Denver cops getting free ride for DUIs, suggests Independent Monitor Richard Rosenthal

Categories: Colorado Crimes

Thumbnail image for Richard Rosenthal head shot.JPG
Rosenthal.
The new status report from Independent Monitor and Westword profile subject Richard Rosenthal contains a real whopper: He says off-duty Denver officers caught driving drunk in Denver may be scoring get-out-of-jail free cards.

Since 2005, ten off-duty Denver officers have been busted for drunk driving outside of Denver, but within city limits there were no cop DUIs, save for those that were serious enough to involve a collision.

Did Rosenthal find hard-and-fast proof that Denver cops were looking the other way when they caught their colleagues sloshed behind the wheel? No -- but the evidence in the report is compelling. As Rosenthal points out, when you look at drunk driving arrests for Denver civilians, the number of non-collision DUIs outweigh the number of collision-related DUIs by a ratio of roughly 3.3 to 1. And sure enough, that ratio essentially holds up for the ten Denver cops busted for drunk driving outside of the city since 2005: Two of the 10 arrests involved car accidents.

During that same period, the DPD busted five Denver cops for collision-related drunk driving. Considering the ratios described above, one would expect there to be between fifteen and twenty other cops arrested in Denver during this time for drunk driving that did not end in a crash. Instead, there were none.

In other words, the data suggests that there might be a DPD tendency to ignore Denver cops driving drunk -- that is, unless their behavior behind the wheel was so egregious there was no way to overlook it.

And when Denver cops are busted for drunk driving, Rosenthal is concerned that their punishment might not be stiff enough. In the report, he highlights the recent case of an off-duty Denver officer who drove off a mountain road and down an embankment with a blood-alcohol content that was three times the legal limit -- and with a loaded firearm in his glove compartment. When local cops told him he was being arrested, the officer was less than pleased:

"I can't believe you guys... I have never fucked another policeman, never in my life. I
started in the suburbs of Chicago and I worked in Chicago, Chicago PD, and I now I work in Denver. I have never, never, ever fucked another policeman, and I don't know what you guys do up here... I have never been fucked by another policeman. I cannot believe this is the way you guys fucking run your department..."

In April 2011, Denver Manager of Safety Charles Garcia suspended the officer for 26 days for driving under the influence, unlawful possession of a firearm while intoxicated, and rude and offensive behavior towards other officers. But there is no specific punishment for soliciting preferential treatment. Also, Denver cops in the past have faced harsher punishment for less. Last year, for example, a Denver cop got slapped with a 46-day suspension for driving drunk and asking for preferential treatment, and in that case there was reportedly no loaded firearm or offensive behavior. It's interesting to note that the Safety Manager involved in that decision was none other than Ron Perea, a guy who lasted hardly a month in the position because he was seen as being way too lenient on cops.

According to the report, after Rosenthal told DPD there was reason to believe that Denver officers driving drunk were receiving preferential treatment, the command staff agreed to create official protocol to deal with off-duty officers who are stopped for suspected DUI in Denver. Until then, however, if you're a Denver cop and you feel like driving drunk, it looks like it's best to keep your travel plans within city limits.

Here's Rosenthal's complete report:

Office of the Independent Monitor Second Quarter Report 2011

More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "Denver police brutality scandal: A multimedia timeline."


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14 comments
KSmith023
KSmith023

I meant to add that this person was just recently sentenced to 60 days in jail for DUI. He crashed his car and hurt another motorist. :-|

KSmith023
KSmith023

When I first saw this on the news, I wasn’t surprised at all. I know a person who used to work for the Denver Fire Department and each and EVERY time he was stopped for OBVIOUS impaired driving, he was given a pass by the Denver Police Department. Today, this person is no longer employed by the DFD and just recently, he was throw in jail and fined. HUMPH! All the years the DPD allowed him to drive while putting innocent motorists in harm’s way. It’s sad that our “trusted police officers” are turning a blind eye on their fellow colleagues; whether they are on or off-duty cops and/or firemen. I’m hoping things change...???

Ray Denonville
Ray Denonville

Thanks to LoDo (Lower Downtown) Denver has been described as the most drunken city in North America. There really is no enforcement of liquor laws, except serving minors. I have been through sobriety check points around 10:00 pm going into LoDo. Denver D.P.D. gave me a brochure from M.A.D. I guess off-duty D.P.D. was paid by Mothers Against Drunk Driving to run that sobriety check point. Never does D.P.D. operate sobriety check-points going out of LoDo. I think that's because off-duty Denver Police work security detail at LoDo Bars and the off-duty Denver Police that work at Giggling Grizzley drink Beer in the alley while working. DPD doesn't want to bust their own leaving LoDo. A female LoDo patron told me an off-duty Denver Police Officer working security detail in LoDo hand-cuffed her and a female friend together and smoked weed with them..

GFTW
GFTW

Funny how Denver and MMJ clinics think they're above FEDERAL law.

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Simple and to the point. Thanks for the post, Patient.

The Spleen Lives
The Spleen Lives

What an amazingly stupid response. You DO understand the difference between establishing a state-wide Constitutional mandate to allow medical marijuana and police officers receiving preferential treatment after committing crimes, do you not?

Ray Denonville
Ray Denonville

The two cops working a security detail at Giggling Grizzly was  about this time of year, last year. They were uniformed D.P.D. with their personal cars parked in the alley close to the Bar that reaches the alley next  to the rear of LoDos Bar. The cops were drinking Coors Light in cans, I think they brought there own Beer and kept it in a cooler in one of their personal cars. They were not drunk, they worked the door and 95% of Giggling Grizzly's customers were drunk, overserved and were a real problem with fights, too drunk for taxis and who knows how many had accidents throughout the metro area driving home.The female can be located quite easily by the F.B.I. I talked to her on my cell-phone last winter. She lives in the 1600 bloclk of St Paul or Steele St in  an apartment building on the east side of the street (even side) about 1680 north. She sets up conventions for corporate, her employer is private. The City of Denver is responsible for this crime scene established under the leadership of the former mayor Hickenlooper a greedy white collar criminal. The police are responsible for having tunnel vision; their wallet. Greed. Public Safety is a farce.

Robert
Robert

We're both amused.

GFTW
GFTW

Hahahaha!! MMJ and cannabis are sooooooooooo stupid!!

Robert
Robert

I oppose this Administration because it continues to irrationally villify the use of cannabis,  persecuting those in compliance with state MMJ laws and burglarizing MMJ clinics, you write that the Administration "chooses to ignore" MMJ clinics -- what is wrong here?  To "stupid" must be added "abysmally ignorant".

Jay
Jay

Yeah! Let's argue about marijuana some more. Lord knows that why I clicked on this article.

GFTW
GFTW

You're clearly completely ignorant about the law. Lay off the dope before trying to argue next time. MMJ clinics are a clear violation of federal law, which this lame administration chooses to ignore.

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