Gerald Whitman: If Denver Police chief goes, next mayor shouldn't ignore DPD candidates

tracie keesee.jpg
Tracie Keesee.
Here's your chief's hat, what's your hurry? With many of the mayoral candidates saying that Denver Police Chief Gerald Whitman should go -- and Whitman himself saying he would resign if asked -- some people, including the author of today's Denver Post editorial, are calling for the next mayor to go outside the city to pick the next top cop. But sometimes an outsider is not the answer.

Witness the resignation of Catheen Black from her spot as head of New York City's public schools after just 95 days.

If the new mayor wants to take a look for candidates outside of Denver, that's fine. But it would be foolish to overlook qualified candidates inside the Denver Police Department -- people who know the city, know the system and, most important, know what's broken in that system, and what works.

Among the internal names being floated as possible replacements for Whitman is Division Chief Tracie Keesee, who has a national reputation for the work she's done locally. Jared Jacang Maher reported on her efforts to determine whether racism played a role in cop shootings in the 2008 feature article "
Target Practice
;" soon after that story was published, Keesee was elevated to division chief, in charge of research, training and technology.

And Keesee is just one of the impressive officers in the Denver Police Department worth the new mayor's consideration.

In the meantime, current Mayor Bill Vidal is continuing to move quickly to clean up the DPD's past messes, most recently eliminating the Discipline Review Board that had become redundant after then-Mayor John Hickenlooper introduced the Independent Monitor and the Citizen Oversight Board, but still added months to the final decisions in discipline cases. New Manager of Safety Charles Garcia has already fired the two officers involved in the Michael DeHerrera beating, but he still has more controversial cases on his plate, including the death of Marvin Booker.

More from our Calhoun: Wake-Up Call archive: "Carla Madison: With city councilwoman's death, Denver is a little less colorful."

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Apparently you have never worked for Division Chief Keesee. We worked with her at District 3 and not only did she not take any of the credit for the hard work that was done by D-3 officers she publicly praised us when others would not. She told us the truth when other command officers wouldnt or avoided isses all together. She never passes herself off as perfect and in fact she makes a point to share her past mistakes so we wouldnt repeat them. So before you pass on "reportedly" unfounded information you should check your facts. Sounds like sour grapes of a person who may not have what it takes to lead the DPD.


Here's your chief's hat Tracie. We'll have to special order it to get one large enough. Patricia Calhoun is right, Keesee is impressive, at least on paper. A doctorate, author of articles, division chief. She's perfect........well, almost. A police department is by nature and necessity is a paramilitary organization. That requires the chief to demonstrate loyalty and honesty... to the organization,to their superiors, to the citizens, and most of all to the troops. That's where Keesee comes up short. Without these qualities in their leader, any current problems in the DPD will spread and intensify.Look beyond the resume and you'll find someone who will say anything to anyone, whether it's true or not, if it helps her get that coveted position. You'll find someone who, when promoted to division chief, reportedly left her command at District 3 wihout so much as a thank you to the men and women who worked hard to make her look good. I guess she just didn't need them anymore. She's been really busy lately, woking really hard. No you silly, not at her job at the police department........on the Michael Hancock campaign. Tracie's good at many things, but leadership isn't one of them.

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