Aurora city leaders want community input on which of four final candidates should become the city’s next chief of police.
The finalist pool includes two longtime Aurora police leaders as well as candidates from departments in Baltimore County and Dallas. The city announced the finalists on Tuesday and will host a virtual town hall at 7 p.m., June 23.
The hiring comes as protesters across the country demand reform of policing and a movement in Aurora for more transparency and civilian oversight following the death of Elijah McClain in police custody.
The four finalists are:
- Vanessa Wilson, the department’s interim chief
- Marcus Dudley, Jr., an Aurora police commander who leads the department’s internal affairs bureau
- Alexander Jones, a colonel and bureau chief at the Baltimore County Police Department
- Avery Moore, assistant police chief at the Dallas Police Department
Community members with questions for the candidates’ town hall are asked to submit questions in advance at AuroraGov.org/PoliceChiefTownHall. A survey for community members to submit their thoughts about the candidates will be available at that website after the town hall.
All finalists will be in Aurora next week to meet with city leaders, Aurora Police Department employees, community organizations, businesses and the newly-formed Community Police Task Force.
The city council on Monday appointed 13 people to serve on the task force, which includes representatives from the schools, community groups, law enforcement and churches. The group is tasked with evaluating the police department’s policies and studying ways to establish civilian oversight of the agency.
“A lot has happened in the world since we began this search late last year, but I believe we have an excellent group of candidates to consider and look forward to meeting with each of them,” Aurora city manager Jim Twombly said in a statement. “This has been a difficult time for all communities as people look to re-examine the role and operations of police departments across the country, and the timing of our search for the next Aurora Chief of Police provides us with a prime opportunity to understand how we as a city want to look forward and ask questions of those who wish to lead our department.”
Former Aurora police Chief Nick Metz retired from the department Dec. 31, and former Deputy Chief Paul O’Keefe was slated to lead the department while a new chief was selected. Instead, O’Keefe announced he would retire after becoming embroiled in the department’s controversial decision to not fire nor criminally investigate an on-duty officer caught passed out drunk behind the wheel of his running department car.
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