AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – The Aurora City Council on Monday voted to approve the appointment of Vanessa Wilson as the next police chief of the Aurora Police Department. Wilson has been serving as the interim police chief.
City councilors noted Wilson’s response to community unrest, including protests over the death of Elijah McClain.
“I believe this is the right choice to lead the Aurora Police Department in a time as the interim chief of police, she’s demonstrated leadership through tough decisions she has made and strong actions that she has already taken. Interim Chief Wilson has a long history of community outreach. She’s committed to listening to the many voices of our residents. She understands it will take work and actions to rebuild the trust between her officers and the community. I have every confidence this will be her top priority. The changes she has already implemented are just the beginning,” said Mayor Mike Coffman at a meeting late Monday night.
Councilwoman Angela Lawson stated she would not be voting in favor of the appointment of Wilson. She said she supported another candidate, Aurora Police Commander Marcus Dudley, the other internal candidate.
“He’s been an advocate for the community,” she said.
The Aurora Mayor and City Council voted 10-1 to approve the city manager’s selection this evening at its regular meeting.
The city shared the following information about Wilson in a news release:
Wilson holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Humanities from the University of Wyoming in Laramie. She is a graduate of the FBI National Academy, Rocky Mountain FBI Academy, FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Association Command Institute, Leadership in Police Organizations, sponsored by the International Association of Chief of Police.
Her 23-year long career at APD includes service with the Investigations Bureau and Special Operations Bureau, Patrol Operations and as Internal Affairs Commander.
Wilson was one of four candidates gathered from a national search. Also considered were Aurora Police Commander Marcus Dudley, Alexander Jones, a colonel in the Baltimore County Police Department, and Avery Moore, an assistant shief in Dallas.
Wilson’s appointment comes on the heels of a controversial video showing Aurora police officers detaining a family, including children, in a stolen vehicle investigation. The vehicle officers saw in a parking lot had the same license plate number, but the wrong state.
Wilson responded to the now-viral video and backlash stating, in part, “I have called the family to apologize and to offer any help we can provide, especially for the children who may have been traumatized by yesterday’s events.”