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Suburban mayor proposes cop bonuses after murder-free year

Updated: January 5, 2013 4:25PM

Following the news that suburban Aurora did not record a single homicide in 2012, Mayor Tom Weisner is proposing a $500 bonus for all sworn police officers.

Weisner said that year after year, Aurora officers have put themselves on the line to snuff out violent crime.

“Having no homicides in 2012 is just one heck of an achievement. It’s really a culmination of the overall achievement of our police in reducing crime in general,” Weisner said. “My feeling was it just deserves recognition.”

The violent crime rate has decreased more than 30 percent from 2006 to 2011 and more than 50 percent in the past decade.

After more than 20 homicides were committed in 2002 – many attributed to gang violence – Aurora’s increased safety efforts have brought positive change with those numbers dropping to about two homicides per year between 2008 to 2011, and zero in 2012, the city said. Recorded firearm discharges also have decreased from 357 in 1996 to 61 in 2012.

“It is impossible to determine the value our officers provide to the community,” said Police Chief Greg Thomas. “This accomplishment is a reflection of the hard work of our officers, in partnership with other law enforcement agencies, city employees, citizen groups and residents.”

With 289 sworn officers, the total cost of the bonuses is expected to be $144,500, the city said.

“It is impossible to put a number to the value of what they have achieved, but even in this difficult economy, we should make the sacrifices necessary to reward this extraordinary accomplishment,” Weisner said.

The proposal will be sent to the City Council Finance Committee for consideration Tuesday. Weisner said he is confident the City Council will support the measure.

“I think our community will agree in general that this is a major accomplishment,” he said.

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