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Aurora City Council eyeing rule changes following controversial police promotion

Aurora City Council eyeing rule changes following controversial police promotion
Aurora City Council eyeing rule changes following controversial police promotion 00:56

After learning that an Aurora police officer was recently promoted to detective, three years after he was found drunk and unresponsive at the wheel of a police car, a member of Aurora City Council's Public Safety Committee on Thursday promised to seek rule changes to prevent such promotions in the future.

"This is unfortunate that Nate Meier continues to hold a black eye over this department and continues to bring shame but the rules are the rules," said Danielle Jurinsky, Vice Chair of Aurora City Council Public Safety Committee. "So we will seek to change those rules."

Officer Nate Meier drunk and unconscious in his police car. Aurora

CBS News Colorado revealed Wednesday that Meier, who was found drunk at the wheel of an Aurora police vehicle in 2019, was promoted last month to the rank of agent/detective after finishing third in the promotional process. The promotion brings with it a raise of about $10,000 per year with his new salary standing at $110,399.

In March 2019, Meier was found drunk while on duty and at the wheel of a running Aurora police vehicle near Buckley Air Base. Meier was in a full police uniform and was armed. He was so unresponsive, first responders had to break a car window to get to the officer.  But Meier was never arrested or charged with DUI as command officers deemed it a medical situation. Meier's blood alcohol was more than five times the legal limit for DUI and he admitted to drinking to the point of impairment.

The case "destroyed our reputation," said then-acting Aurora Police Chief Vanessa Wilson.

RELATED: Aurora Police Chief Metz Overruled Commanders Who Recommended Firing Nate Meier

Meier was suspended and demoted. A formal review of what happened found Aurora police commanders made crucial mistakes in their handling of the case. 

Aurora City Attorney Manager Pete Schulte explained to the safety committee that Meier had abided by existing rules.

"Under our charter, there was nothing that we could do to prevent him from taking the test," said Schulte. 

He told council members they could consider amending the city charter or take other steps to address the promotional process. Schulte added that the promotion was solely based on a written test, where Meier finished with the third-highest score.

Nate Meier  CBS

"In my opinion," said Jurinsky, "the right thing to do, Nate Meier, would be to turn down this promotion but of course, that is up to you."

Jurinsky went on to say she thought a rule change was appropriate to avoid this "bad behavior, bad criminal behavior."

CBS News Colorado emailed Meier on Wednesday but he did not respond.

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