AURORA, Ill. — Aurora’s Pride Parade is in danger of being canceled because not enough officers are available to work the event.
The third annual Aurora Pride Parade is supposed to kick off at noon on Sunday, but now there’s speculation that the festivities may not go as planned. Aurora police on Tuesday said that the department does not have enough officers secured to work overtime at the event.
Residents and business owners told WGN News that the back-and-forth between Aurora police and Pride Parade organizers could be a contributing factor.
The group applied for a permit earlier this year and garnered approval in early May.
The police department began working on a safety plan and staffing, determined by the parade route, the number of street closures, the parade size, and the number of spectators.
In May, the event started to draw controversy when Aurora Pride said they did not want any uniformed officers marching in the parade, citing what they called ‘a violent and oppressive history between the LGBTQ community and police.’
Instead, the group suggested officers wear a soft uniform, such as a polo t-shirt with a patch or logo.
Police rejected the proposal, with Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin declaring he would not participate in the event and would withdraw the city’s float.
Artist Josh Schultz, putting the finishing touches on his Pride mural at a downtown coffee shop, weighed in on Tuesday.
“It seems like anytime there’s this push and shove and people start taking sides, then there’s a divide in the middle as opposed to me, the point is to bring people together,” Schultz said.
Per a spokesperson for Aurora police, the department is about 20 volunteering officers short. Law enforcement officials met with parade organizers, suggesting they reach out to neighboring jurisdictions and state police agencies for help.
As of Tuesday morning, Aurora Pride said attempts have been unsuccessful.
Small business owner Quinn Thompson hopes both sides will find a resolution.
“Hopefully, they get that resolved and we can resume with all the festivities lined up for this year that will not only benefit the city but the small businesses as well,” Thompson said.