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Former Aurora police chief Dan Oates talks about struggles to get rid of bad cops

Oates wrote in The Washington Post on the "creative" ways he used to expel the officers he thought deserved to be fired.
Credit: 9News
On his last day as head of the Aurora Police Department, Chief Dan Oates said he feels he's left a strong legacy with the department.

AURORA, Colo. — Former Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates wrote about the challenges of expelling bad cops from the force Friday in The Washington Post.

Oates led police departments in Ann Arbor, Mich., Aurora and Miami Beach. He wrote about the challenges of police chiefs against police unions and state laws that stack the deck in favor of crooked cops.

Not so much in Colorado, he wrote.

"In Colorado, there was no such guarantee — and the cultural difference in the departments I oversaw was striking," Oates wrote. "In Florida, trustworthiness was a challenge. In Colorado, officers generally did not lie to internal affairs — and, what’s more, they helped keep one another honest.

"But that didn’t mean it was easy to get rid of underperforming cops. In nearly nine years as chief in Aurora, Colo., I had 16 cops out of 650 whom I felt should be fired. Four I actually did fire. The Civil Service Commission promptly reversed me on three of them. So with the other 12 cops, I bent over backward to negotiate their departures with creative severance packages. I succeeded in getting them out — with deals that protected the city from litigation — but these agreements also allowed the cops to get jobs elsewhere if they could."

Read the full story at Colorado Politics.

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