The Denver Post
Denver needs a police chief who is willing to reach out to the community, has zero tolerance for police brutality, and wants to protect and serve a diverse population, some residents told a committee that will help pick a replacement for Chief Gerald Whitman.
More than 70 people participated in the town hall at Manual High School on Monday to give the six-member review committee their ideas on the qualities a chief must have.
The head of the 1,400-member police department should be someone who "will do the right thing when no one is looking," said Wil Bradford.
Amber Tafoya, a lawyer who lives on Denver's west side, said a police commander recently told her that he moved from a Denver neighborhood because it had become too rough. "I want a chief willing to live in our neighborhoods," she said. "We need a chief who has a heart for every neighborhood."
Derek Blass said officers who join the force with the best of intentions can change under the pressure of the job. "Over time, due to situations, they can become a menace."
A chief should be willing to initiate rigorous and regular psychological testing of officers, Blass said.
The discipline process for officers accused of wrongdoing can take too long, said Miriam Pena, co-executive director of the Colorado Progressive Coalition. For victims of police brutality, lengthy delays cause frustration, she said.
Several people said that even though Mayor Michael Hancock has launched a national search to replace Whitman, they would like to see Division Chief Tracie Keesee get the job. "She understands the need for community input," said Pena.
Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?
Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.
If you would like to be involved please go to our website and become a member.
Tuesday, October 04, 2011
The Denver Post