Aurora police seek way to use donations for funding programs, buying equipment

Police staff have already filed much of the required paperwork to launch the nonprofit foundation, and are now just waiting on approval from the IRS so they can start accepting donations.

AURORA | Aurora police are considering launching a nonprofit foundation that could help raise money for police equipment and other programs.

Police officials, including Chief Nick Metz and Capt. Bob Steff, presented the plan last week to City Council’s Public Safety Committee.

In a memo to the committee, Steff said the department has struggled in the past with how to accept gifts from the community.

“All gifts that have been received by APD have been passed on to other charitable organizations within the city,” he wrote.

Police staff have already filed much of the required paperwork to launch the nonprofit foundation, Steff said, and are now just waiting on approval from the IRS so they can start accepting donations.

Those donations will be used to cover a variety of efforts, Steff said in the memo, including “operations, volunteer programs and recognition, youth and family programs of APD, programs for public safety and grants for training and/or the purchase of specialized equipment that enhances crime fighting and engagement to our community.”

Metz said other departments, including Denver and Seattle, where he worked before becoming Aurora’s chief in 2015, have similar foundations.

Since he came to APD, Metz said he has been working on launching a foundation and trying to define its role.

The group would be managed by a board of directors, according to the memo.

Metz would not have a vote on the board, but would have the right to refuse any gifts to the department that he doesn’t deem necessary.

Aurora City Councilwoman Barb Cleland said she backs the idea, but was concerned about the name. Aurora Police Foundation, as the group is referred to in city documents, sounds too similar to the Aurora Police Association, the union that represents the bulk of the city’s police officers.

Police said the organization will likely use a trade name that differs substantially from the APA’s, but they haven’t yet determined what the name will be.

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