AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – Aurora’s city manager is addressing the community after the controversial firing of former Aurora Police Chief Vanessa Wilson. In a letter to the community, Aurora City Manager Jim Twombly disputes allegations of political pressure being the reason for Wilson’s firing.
Instead, he said the decision was about performance and that the city is committed to developing trust and making progress on police reform.
Wilson and her supporters disagreed strongly with this rationale when she spoke on Monday, “This is a political agenda and there should not be partisan politics in public safety.”
Aurora City Manager Jim Twombly issued the following letter to the community on April 15:
Members of the Aurora Community,
There has been much public conversation and scrutiny about the recent change of leadership in the Aurora Police Department.
As the city manager, there are times when I must make difficult decisions. I take this responsibility very seriously. I always try to act in what I consider to be the best interests of our community, our city and our employees. The change in leadership of the Aurora Police Department is not about politics, or political pressure, as has been suggested. It is about evaluating performance and progress and doing what I believe is right. Period.
I want to make it abundantly clear where the city of Aurora is headed with public safety. We are not letting our foot off the gas on police change, building trust with the community and supporting our officers. As we have said many times before, we want and need the community to help define how we build the department that serves us all.
We will continue to push forward on changes I initiated and prioritized two years ago. This means:
We will expand on our community engagement efforts as we committed to in our Consent Decree with the Colorado Attorney General’s Office and as a part of our U.S. Department of Justice Public Safety Partnership program.
We will remain focused on valuing our officers, supporting them with the tools and training they need to be successful, while holding accountable the few who don’t honor the profession or respect the community.
We will remain focused on reducing violent crime and protecting our residents and businesses while building trust and forging alliances and partnerships within our community.
These public safety priorities will remain unchanged under my leadership, no matter who is chief of police.
I recognize the competing narratives that exist about the timing of this change. Regardless, my decision was based on the need to pursue leadership that will effectively manage and build the department to bring about enduring transformation. It is about pursuing all avenues of success for Aurora–even when the right decision might not be the popular one.
We will soon begin seeking input from the community about the qualities and characteristics you want in the person who will serve as the next chief for the Aurora Police Department. Once we have applicants for that position you will have the opportunity to meet the candidates and provide your feedback and thoughts before any decision is made.
I look forward to your contributions and encourage you to reach out if you have questions about the process and how you can be involved.