AURORA, Colo. — On Monday night, the Aurora City Council voted to provide bonuses to all uniformed Aurora police officers in an effort to help retention at the department that’s lost more than 100 officers this year.
Council voted 6-4 on the resolution, which will use pandemic relief funds from the American Rescue Plan to provide a total of $8,000 to each officer over the next year.
The officers will receive $4,000 in April of 2022 and the additional $4,000 in October.
The vote came with some passionate debate between the city councilmembers.
Those in favor said providing the retention bonuses will help stop officers from leaving, which will give the department time to rebuild their force.
Those who voted against the resolution said the bonuses won’t help improve public safety and that there’s nothing that stops the officers from leaving after receiving the bonus.
There was also discussion on how it would impact morale of other departments in the city who would not be receiving any bonuses.
The Aurora Police Department has lost 119 officers since January 2021. The department has added 84 recruits since then, so they’re currently down 35 officers, according to the city.
The Aurora Police Department has been under fire in recent years over multiple cases, including the death of Elijah McClain. In September, Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser released a report saying the department uses excessive force and racially biased police practices and violates state and federal laws as part of its patterns and practices. In November, the Attorney General Phil Weiser and Aurora’s city manager and police and fire chiefs announced a consent decree to try to fix the multiple issues outlined in the report, which the city council voted to accept.