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Article posted: 1/4/2013 5:57 PM

Aurora mayor wants bonues for cops after murder-free year

By Marie Wilson

The police officers who patrolled Aurora during the city's first murder-free year since 1946 may be getting a $500 bonus for their efforts.

Mayor Tom Weisner proposed the bonus for all 289 sworn officers in the Aurora Police Department, saying they played the most critical role in preventing homicides in 2012.

"Year after year, day after day, Aurora police officers have put themselves on the line to snuff out violent crime in our community," Weisner said in a statement released Friday afternoon. "No homicides for 2012 is a symbol of their overall success."

Giving the bonuses would cost the city $144,500, an expense the city council's finance committee is set to consider on Tuesday, Jan. 8.

Last year was the first to close without a murder in Aurora since 1946, when the city's population was about 48,000. As the city has grown to 199,672 residents in the 2010 census, nonprofit groups, social service agencies and faith-based organizations have joined police in fighting gangs by providing productive alternatives for youth.

Thomas said police have coordinated with state and federal authorities to arrest gang members and worked to decrease the number of shootings in town. Recorded firearm discharges dropped to 61 in 2012 from 357 in 1996, a year when the city saw 26 slayings, the most in recent memory.

Weisner said in a statement the extra cash for officers would help recognize an important safety milestone in the city.

"Even in this difficult economy, we should make the sacrifices necessary to reward this extraordinary accomplishment," he said.

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