Aurora lawmakers focus on police body cam contract, hemp and landmarks

373

AURORA | In a final Aurora City Council meeting before the municipal election, local lawmakers are slated to decide on extending a contract for police body cameras, designate two local landmarks and declare a 10-month moratorium on hemp cultivation facilities.

The city council could extend a contract with Seattle-based Vievu for a total of $286,899 for hardware and software for the devices through next October.

If approved, it would be the fifth year of a five-year contract with the company. Over the weekend, at a town hall meeting, some community members expressed concerns about the Aurora Police Department’s use of body cameras and how often they become moved during an incident.

Council members may also approve two new historic landmarks: the Carlson-Holzer House in north Aurora and the Melvin-Lewis Cemetery in south Aurora.

A 10-month moratorium on new cultivations of industrial hemp could also be approved.

The staff recommendation comes from the lack of clear guidance from the state and federal government on the city’s authority to regulate industrial hemp.

Better defined rules and regulations from federal Department of Agriculture are expected next fall. The state is also is in the process of establishing a blueprint for how it will advance the hemp industry.

In the meantime, local agencies say they lack enough direction to adequately manage industrial hemp grows.

Police staff told a trio of council members during a committee earlier this year it’s nearly impossible for law enforcement to identify hemp versus marijuana without a chemical test.

“…People know what they are growing, and they know why they are growing it. I could send a team out and they say it’s hemp. the legalization of marijuana has not stopped the black market. How do you know what is being grown is my concern,” said deputy chief Paul O’Keefe at the April meeting.