Mayor Richard C. Irvin announced a new reform initiative that focuses on strengthening police and community relations and accountability through a multi-phased approach of reviewing law enforcement policies and exploring new implementations, such as body cameras and a civilian review board.
The Community Helping Aurora’s Necessary Growth and Empowerment (CHANGE) Reform Initiative was presented last night to the Aurora City Council after the mayor reviewed activities of the past week in Aurora, which included multiple protests with calls for racial justice, accountability and substantive change in the community.
“We can’t say we are ‘One Aurora’ if segments of our community feel unheard, unassured and unattached,” said Mayor Irvin. “I apologize to any person who has experienced unjust, unfair, undeserved treatment at any time in Aurora by police officers, public policy or any parts of the administration. However, the best apology is changed behavior.”
During the first phase of the CHANGE Reform Initiative, the focus is on four key areas of policing in Aurora, beginning with reviewing use-of-force and training policies.
Joining mayors across the country, Mayor Irvin accepted the national challenge from the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance to take the pledge to review local use of force policies and include community members in the process to gather feedback and make recommendations.
“Aurora is taking it a step beyond the national call to review use-of-force policies,” said Mayor Irvin. “We will also conduct a community-based review of the police department’s training policies.”
Residents will join City and police officials to review the training policies, learn about the current training process and give recommendations for improvements.
A series of ‘review and recommendation’ sessions for each of the first two key areas will be planned through June and July. Community members can register online at www.aurora-il.org/CHANGE when the dates are announced next week.
While the first two areas review current policies and procedures, the other two key areas preview possible new implementations.
The mayor announced the City has been assessing the use of body cameras for officers since last year. The CHANGE Reform Initiative will assist the process through the release of a Request for Information (RFI) for body cameras. The RFI, which will be released by the end of June, will give companies 30 days to respond with information regarding the successful deployment and operation of body cameras. The City will use the information to discuss local budgetary impact and implementation.
The final part of the plan will explore the implementation of a new independent civilian review board to address misconduct complaints. The City will research best practices through interviews with municipalities where such boards are active and productive.
All four key areas are under a 60-day timeline and full reports will be provided at the Aurora City Council Meeting on August 11.
“Let me be clear, this is only the first phase of the CHANGE Reform Initiative,” said Mayor Irvin. “Chief Ziman, Deputy Chief Cross and our teams are ready to move forward with our residents. Change won’t happen overnight, but we are all committed to listen, learn, act and implement changes for the betterment of Aurora.”
Learn more about the CHANGE Reform Initiative at www.aurora-il.org/CHANGE.