Aurora Pride Parade bans uniformed police officers from marching

Aurora’s third annual Pride Parade will be held Sunday, June 12 — but without uniformed police officers marching the route.

Parade organizers say it’s a decision they was not made lightly, but it’s to make the route welcoming to all.

For two years and since the Aurora Pride Parade started, the Aurora Police Department has participated. This year, law enforcement is banned from marching in uniform, but rather encouraged to identify themselves by t-shirts, banners or a float.

Aurora Police Sergeant Lee Catavu said he and his colleagues who typically march are opting out this year.

"The irony is not lost on us that we're basically being asked to come to an event of inclusion, but do so without being our authentic selves and showing off who we are," said Sgt. Catavu.

Parade organizers were unavailable for a comment Tuesday night, but referred FOX 32 to a news release posted on their website. It reads in part, "APD is absolutely ahead of many other departments, but there's still work to be done. There will already be uniformed officers and vehicles present outside the parade route, and we want the parade route to feel as welcoming as possible for everyone."

"How can they just take a group of people and tell them they're not allowed to be who they are?" asked 42nd district Democratic State Senator Linda Holmes.

The reason behind the decision is history. According to their release, "A lack of trust in the people sworn to protect breeds fear, and we feel that we must stand with those in our community who’ve been victimized."


State Senator Holmes says if the reason is based on historical mistreatment of the LGBTQ+ community – politicians shouldn’t be allowed to march.

"I'm sitting here debating whether I even want to walk in the Pride Parade," said Senator Holmes.

"I think it's a lost opportunity to mend any wounds to the extent that they exist, and to again highlight the diversity within the department and our acceptance and embracement of the community at large," said Sgt. Catavu, who adds they will of course continue to provide security for the parade.

Aurora Police Department released this statement: "The Aurora Police Department is extremely disappointed in Aurora Pride’s decision to ban officers from marching in uniform in this year’s Aurora Pride Parade.

The Aurora Police Department has a large group of LGBTQ+ staff members and was one of the first agencies in the state to implement a LGBTQ+ liaison officer. APD is a major ally of the LGBTQ+ community and we have participated in every event since the inception of Aurora’s Pride Parade.

While we are saddened to hear that our officers are banned from participating in their uniforms in an event focused on inclusion and acceptance, our officers will stand strong in uniform and provide security for the parade to ensure all in attendance are able to enjoy the parade safety.

The Aurora Police Department will continue our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion for all."