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Permit revoked for Aurora Pride Parade after police department says too few officers were secured to maintain safety

City of Aurora pulls plug on Pride Parade
City of Aurora pulls plug on Pride Parade 00:37

AURORA, Ill. (CBS) -- The permit for the Aurora Pride Parade has been pulled, organizers said Wednesday.

Aurora Pride said in a statement that the Aurora Police Department said it could not supply enough officers to maintain safety, and tasked Aurora Pride with finding officers from other jurisdictions to fill the gap.

Aurora Pride was told it had until noon Wednesday to secure the sufficient number of officers, and if that didn't happen, the special events permit for the parade would be revoked.

Aurora Pride said it could not bring the required number officers on board "despite the tireless efforts of our Safety team lead and many supporters offering their assistance." Thus, the permit has been revoked.

The City of Aurora confirmed in a statement that it issued a Notice of Revocation for the parade because the Aurora Pride board could not secure enough police officers. The city emphasized that the Aurora Police Department had provided 70 percent of the officers for the parade.

"The revocation of the Special Event Permit, which authorized Aurora Pride to conduct the parade, prohibits the parade from taking place as scheduled." The city said.

Aurora Pride has filed an appeal, which is to be heard Thursday, the city said.

The Aurora Police Department said Tuesday that when police officers are needed privately-run special event, the officers are assigned as an extra job outside their regular duties Extra jobs and overtime are voluntary, and city cannot force any officers to work for the parade, Aurora police said.

As it is, the Aurora Police Department has already been struggling to get officers to work overtime to fill staff shortages, sick calls, and vacation time with overtime – while also ensuring there are enough officers on patrol to ensure public safety in the city, police said – adding that fewer officers want to work extra shifts than in the past.

Aurora police said they introduced Aurora Pride to other police departments and officers that could step in – but even after this effort, the number of officers on board came up 20 short.

Despite the revocation of the permit, parade organizers said they hope the parade – set for this coming Sunday – can still go ahead.

"Our position has been misrepresented, and we're making every effort to keep the parade as scheduled," Aurora Pride said. "Thank you for your steadfast support, and please hang tight."

The Aurora Pride Parade has already been mired in controversy involving the police department for a separate reason. Organizers for the parade made the decision last month that law enforcement officers may participate – but without weapons, uniforms, or individual vehicles.

Parade organizers in late May issued a news release reading in part, "many members of the community feel uneasy in the presence of official law enforcement vehicles, as well as uniformed officers, due to negative experiences they themselves or someone they know have had."

The organizers did allow uniformed police officers during the 2018 and 2019 pride parades in Aurora. But they said in 2022, the climate has shifted – and community members are more strained than they were three years ago.

As a result of that decision, Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin said last week that he would not be participating in the parade, and also announced the City of Aurora would no longer have a float in the parade.

"The impacted officers and the command staff of the Aurora Police Department are not in agreement with this, and I stand with our officers. As a result, I will not participate in this year's Aurora Pride Parade, as I did in previous years," Irvin wrote. "Furthermore, I am withdrawing the City of Aurora's float from the parade, and the Pride Flag Raising Ceremony - initially planned to be held in collaboration with Aurora Pride - will now be presented solely by the City."

Irvin wrote that the City of Aurora has "worked diligently for years" to strengthen trust between police and the community "without painting Aurora with the broad brush of a national narrative."

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