City lawmakers lock in $8,000 retention bonuses for hundreds of Aurora cops

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AURORA | In an effort to retain police officers in the city of Aurora, city lawmakers, along party lines, voted Monday night to give $8,000 bonuses to each uniformed officer in 2022. 

The bonuses will be staggered in two $4,000 payments. The stipend will not come with any kind of requirement to remain with the department afterward.

Total cost of the program is about $6 million, according to city projections. Given the rate of distribution, that amount could allow for about 750 retention bonuses.

“If people only stick around for the next eight months and allow us to continue to build back our police force, it will at least ensure that can slow the bleeding,” said Council member Dustin Zvonek. “It will ensure that we can start to build back up our specialty units. We can’t have a gang unit that is three times fewer officers than are actually needed to protect our city. We can’t have residents continuing to have two hour response times because there are not enough police officers out on the streets.”

A total of 87 police personnel left or were jettisoned from the department in 2020  — more departures than in 2015 and 2016 combined — bumping the organization’s turnover rate to nearly 20% for the year.

As of October, 108 officers had left the department resulting in a net loss of 25 positions, according to the city. 53 were resignations, 39 were retirements and five were terminations.

Aurora police averaged a turnover rate just north of 6.5% in the six years prior to 2020, according to departmental data reported by The Sentinel in February.

Members opposed to the payments, funded through federal pandemic funds, argued that bonuses should be offered to other city workers as well. 

“What happens when they start exiting?” Council member Ruben Medina asked of firefighters. “And then what’s going to happen when you don’t have to be saving your life there?”

Supportive council members said retaining police officers are a more pressing issue in the city.

Council members Medina, Marcano, Crystal Murillo and Alison Coombs voted the measure down.

The council members decided to delay two other public safety-related measures: one that would allocate $3 million in federal pandemic funds to help businesses make safety improvements. $500,000 would go specifically to businesses along the Colfax corridor. 

Another proposal put on hold until early next year is one that uses private funds to hire a police recruiter dedicated to diversifying the department. 

Mayor Mike Coffman pushed the vote back to further flesh out the proposal, which would likely fund a full-time recruiter with a $75,000 salary. Scholarships for test prep may also be available to recruits.

The Aurora Police Department, in coordination with National Bank Holdings and other local faith based organizations are behind the plan, which was put forward even before the city entered into a consent decree with the Colorado Attorney General’s office earlier this year, according to police chief Vanessa Wilson.

That agreement highlights increasing the number of minority police officers and firefighters on the respective forces.

An analysis conducted by the city’s civil service commission in 2020 found that in recent years only 1.1% of Black applicants who met the minimum qualifications to be hired onto the city’s police force were admitted to the academy, compared to 4.24% of white applicants, 3% of Hispanic applicants and 3.6% of Asian applicants who make it through the lengthy vetting process.

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DICK MOORE
9 months ago

It’s the beginning of the end for the Aurora Socialist Council movement. How can Ward I and III representatives vote against any motion that helps the APD when their crime rate is so high? Sooner or later the voters in those two wards will realize this and consider it a problem with their Council representatives.

I believe that the voters in Ward IV and V already wished they hadn’t voted in Marcano and Coombs and can hardly wait to vote them out in the next Council election.

Wouldn’t surprise me if Marcano and Coombs don’t run again or do a Nicole Johnston. They may get tired of losing all the Socialist related votes with only four votes and deem themselves as being unimportant to the running of Aurora.

We can only hope for this and a safer Aurora.

Doug King
Doug King
9 months ago
Reply to  DICK MOORE

SO, Dick, you are all in favor of throwing six million dollars at the police even though they can take the money and leave anytime they want to? That just doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. Yes you have now your Fascist votes in the council…(if you use Socialist then I can use Fascist right?) You like the idea of a Taliban run society then we’ll have to see how the rest of Aurora likes it as well: Families face “severe poverty and hunger” this winter-Taliban rule as being marked by extrajudicial killings across the country and restrictions on women’s and girls’ basic rights-Taliban extracted oaths of fealty or at least gestures of tacit acceptance from most political leaders-new security regime in cities-Taliban’s delivery of social services-Taliban have mandated price controls and regulations-yeah, it ‘could’ begin to start looking this away….

DICK MOORE
9 months ago
Reply to  Doug King

I usually don’t get into tit for tat in this forum but your response, Mr. King, is ludicrous. The four socialist council members will tell you that they follow the socialist view. Far right groups like Hitler and the Taliban are not like me nor are they like our new Council. The new Council members are far from extreme right wing republicans, as far as I can tell at this time.

To compare Aurora past, present or future leadership to the Taliban is beyond sanity and belief. And that is what you just did. I hope other citizens read and understand your comments and therefore see into your heart and intellect.

Good Citizen
Good Citizen
9 months ago
Reply to  DICK MOORE

Dick gets all a flutter when he sees a man in uniform. Nothing wrong with a conservative viewpoint but get out of the closet Vivian. Have a problem defending yourself? I’ve invested in some personal protection which is in place for any encounter, including any thug, in uniform or not. Cops are sweating it because they can’t rely on their traditional assumptions about who they can use force against without retaliation. (Check out the boys at the Capital last January) Cops investigate crime, they don’t prevent it. Just ask someone that has had a chalk line drawn around them. Cutting pay seems to be more in order.

FeelingsAreNotFacts
FeelingsAreNotFacts
9 months ago
Reply to  DICK MOORE

I’d love to hear a single way Coombs, Murillo, or Marcano have improved their individual wards. They seem to spend all their time carrying water for their state and national social agenda, while crime spikes uncontrollably and their medians sprout weeds.

Doug
Doug
9 months ago

And what have the conservative members done over the past year? Except vote no on everything?

FeelingsAreNotFacts
FeelingsAreNotFacts
9 months ago
Reply to  Doug

You seem to be confused. The majority has been in favor of “progressives” for this past year. Conservatives simply have not had the votes to accomplish ANYTHING other than to block a few of the more egregious socialist efforts (with the aid of Coffman.) The socialists, on other hand, have had the numbers to get votes through but have squandered them on things like overturning the voters and un-banning pit bulls, pushing illegal-immigrant-friendly policy forward, and the like.

But don’t worry, it looks like the tide has turned.

Last edited 9 months ago by FeelingsAreNotFacts
Doug King
Doug King
9 months ago

Kinda figured this would happen. The conservatives throw money ($6,000,000) at the police with (The stipend will not come with any kind of requirement to remain with the department afterward.) And this is for the conservative vote and nothing else. very sad…..

Bob
Bob
9 months ago

Most watching Aurora’s crime rate exploding are willing to try most options to get a handle on it. Money is always a good incentive and here is no different. APD cops having dealt with recent defunding and all the political crap that has come down from city hall have hit the wall. Some have said enough is enough, and they have decent cops. Are we now at the point that we are bribing the cops to work for a city? Perhaps,  in the past , as we have watched  council members having no problem-no regrets  calling the APD cops “murderers” . And now the city has a crisis.
They still haven’t figured it out, although they think they have. The  $75,000 salary for a diversity employment czar is not the answer, and never will be. As long as the city continues to accept having wokeness as a serious guiding policy maker nothings getting fixed. The snake-oil salesmen we call council Marcano and company will always try to weaponize this with his and his shrinking bands rhetoric .                               

Dean
9 months ago

“Civil Service Commission”
“The purpose of the Civil Service Commission is to provide the citizens of Aurora with the most qualified applicants for and promotion to, firefighter and police officer positions, irrespective of the applicant’s race, creed, color, gender, age, national origin, or religious or political opinions or affiliations. To inspire public confidence in the Civil Service System and to afford uniformed members an opportunity for employment and promotion within uniformed positions of the Fire and Police Departments.”

004318.pdf (civiclive.com)

https://sentinelcolorado.com/news/metro/aurora-city-council-votes-to-keep-terminated-denver-firefighter-on-aurora-civil-service-commission/

After reading what the Aurora civil service commission does or we are told, should do, Aurora citizens should also take a look at what the board does.  What exactly is the real purpose for creating this new $75k position?  Proof oxymorons exist. This is ridiculous, who’s idea was this?  I’m confident, however we are going to start seeing some common sense get this city back on trac.