CHANGE Reform Initiative
CHANGE BEGINS NOW WITH US, TOGETHER.
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. The consistent themes of recent demonstrations in Aurora – and across the globe – revolve around racial injustice, social equity, police accountability and substantive changes.
As Aurora strives to be a cohesive and thriving place to live, work and visit, it is vital that no person, group or segment of the community feels unheard, unassured and unattached from the process. Collectively, we must work together to ensure justice and equity for all while recognizing the humanity and dignity of all.
Through the Community Helping Aurora’s Necessary Growth and Empowerment (CHANGE) Reform Initiative aims to do just that and more. The CHANGE Reform Initiative is a multi-phased approach that focuses on four key areas of policing in Aurora during Phase I. While this is just the beginning and much more work will be done, the attention to these initial areas is a direct result of listening to and engaging with our community:
I. REVIEW POLICE USE-OF-FORCE POLICY
Mayor Richard C. Irvin has accepted the national challenge to cities in America to take the pledge to review local police use of force policies. To date, the pledge has been taken by mayors across the nation, including local mayors in Illinois. This process will include a diverse range of input, experiences, and stories in the review process as we seek feedback on Aurora’s use-of-force policies. Learn more about the national pledge at www.obama.org/mayor-pledge/.
II. REVIEW POLICE TRAINING POLICY
A thorough review of the training policies of the Aurora Police Department by an inclusive group of stakeholders will provide an opportunity to both learn about the current training process and to give recommendations for enhancements. From initial onboarding training to regular ongoing training, the community will assist in reviewing the policies, measuring them with other best practices - particularly in the areas of implicit bias, cultural sensitivity, and community relations – and provide feedback for Aurora.
III. CONDUCT AN AUDIT FOR BODY CAMERAS
In 2019, the City of Aurora began discussions regarding the use of body cameras at the Aurora Police Department. During the current year, the City has been researching the matter with plans for budget adjustments in the next fiscal year. To that end, the City will be releasing a Request for Information (RFI) on body cameras for APD. The RFI will be published by the end of this month and will give companies 30 days to respond. The goal is to gather information on all components needed for successful deployment and operation of body cameras prior to discussing local budgetary impact and implementation.
IV. EXPLORE THE IMPLEMENTATION OF A CIVILIAN REVIEW BOARD
Currently, the Aurora Police Department’s Office of Professional Standards and the Aurora Human Relations Commission address complaints of the conduct of APD officers. The City will begin the exploration process into an independent civilian review board that can, both on a policy level and for specific review of complaints and disciplinary measures, create direct accountability. Part of the exploration process will include researching other municipalities with similar boards, highlighting best practices and summarizing pros and cons accordingly.
The process for reviewing the use-of-force policies and training policies is community-based. Review and recommendation sessions will be conducted in July using the gathering guidelines in the Reopen Illinois Plan. In addition to residents, sessions will include representatives from the Aurora Police Department, the City of Aurora executive team and the Aldermen’s Office. Register to participate in a Review and Recommendation Session for
- Use-of-Force Policies: HERE (Download the policies above)
- Training Policies: HERE (Download the policies above)
- Recommendations for all four key areas can also be submitted online beginning July 8: HERE
TIMELINE FOR PHASE I
• Phase I will follow a 60-day timeline:
- Tuesday, June 9 – CHANGE Reform Initiative presented to City Council
- Friday, June 19 - Media Briefing Outlines Future Steps
- Tueday, June 23 - Registration Opens for Review and Recommendation Sessions
- July – Review and Recommendation Sessions Commence
- August 11: Presentation of recommendations and reports to City Council
Action plans developed from the four key areas in Phase I will be addressed in Phase II and beyond. Any additional key areas recommended and/or discovered during Phase I will also be considered for Phase II.