigation will determine if it was indeed one of our officers who sent this message and if any policies were violated.”

Longshore said there is currently not timeline regarding when the internal investigation will conclude.