Former Aurora Police Chief Vanessa Wilson at a rally supporting her after her ouster as chief last week. Philip B. Poston/Sentinel Colorado

Police and city officials say a record-keeping backlog reported in a scathing study of the Aurora Police Department has not delayed criminal investigations, contradicting suggestions by the study’s author and raising more questions about the release of the document that preceded Police Chief Vanessa Wilson’s firing.

The study by PRI Management Group sounded the alarm on thousands of police reports which, as of March 11, APD’s records section had yet to “transcribe” — the process of checking reports for form and attaching national crime category numbers that help with the collection of criminal justice statistics.

“We’ve seen this narrative out there that we’re not investigating murder cases,” said Acting Police Capt. Chris Amsler during a Friday interview with The Sentinel. He said he spoke with a lieutenant in the major crimes unit who told him that none of the police reports in the backlog had negatively impacted any murder investigation.

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE ORIGINAL PRI REPORT

While Amsler acknowledged that records specialists have not reviewed every one of the 2,512 backlogged reports — reduced to 295 cases pending transcription as of Tuesday afternoon — he said police “do not believe that any of those cases that were in the transcription queue affected any of our investigations.”

Officials described transcription as a clerical process that is not required before criminal investigations and follow-up take place. That conflicts with dire warnings from the study’s author that violent crimes were likely going cold and dangerous criminals walking free because of the backlog.

Police also said statements by others that thousands of crimes had been left uninvestigated were inaccurate.

“That’s not the case at all,” Amsler said.

Mayor Mike Coffman at an April 6, 2022 press conference announcing the firing of Police Chief Vanessa Wilson. PHILIP. B. POSTON/Sentinel Colorado

Report release preceded Wilson’s firing

Soon after the report by PRI Management Group became public on April 5, city council members who endorsed Aurora City Manager Jim Twombly’s decision to fire Wilson characterized the backlog as a critical public safety threat and as evidence of leadership collapse.

Mayor Mike Coffman wrote in an April 5 statement that there was “no excuse” for the “catastrophic failure of leadership within the department,” regarding the PRI report.

“The result of this backlog means that crimes, whether it’s a murder case or a motor vehicle theft, are going cold before they are ever investigated and that habitual criminals are allowed to reoffend before the rank and file at APD is made aware of the crimes that they’ve already committed,” he wrote on April 5.

Coffman told Denver talk radio host Jimmy Sengenberger of KNUS the next day that police reports must be transcribed before they are shared among police officers. 

Numerous police and city officials said police records are immediately available to other police personnel once submitted, prior to transcription.

Councilmember Dustin Zvonek also posted on Twitter on April 6 that “over 2500 victims … didn’t have their case investigated” due to the backlog.

Police and city officials also said the transcription process does not and did not preclude police from pursuing case resolutions.

While the PRI study did not claim 2,512 cases went cold because of a report backlog — describing transcription as “the process of reviewing reports for quality control purposes” — the author and PRI’s founder, Ed Claughton, said “reports do not get routed by the system for follow-up action or investigation until the transcription process is complete.”

“As a result of the delays in processing police reports, violent crimes reported to the Aurora Police Department may not be investigated for months, enabling suspects who might otherwise have been investigated and taken into custody, to re-offend,” Claughton wrote. “It is a near certainty that violent offenses are being reported without timely investigation.”

Police officials said they have not uncovered any crime that was not investigated because of the backlog, though they pointed out the report publicized last week was only part of a larger study being completed by PRI.

Amsler also said police officers can and regularly do view records that are in the transcription backlog queue, and that a detective who pulled up information about a case associated with backlogged reports would automatically be notified about the existence of those additional reports.

Aurora Police outside of Green Valley Ranch. Denver police said 2 Aurora police officers sustained non-life-threatening injuries during an undisclosed confrontation in 2019. PHOTO BY PHILIP B. POSTON/Sentinel Colorado

Aurora police work to clear and solve cases, regardless of record transcription

Once a police officer is called to the scene of an alleged crime, they’ll write an initial report associated with the case called a general offense report, Amsler said. Officers who showed up at the scene or were otherwise involved will also prepare supplemental reports, describing their involvement.

Officers are required to submit reports by the end of each shift. Once a report is completed by an officer, they submit it to a sergeant who routes the case to other officers or detectives for investigation, or closes the case. Amsler said felonies are referred to investigative units while misdemeanor cases are often handled by patrol officers.

“There are certain crimes where a watch commander or a patrol sergeant is making immediate notifications to different detective units to let them know (that) we have this case,” he said.

National Crime Information Center codes are also attached to cases based on what the offense is alleged to be — some codes entered by officers, including those for crimes against children, cause the report to be automatically and immediately forwarded to the relevant investigative unit.

CLICK ON THE GRAPHIC FOR A LARGER, DOWNLOADABLE PDF IMAGE AND FILE

The sergeant also proofreads the report, checking for any mistakes and making sure the officer entered all necessary information. Once it’s approved, the report is sent to the records section for transcription.

Depending on the seriousness of the crime and other factors, such as an arrest or a next-day court date, the sergeant may assign the report a higher or lower priority, moving it up or down in the transcription queue, Amsler said. A request for a report from a citizen or police officer will also increase the priority of a report.

Amsler and Sgt. Faith Goodrich both said reports in the queue are still accessible by officers, and an officer pulling up information about a case in the department’s Versadex records management system would be automatically notified about associated reports in the queue.

“Detectives or other officers can go in and view anything in the transcription queue,” Goodrich said. “(A report) being in the transcription queue doesn’t mean it’s just lost and nobody can look at it, or see it, or do anything with it. In fact, the system is built to send you a notification and say, ‘Hey, go look over there.’”

During the transcription process, a records section staffer will make sure the proper data is submitted for the National Incident-Based Reporting System as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program.

Records staffers also make sure there are no duplicates among the “entities” mentioned in the report, which are tracked by police and include suspects, witnesses, victims and others contacted during an investigation.

Sometimes records clerks have caught mistakes, Goodrich said, bringing information they believe could have been overlooked during an investigation to the attention of officers.

“That is helpful,” Goodrich said, “but it’s not their responsibility.”

“It’s much more administrative or clerical,” public safety media relations manager Reagan Peña said. “It doesn’t prevent any investigation from happening.”

Claughton also indicated that delays in transcription could lead to data not being submitted in a timely way to the Colorado Crime Information Center, which helps criminal justice agencies track information about stolen property.

“A stolen vehicle which has been recovered and returned to its rightful owner must be removed from CCIC, lest the owner risk being pulled over by an officer and detained at gunpoint based upon a computer query which indicates the car is still stolen,” he wrote.

Goodrich said the entry of CCIC information about stolen property does not depend on transcription, writing in an email that “officers notify records directly with information about the stolen property so it can be immediately entered into CCIC.”

Police spokesman Matthew Longshore also said that information about stolen cars is generally reported to CCIC in real-time.

Claughton also warned in his study that Aurora’s problems could hinder police from intervening prior to an event like the mass shootings in Charleston, South Carolina and Parkland, Florida.

“I don’t know the answer to why they think that,” Goodrich said. “It’s unfortunate.”

Other police officials also said they were confused by the example, since the Parkland or other shootings the PRI report referred to were not deemed to have been caused by problems with police records.

Amsler noted that the police department’s intelligence unit accepts tips about individuals who officers or members of the public believe could pose a threat in the future.

“That’s primarily how we get things moving in our department, is making those in-person contacts instead of relying on reports to make it through the transcription queue,” he said.

Claughton’s firm did not respond immediately to an email asking how he arrived at the conclusions about the transcription backlog impacting investigations and how the problems in the records section could be setting the city up for an incident like the Charleston and Parkland shootings.

“PRI commenced work for the City of Aurora in January 2022 … during which time our team identified critical levels of backlogged work which, in no uncertain terms, had created significant risk and liability to officer and public safety,” the firm said in an April 7 statement. “We also determined woefully inadequate measures, and urgency, had been given to the matter by the police department, hence our March 14th project update.”

City spokesman Michael Brannen said PRI’s contract with the city is worth up to $46,150. The firm’s report was released as partisan, political controversy swirled over the leadership of Vanessa Wilson, Aurora’s then-police chief. A few weeks prior, Wilson’s attorney said City Manager Jim Twombly had pressured her to resign.

Some council conservatives were also advocating for a shake-up, blaming department leadership for the rise in certain crimes and alleged low morale among rank and file officers.

The day after the report was released, on April 6, Twombly announced his decision to fire Wilson. When asked by reporters, he said the report was not considered when the decision was made to fire the chief.

Though Claughton blamed department leadership for the problems facing the records section, PRI later said in a statement that Claughton’s report was not meant to “evaluate or impact the employment of the Chief of Police.”

“To suggest anything to the contrary, or to politicize this matter, is very unfortunate, mostly for the citizens of Aurora, and for the very important institution of journalism,” the firm wrote in an April 7 statement. “Our work is based on fact-finding, objective analysis and was completed as per the requirements of our scope of work in response to a competitive solicitation for these services.”

CLICK HERE TO READ PRI’S STATEMENT REGARDING SENTINEL REPORTING

The Sentinel previously reported on social media activism by Claughton and allegations of professional misconduct dating back to his firm’s 2012 audit of the Milwaukee Police Department.

Aurora City Manager Jim Twombly at an April 6, 2022 press conference announcing the firing of Police Chief Vanessa Wilson. PHILIP. B. POSTON/Sentinel Colorado

After scrutiny of the PRI report 

Elected officials who commented on the report did not immediately distance themselves from earlier statements made about the public safety consequences of the backlog.

Coffman did not respond to a request for comment on the discrepancy between his characterization of the transcription process and police officials’ descriptions.

Zvonek said his statements were consistent with the suggestions made in the report and information shared with him by City Manager Jim Twombly. He said that he would be asking questions of records section representatives at the public safety policy committee’s April 14 meeting, adding, “I have a lot of questions.”

“I’m worried that some are attempting to downplay it to avoid the scrutiny,” he wrote in a text message. “I also worry others may have over responded to the report out of fear of how bad it could have been given what (was) suggested (in) the report.”

17th Judicial District Attorney Brian Mason and 18th Judicial District Attorney John Kellner said in a joint statement last week that they were “alarmed” by the report.

“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,” they wrote. “Once that is done, we urge city leaders to determine how these failures occurred and ensure that they do not happen again.”

Chris Hopper, director of communications for Mason’s office, said April 11 that Mason “did not have any additional context or information to supplement what was contained within the report” and that the DA “simply made his statement based upon what he read in the report itself.” Kellner’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

Since the public revelation of the transcription backlog, which dated back to March 11, the department has been able to cut the size of the backlog down from 2,512 reports to just 295 as of April 12, according to Goodrich. Amsler said the majority of reports left in the queue are “minor cases.”

Twombly has said that, since March, before Wilson’s firing, the department implemented a host of new strategies, which Wilson’s lawyer says were recommended by the ex-chief, 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.

City spokesman Ryan Luby said that, later this month, PRI is expected to return its completed staffing study. Peña said the city hopes the finished study will help clarify where and how records section employees work to ensure a backlog doesn’t build up in the future.

“What we’re hoping to do is see (whether there is) a best practice on how we should be allocating staff and prioritizing the numerous things besides transcription that are actually going on down there,” she said.

Amsler said the department is also looking into further automating transcription. Regardless of the critical light shone on the records section, he insisted that those staffers responsible for transcribing reports were not to blame for the backlog.

“Our records staff are some of our greatest employees,” Amsler said. “This is not their fault. They’ve been working hard, they’ve been understaffed, and they have really been trying to work on this issue.”

Topaz McBride at a rally supporting fired Aurora Police Chief Vanessa Wilson at Aurora City Hall. PHILIP B. POSTON/Sentinel Colorado

Ousted as chief, supporters and former foes rally to Wilson’s defense

STORY BY CARINA JULIG AND KARA MASON, Sentinel Staff Writers

Surrounded by supporters on the steps of the headquarters of her now-former employer, Aurora Police Chief Vanessa Wilson said Monday she intends to continue to fight to ensure police reform continues, that policing is improved and those officers who abuse the system or citizens are held accountable.

“Leadership is not a popularity contest,” she said, attributing her ouster to political pressure stemming from police who do not want to see changes. “There should not be partisan politics in public safety.”

Supporters took turns praising the work Wilson did and criticizing her ouster.

“When Chief Wilson was in charge, I found my voice,” an officer of color said anonymously as it was read by Aurora Police Sgt. Paul Poole. “I worry about the direction this department is going.” The officer said he or she doesn’t want to return to unethical officers not being held accountable. “Which of the officers that Chief Wilson fired do you want patrolling your neighborhood?”

Some current city lawmakers also warned about the consequences of the ouster.

Councilmember Juan Marcano said, “what you are seeing is a concerted, organized campaign to undermine and sabotage” the changes that community members demanded in 2020. “You are seeing a police department at war with itself.”

Former city and state officials also decried the ouster.

“APD is broken, and council’s solution was to destroy the only thing that had been going right,” said former Councilmember Debi Hunter Holen.

Wilson was fired by City Manager Jim Twombly last week for what he said was a lack of confidence in her ability to lead the department. The ouster came after months of criticism by conservative members of city council, and more recently, days of rumors that the termination was imminent.

“Chief Wilson prioritized community involvement. This is something we all recognize as a strength of hers,” Twombly said at the press conference. “However, there is more to achieve that involves management of the police department. There also needs to be effective management of department operations, engagement with officers and staff, and a strategic approach to moving the department forward. There are two main themes that continue to rise up top of concerns overall management, and overall leadership. This is a decision that came with a considerable amount of thought and ongoing discussions with officers in the police department.”

Former Aurora Police Chief Vanessa Wilson at a rally supporting her after her ouster as chief last week. Philip B. Poston/Sentinel Colorado

Twombly didn’t offer a specific event or instance that led to his decision, but he told reporters that he didn’t decide based on the rise in crime or a recent outside report by PRI Management Group detailing problems in APD’s records section.

That report was leaked to the press one day prior to Twombly’s decision to fire Wilson. City Council members said they received the report from the city manager that same day. Two city council members said Twombly told them the report revealed critical concerns.

Wilson, who would have marked her 26-year anniversary with APD this December, was appointed by Twombly to lead the department in August 2020 after serving as interim chief for seven months. She took the helm at a time the department was reeling from protests following the death of Elijah McClain and several other scandals, and much of her tenure was spent attempting to rebuild the public’s trust.

Wilson has faced criticism from activists and police reform advocates throughout her tenure, but after her firing, many told The Sentinel that, though they disagreed with her at times, they said they came to respect her a great deal.

“I hate to see Chief Wilson go, because she was really a good person,” Elijah McClain’s mother Sheneen McClain told The Sentinel. Her son, Elijah, died after a confrontation with police in August 2019 while walking home from a convenience store. The case drew international scorn and is much of the basis of state intervention in the police department and prompted hard-won police reform.

Lindsay Minter, an activist and member of Aurora’s Community Police Task Force, said that Wilson was her second-choice candidate for the top job and that, while they didn’t always see eye-to-eye, she thought Wilson “was doing the best job for the position she was in.”

Ultimately, Minter said that Wilson made too many changes that rattled the “the good old boys club” and was set up to fail.

“We didn’t always agree, but thank you for your service,” she said of Wilson.

Wilson was the first woman and the first openly gay person to lead the department, and at Monday’s press conference several of her supporters praised her for breaking barriers.

“Chief Wilson was the pathway for equity and for justice for women, for those who are LGBTQIA+, for victims and survivors like me who had no choice in how our lives played course,” Senator Rhonda Fields (D-Aurora) said in a statement read Monday by her daughter Maisha Fields.

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser explaining a new consent agreement with Aurora to oversee its police and fire departments. PHOTO BY PHILIP B. POSTON/Sentinel Colorado

Asked at the press conference if she believed discrimination played a role in her firing, Wilson said she was directed when she took the job to mend relationships with the community.

“To send a woman out to do that, to trust me to do that, and to hold people’s hands that were angry, and to listen to them and to try to tell them ‘please still believe in APD because of the fine men and women who work there’ … if I’m able to do that, but once we’ve crossed that bridge, now I’m told that I can’t lead,” was hurtful, she said.

Wilson took over leadership of the department right as Aurora was undergoing sweeping protests demanding justice for Elijah McClain, and when APD was in the midst of several scandals, including an incident where police officers held a Black woman and her four daughters face-down at gunpoint after erroneously accusing them of driving a stolen car.

In another incident, an investigation found that after an APD officer was found passed-out drunk behind the wheel of his patrol car while on duty, leaders in the department protected him from being criminally charged. That situation led former Deputy Police Chief Paul O’Keefe to pull his name from the running to be interim chief after Nick Metz returned in 2019, putting Wilson in the position instead.

More controversy came in 2021, when body-camera footage was released of an APD officer strangling, pistol-whipping and repeatedly threatening to shoot an unarmed man, an incident that led to two officers facing criminal charges.

In the fall, the police department entered into a consent decree with the Colorado Attorney General’s office after a “patterns and practices” investigation found that APD had engaged in longstanding discrimination and excussive use of force against minorities.

During her tenure as interim chief and police chief, Wilson fired a number of officers for misconduct, some of whom appealed her decision to the civil service commission, which has final say over the hiring and firing of officers. In the summer of 2020, she fired three officers who posed for and texted one another a photo mocking the death of Elijah McClain, and she fired one officer for failing to intervene in the pistol-whipping case (the other resigned).

Earlier this year, she fired former Aurora Police Association President Doug Wilkinson following an investigation into an email he wrote mocking the department’s diversity policies.

“To match the ‘diversity’ of ‘the community’ we could make sure to hire 10% illegal aliens, 50% weed smokers, 10% crackheads, and a few child molesters and murderers to round it out. You know, so we can make the department look like the ‘community,’” Wilkinson said in the email.

Aurora Police body cam screen grabs that investigators say show Aurora Police Officer John Haubert pistol whipping and strangling a trespassing suspect July 23, 2012. Haubert faces felony charges in the incident.

Wilson’s attempts to hold officers accountable were not always popular with the rank-and-file. In the fall, Aurora’s police unions released a non-binding survey declaring that the majority of the department’s officers had lost confidence in her leadership.

In the wake of previous criticism, Twombly had stood behind Wilson. Following the no-confidence vote seven months ago, Deputy City Manager Jason Batchelor said Wilson was responsible for making “difficult, and at times, unpopular decisions” and had his full support.

“She was selected because we believed, and still believe, that she is the right person,” he said.

In a July letter in The Sentinel, Twombly detailed his commitment to the ‘A New Way’ plan put forward by him and Wilson to reform the department, but cautioned that meaningful change would take time and effort.

“I want our reform efforts to have long-lasting success and a positive impact on community members,” he said. “Some of them, which seek to solidify large-scale systemic change, will require tough conversations and adjustments along the way.”

Aurora Police Chief Vanessa Wilson takes questions from reporters at a press conference July 27, 2021 at Aurora city hall. Wilson pressed for criminal charges to be field against two APD officers after a man accused of trespassing was strangled and pistol-whipped. PHOTO BY PHILLIP B. POSTON/Sentinel Colorado

Asked Monday to elaborate on the reasons for her firing, Wilson said she believed they were political in nature and that the issue with the records backlog was a convenient excuse. 

She disputed Twombly’s assertion that he was only aware of the records problem when the PRI report came out, and said that he had congratulated her for bringing the problem to his attention earlier. 

She declined to place the blame for her ouster entirely at his feet, however, saying that Twombly is “a good man” who had stood by her when she faced criticism for making tough decisions in the past.

“I would like to give him some grace in this,” she said. “I know he is under extreme political pressure whether he wants to admit it or not.”

Wilson said she is “considering all options” with her lawyer, Paula Greisen, but declined to say whether she will be suing the city.

She said she doesn’t know what her next steps will be, but she  is exploring “ways I can serve this community as well as law enforcement somewhere in the future.”

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Don Black
Don Black
3 months ago

So much not talked about here. There’s always enough blame to go around. However, there is always so much that the public doesn’t get to see. There is the long history of Vanessa Wilson within the department. So many officers, active and retired, that I have spoken with have stories about her poor judgment and lack of competence. Let us start with that. Yes, she put on a great show interacting with the public and expressing sincerity. There is much more to being an effective police chief. There is much more to community policing. There is a second half. You must interact and establish trust, but you must also ensure that the police now uphold their side of the bargain by addressing the concerns of the public. That means creating some long term, effective way to followup on the public’s crime concerns. Yes, she fired some officers who should have been fired. Who, in today’s environment would not know that you were under intense scrutiny and had to appear tough. But, when you are deciding what to do based upon the headlines, your officers know it. When you decide to reinvestigate cases where officers have already been cleared by investigations, the officers know that you are simply reacting to make yourself look good. When you send things to the District Attorney’s office for charges before your own investigators have even started an investigation, it shows that you need someone else to make a decision and that you are in too big a hurry to charge your own officers. This is especially true when the DA’s office declines charging the officers. Where is her judgment there? What kind of chief automatically looks to charge her officers without some real examination first? Vanessa Wilson is right. Being chief is not a popularity contest. There is however, the matter of respect. The officers need to be respected and they need reason to respect the chief. APD has a long history of chiefs who have shown no respect and who have not been respected. A great deal of that lack of respect toward the chiefs comes from the knowledge that the chiefs played favorites and kept good officers stymied and failed to deal with bad officers who were favored. Further, the officers have known that the chiefs were just politicians who cared little about the public or the officers and only about their own public image. Vanessa Wilson fit comfortably into that category for many years until she suddenly became the image of reform.

Now, let us talk about Chief Wilson’s incompetence and wavering during the demonstrations following George Floyd., In the mostly peaceful gathering at the Aurora Municipal building, why did she find it necessary to move the peaceful violin playing crowd with force? Why did she not use better judgment? Only a small part of the crowd was slightly violent and they were in a place that made it easy to separate them from the peaceful crowd. Even the decision to address that small group was questionable. City council members were among those who wanted to sue over that action. No, not conservative council members. Next, let us look at her reaction to the violent demonstrators who attacked the city buildings, setting a fire and causing many thousands of dollars in damages to the city buildings. In that case, she had her officers just sit and let it happen. Next, she allowed a small crowd to chain her officers into the District 1 station. She was afraid to act and allowed her officers to be put at risk. She is totally incompetent in any type of tactical decision. Did you follow the comments the Denver officers had about their leadership during the protests and the fourteen million dollar judgment? Aurora officers were all part of that and were not properly led by Chief Wilson.

Next, let us talk about the failure of the chief to address the police reform bill that has driven thousands of Colorado police officers out of policing. It is badly flawed and changes the long established guidelines that the Supreme Court had given police officers. The police knew that what Officer Chauvin did to George Floyd was wrong. They did not need a flawed, knee jerk reaction out of the legislature. The way use of force is defined in the police reform bill is so vague that the officers have no idea what force they can use to protect themselves or to do the job. It is ironic that Rhonda Fields would support Vanessa Wilson. Fields was a prime mover on the police reform bill. Yes, body cameras and transparency are good. Vague guidelines on use of force backed up by greater ability to sue certainly did not help reform the police. The only answer for good officers is to leave or to not do the job. Now, prosecutors are on the band wagon to charge officers for just putting their arm around a suspect’s neck during a fight. Kneeling on someone in a fight is another cause for panic. The definition of the chokehold in the police reform bill leaves question about whether kneeling or lying on someone in a struggle fits under that category. The legislature’s understanding of qualified immunity is also in question. Qualified immunity is not an automatic. It was created by the courts and it is decided by the courts. It is allowed in only about one third of the cases. I could go on. But, the failure of a chief to question the police reform bill shows that the chief is a political animal who cares little about law enforcement’s effectiveness and the resulting safety of the public.

Let us talk about the environment within the APD. The officers I have spoken with tell me that they are just hanging on until they can get out. Chief Wilson and her toxic staff have done little to help the morale. A command officer told us that Chief Wilson was insecure and yelled at her staff anytime she felt that someone might be questioning her. I am sorry, but a good chief is looking for ideas and is not afraid of different opinions and questions. APD has had problems. Many of those problems are from a lack of training and a lack of leadership. Most of the generalized racism accusations are not true. When you have leadership that will not stand up and challenge any of the falsehoods being presented and that leadership allows everyone to think that you are all racists and bullies, it is demoralizing to the officers. Claiming that all actions are racist simply because the people were black is a popular stretch. Even the Attorney General’s report on APD is full of gross generalizations. When someone deals in the law, it important that they stick to facts. Former Arapahoe County DA Brauchler wrote a good editorial in the Denver post addressing the flaws in the Attorney General’s report. The chief and the city have never stood up to challenge the report. That leaves the city in an awkward, difficult to defend situation in any claim against the city. There is now the automatic erroneously established fact that the officers are racist and brutal. So, allowing the city to automatically be placed in a liability hole will result in vast sums of money to be paid out with little effort to defend against it.

So let me say, there is great deal that the public does not know about Chief Vanessa Wilson. It is human nature to make a snap judgment about someone you like. How many times have you heard the neighbor say that the serial killer seemed like a nice person. The public has no idea what kind of a leader or person Vanessa Wilson is from her public image. Look at the some of the miserable people who are elected to national office. Both parties advance people based upon some created image that often proves to be untrue.

Dave Dooley
Dave Dooley
3 months ago

My tax dollars paid PRI to come up with the weakest pretext they could find?
Is Claughton a stranger to due diligence,
Twombly found it to be quality work?

Joe Felice
Joe Felice
3 months ago

This is what happens when you play loose with politics. But the alarm should have been sounded before the report was released. And we–the citizens–paid for this????

Publius
Publius
3 months ago

Seems clear the author of the report misunderstood the process, was speculating, and was recycling dire warnings he made to other departments. Basically, he got paid for a recycled report, shoddily amended to try to make it look like he performed a service for Aurora rather than performing the service for himself of collecting his pay and the service for a political faction of city council of producing the report they wanted, of confirming the foregone conclusion.

Hear is a helpful hint for the author. The Charleston and Parkland matters are wonderful red meat to throw around nationally, but here locally we are far more sensitive to the Aurora Theater Shooting, to Columbine, to Chuck E. Cheese, and to Javon Marshall Fields and Vivian Wolfe shootings. At least have the courtesy next time of updating your pre-hashed report to the specific locality.

Jeff Ryan
Jeff Ryan
3 months ago

This is what happens when people who don’t know what they’re talking about mouth off. And what can happen when you hire PRI, run by Claughton, which exists to excuse bad police behavior and is otherwise a willing lackey to local politicians who want to preserve everything bad about policing.

The reports they are talking about seem to be reports awaiting uploads to federal agencies that compile statistics, such as how many burglaries are reported throughout the country. You know who else is late getting these things in? Almost every other police department in the country. It has nothing to do with current enforcement and everything to do with historical numbers.

If someone gets arrested and goes to court, and the prosecutors can’t get the reports on this new case for use at trial, there is immediate action. If a Deputy District Attorney needs full reports to prosecute a case and doesn’t have them, he/she does not sit there and say, “I guess we have to dismiss this case.” He/she gets on the horn and finds out what’s up. Ask yourself, how often have you read about a defendant being freed because a police report was late? My guess would be zero, zero times.

PRI was hired to come up with a reason, any reason, to justify letting the chief go. PRI knows that they can frame something in a way that is panic-inducing. As long as no one stops for a minute and says, “Hey, this doesn’t make sense.”

This is a very bad joke. And it’s being played on US.

Debra MacKillop
Debra MacKillop
3 months ago

Coffman and GOP new to Council are liars, corrupt, self-serving and incompetent, and probably racist. That’s why we voted Coffman out of Congress. We need to do that again in Aurora. Since he took over, no real problem solving and productive leadership has happened, just attacks, blaming, stunts at others expense, and lies.

Don
Don
3 months ago

Deb, I bet you’re as racist as they come!

DICK MOORE
3 months ago

Well Debra, I’ve noticed you are commenting more and more on the local news. I can’t tell yet if you are actually a socialist or just a very far left wing democrat. Either way, you have almost won my prize for making the silliest of the silly comments having almost no credibility of what is actually happening in Aurora.

Understand that the same time Mayor Mike was elected, so were the socialists, Marcano and Coombs. Could it be that Mayor Mike is just trying to slow down the unrealistic thoughts, actions and demands of the socialists on our Council?

As you state, the Aurora electorate in the last election voted in two GOP at-large “new” Council members. You just call them bad names, I call them saviors. Debra, could it be that they were elected to give the Mayor support in slowing down these socialists?

I’m believing, more and more, that the next election will eliminate Marcano and Coombs. Two conservatives will be elected at large. That will leave only Murillo, the child councilor and Medina, the quiet one left to support the socialist way. The votes will change from 7-4 to 9-2. Then, Debra, you will have to speak louder, so to speak, to make your silly comments.

Helen
Helen
3 months ago
Reply to  DICK MOORE

Neither Marcano or Coombs are at large members. I have attended a couple of town halls with Coombs and found her to be knowledgeable and responsive to her constituent’s concerns. I can’t even remember the previous council member from my district. I plan to vote for her if she runs again, although I’m sure why anyone would want the job.

Dean
3 months ago

All this posturing and its objective is befuddling. The previous APD Chief – Ms. Wilson and her executive management skills were no longer required. Employment At Will, her specific services were no longer something Aurora was impressed with and had no obligation to continue the agreement. Now she is seeking to gin-up through some local woke activist media event that some in the city cooked up some intentional discrediting report and she is the victim of a corrupt city.  And obligatory to this political side-show, the Marcano-Coombs twins. I’m surprised these two didn’t, as dedicated public servants, seize this particular stage, and said this was more of the policy of APD racism that did her in, they didn’t they got into politics instead. And let’s not forget Wilson has said there is partisan politics now in APD and it shouldn’t be.

Tawny Fox
Tawny Fox
3 months ago

Is anyone surprised that Coffman is lying again? That’s what liars do. He lies to cover his weakness, puffing up like a little chihuahua, thinking he’s a big dog.

The fact is that Coffman and his little playground bully friends don’t give one whit about the public, except their rich cronies. They ignore the fact that the entire country is aware of how corrupt the APD has been, and instead work to double down on the corruption.

SWC
SWC
3 months ago

Puleeze people. Let it rest. Incredible! Vanessa Wilson was the poster child of ineptness. I cannot believe that most of the public has not figured that out yet.
She cannot and did not function well as a chief. She caved to minority interests only. She is a national embarrassment. A disaster! She ruined the agency for years to come. Chris Juul has a heavy lift ahead of him as interim. He will fail because of the damage done.

john wilson
john wilson
3 months ago
Reply to  SWC

He will fail because he is cut from the same cloth as Wilson, a clean sweep is needed in the chiefs office if any meaningful change can take place.

Publius
Publius
3 months ago

Given your prolific efforts in replying to stories in the sentinel I bet you, Don Black, filed lengthy and complete reports in a timely manner.