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$500 bonus for a murder-free year? Chicago suburb considers rewarding cops

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CHICAGO -- Police officers in a Chicago suburb may be in line for $500 bonuses as a reward for a murder-free 2012.

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

The full council will vote on the proposal on Jan. 22.

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

With a population of nearly 200,000, Aurora 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.

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

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"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 added.

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