While the challenges of law enforcement may change daily, some basic responsibilities remain for the Aurora Police Department: fight crime, reduce the fear of crime, and build strong community partnerships, according to Nicholas Metz, chief of the Aurora Police Department.
“I’m a firm believer that you can’t have the first two without strong community relations,” Metz said. “This has been the hallmark of our agency – building on the community relationships that were already established by my predecessor.”
Speaking at CCA on Monday, March 22, Metz addressed several topics regarding the city of Aurora, crime statistics, and the police department’s relationship with CCA. Introduced by CCA President Betsy Oudenhoven as someone “really making a difference in our community”, Metz was joined by several Aurora police officers during his presentation.
After a 30-year career with the Seattle Police Department, Metz is now focused on ways to improve Aurora, which he calls one of the best large cities in the country.
The Aurora Police Department is increasing its presence in many communities to ensure access and transparency for Metz and his staff.
“We are getting patrol officers out of their cars and on the streets,” Metz said. “We want them to understand the communities they serve and build our credibility.” Officers can be seen attending church services and mosques, worshipping side by side with citizens, Metz said.
In addition to a wide variety of community outreach programs, the department is also relying heavily on social media to get positive stories out to the community, using platforms such as Twitter, Periscope, Facebook, and Next Door (an electronic Facebook-type platform for residents to post and receive information about their community).
Metz also said that Aurora is the safest big city in Colorado, and No. 13 on the list of safest big cities in the United States. CCA’s Campus Security works closely with the Aurora Police Department, which includes the college in on-campus emergency awareness exercises and maintains open lines of communication with Jeff Simpson, CCA’s security director, and his staff. Several, if not all of CCA’s security staff have been trained through the Aurora PD’s Police Academy’s programs and CCA’s Police Academy has incorporated instructors from the department in its curriculum.
“We want you to know you are very safe here,” Metz said.
One area Metz said he believes that CCA and others in the community can help with is diversity among its police officers. The CCA Police Academy will continue to work closely with the Aurora Police Department to help bridge the gap in this area.
Metz’s visit was sponsored by CCA President Betsy Oudenhoven; Chris Ward, vice president for Institutional Research; and Quill Phillips, special assistant to the president for diversity, equity & Inclusive Excellence, and the Equity, Diversity & Inclusive Excellence Committee (EDIC).