AURORA, Colo. (CBS4)– On Thursday, a handful of proposed ordinances to limit the Aurora Police Department’s use of some military grade equipment as well as non-lethal chemicals, like tear gas, failed to move from committee. Aurora City Councilman Juan Marcano first introduced the measures last month, not long after concerns were raised about the department’s use of force polices. In particular, how officers responded to a violin vigil held in memory of Elijah McClain that ended with officer in riot gear dispersing crowds with pepper spray.
One of the proposals would ban police from using any gases on citizens, an idea Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman was quick to speak out against.
“I think it’s an important tool for police officers to have because then it’s going to be rubber bullets, or wooden batons, and more lethal means,” Coffman said.
A second proposal would have required police to return equipment obtained through a military surplus program, including a military style vehicle known as an MRAP, or Mine Resistant Ambush Protected.
“It can be used to evacuate a wounded officer from an active shooter situation as well as evacuate civilians,” Coffman said.
While he says he agrees there needs to be police reform, he says it should be a balanced and thoughtful approach.
“These are tools that sound good on the surface to limit the capability of our police force but I don’t think they are smart I think we should rely on the professional judgment of our new police chief,” he said.
Both of the proposals were voted down by the safety committee, however a new proposal that would allow the council to have some oversight on which equipment the police obtained will go to the full council now for discussion.