Aurora Mulls Cop Bonuses for Murder-Free Year

Finance Committee on Tuesday unanimously approved measure

By BJ Lutz and Michelle Relerford
|  Tuesday, Jan 8, 2013  |  Updated 5:39 PM CDT
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Illinois' second-largest was homicide-free last year for the first time since 1946. Michelle Relerford reports on a plan to put an extra $500 in the pocket of every sworn officer.

Illinois' second-largest was homicide-free last year for the first time since 1946. Michelle Relerford reports on a plan to put an extra $500 in the pocket of every sworn officer.

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Aurora's City Council will later this month vote on a proposal to give a $500 bonus to each sworn police officer as a reward for a murder-free 2012.

With a 3-0 vote, the city's finance committee on Tuesday approved the plan, which is expected to cost about $144,500.

"It is important that we recognize this milestone and the men and women chiefly responsible for it," said Mayor Tom Weisner. "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."

The western Chicago suburb, home to nearly 200,000, was murder-free last year for the first time since 1946. The last killing reported in the city was on Dec. 21, 2011, when a 21-year-old woman died in a domestic violence attack.

Police Chief Greg Thomas said that while sweeps targeting the most serious criminal suspects and gang leaders helped, he said community policing was key.

"We have to have that trust with the community. You have to have that respect within the community in order to build those bridges and make sure that everybody is doing their fair sure to try to get that accomplished," he said.

Weisner said the city already has the money to pay the bonuses, which amount to 1/10th of one percent of the budget.

The full council will take up the issue on Jan. 22.

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