Aurora mayor proposes 1.2-mill police levy

By Mike Lesko | Aurora Advocate Published:

Aurora Mayor James Fisher is proposing a 1.2-mill safety levy to "support the current and future needs of the police department" that would appear on the May primary election ballot.

The issue was discussed Monday at Aurora City Council's committee of the whole meeting.

Fisher said the levy would generate $650,000 to $700,000 annually, and would cost the owner of a $100,000 home an additional $33 to $36 a year.

The levy, which is for five years, must be approved by Council by Feb. 6 to go on the May ballot.

It would support the hiring of two additional patrol officers, one detective and an additional school resource officer, Fisher said, as well as "the technology support that improves the effectiveness of our officers."

If approved, the ratio of law enforcement officers per 1,000 residents would be 1.87. The city has 26 full-time officers, Police Chief Seth Riewaldt said.

"Satisfying the safety expectations of the residents is a key priority," Fisher said. "One of the city's many responsibilities to the residents focused on raising families is to provide safety."

Fisher said in 2000, Aurora had 24 law enforcement officers, or 1.77 officers for every 1,000 residents. Now it has 1.6 for every 1,000.

The mayor said aid by the end of 2009, traffic crashes resulting in injuries were down 44 percent and a variety of serious types of crimes were at a three-year low. The officer count per 1,000 residents was 1.86, he said, and "this number is the foundation for addressing the law enforcement needs of the city going forward," he said.

Aurora's target of 1.87 officers per 1,000 residents has been compared to national averages of 2.2 and 2.1, he said.

Contact this reporter at 330-541-9400 ext. 4187 or mlesko@recordpub.com

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