COFFMAN, BERGAN, BERZINS AND GRUBER: Hateful rhetoric toward cops is divisive

EDITOR’S NOTE: While the authors do not explicitly point to an incident at the June 22 Aurora City Council meeting stemming from the Facebook post of a fellow council member, the letter clearly addresses the incident, and we include a link to the story here for reader context.

EDITOR: We, the undersigned members of Aurora City Council wish to express our deep concern with the state of relations between police forces and citizenries nationwide, particularly as it pertains to our hometown.

Our hearts break as we see the persistent conflict between law enforcement and residents of Aurora, specifically in communities of color.

Amid calls to abolish or defund law enforcement, we wish to express our support for the men and women of Aurora Police. They deserve recognition for the important, and often dangerous, work they do every day to make Aurora a safe place to live.

This is not to say we cannot improve.

We support the reform measures recently put in place by interim Chief Vanessa Wilson. We support scrutinizing our safety protocols and use-of-force procedures. We support the formation of a community relations task force spearheaded by Mayor Pro Tempore Nicole Johnston. We support independent investigations. We will continue to recruit law enforcement candidates to represent all our diverse neighborhoods. And, of course, we intend to hold rogue officers accountable.

We are confident these enhancements, and others, will further improve a police force that is already one of the best-trained in the nation.

It’s time for healing to begin.

We, as community leaders and public servants, owe it to our constituents to lead the charge, and remain impartial as we make life-altering decisions for our city.

Offensive, malicious, irresponsible and hateful rhetoric directed toward law enforcement only serves to drive a wedge between them and the people they are sworn to protect in these already-divisive times.

And we hope citizens will remember that cops are part of our community. They are mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters. Coaches, volunteers and mentors.

They are our Aurora.

We stand united in our belief that police support and accountability are not mutually exclusive. We can protect our community, uphold the rule of law and support police at the same time. We are better than this.

Francoise Bergan, City Council Member, Ward 6

Marsha Berzins, City Council Member, Ward 3

Dave Gruber, City Council Member At-Large

Mike Coffman, Mayor