Denver Police retirees back on the beat today, demanding a "fair" manager of safety

While mayor-elect Michael Hancock continues to collect resumes for the numerous appointments he must make, a group of retired police officers will be gathering today to ask Hancock to appoint a new safety manager -- the sixth person in that position in a year -- who will be more sympathetic to cops.

The manager of safety oversees the sheriff's department, fire department and police department; former police chief Jim Collier (from 1991-'92) will be reading a statement on behalf of 700 retired officers at the 10 a.m. gathering in the South High School parking lot, asking for Hancock to appoint someone who will be fair to the rank and file.

Al LaCabe, a former police officer and attorney, had served as manager of safety for seven years, and resigned last summer after he oversaw a major overhaul of the discipline process. He was replaced -- very briefly -- by Ron Perea, who simply suspended officers who were involved in the Michael DeHerrera beating. In the outrage that followed, Perea resigned and was replaced on an interim basis by Mary Malesta, who fired two officers.

And then Charles Garcia, the former public defender who was appointed manager of safety in March by Mayor Bill Vidal, wasted no time taking action on other outstanding cases, firing six officers for lying, among other offenses, including two officers in the reopened DeHerrera case.

Update: Here's the announcement of that event:

Retired Denver Police Officers and Citizens Call for Accountability from Manager of Safety and New Mayor


More than 700 retired Denver police officers, their spouses, and widows of fallen police officers, and citizens are in support of a public statement expressing dissatisfaction with how political decisions are made in the Denver mayor's office that affect the safety and judgment of Denver's Police Department operations.

Retired Denver Police Chief Jim Collier, who served from 1991-1992, will read a prepared statement on behalf of the group at a gathering Tuesday, July 5th.

Media are welcome and encouraged to attend

In short, the group is calling for the new mayor to consider the following guidelines:

1. If the Mayor decides to continue to keep the Manager of Safety position, then the manager must be held accountable to act in a fair and impartial manner, as well as demonstrate an understanding of police procedures and the risks police officers face every day as they fulfill their duties

2. The Manager of Safety must use reasonable, short, decision-making timelines to decide disciplinary action

3. The Mayor must encourage the Chief of Police to manage the department to the best of his or her abilities and experience and to maximize the administration of justice on the streets

4. Ensure that the Police Department is in the "results business" and not in the "appearance business"

5. The City of Denver needs a strong and responsible Chief of Police, who is also held accountable

6. Denver police officers should have their opinions respected without fear of reprisal or discipline

7. Put more police supervisors on the street during incidents. Chances are that recent incidents caught on camera probably would not have escalated if supervisors were on the scene

8. The Mayor should take a firm position and halt the practice of the city paying for "nuisance suits" against police officers which only adds another layer of doubt and implication on the police officers even though officers have been cleared of any procedural wrongs.

Chief Collier said the group is in agreement that, "We fully support the rank and file, the men and women on the street who protect our citizens, but when it is merited we reaffirm the need for fair discipline and administration by impartial sources. However, the Manager of Safety can no longer undermine the Police Department's authority and ability to fulfill its charter to serve and protect the citizens of Denver."

Collier said, "As citizens, and former police officers, we support law and order and we need assertive police officers who are not afraid to be curious, to look at what's going on around them, and to fulfill their duties without feeling like their every action could be grounds for discipline."

Collier added that, "When law and order move out, you're not going to like what moves in."

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Brenda C
Brenda C

oops...that's "hands be TIED, not ties :D

Brenda Carrasco
Brenda Carrasco

I find it difficult to have FAITH in ANY police 'force' that believes their "hands are tied in fighting crime" when all the citizens have asked for is that officers BE ACCOUNTABLE when they perpetrate or commit brutalities...yes,  BRUTALITY (and in some instances, MURDER) against the community, especially when we, The People of OUR communities, see it with OUR OWN eyes from said departments HALO cameras!I think when our communities see officers (Collier ONLY in a bit over a year, anyway, lol!) DEFENDING actions which are completely UNJUSTIFIED, it gives us little incentive to have any faith in the REST of the "force", since they ARE defending FORCE.How can your hands be ties? Your job is NOT to BEAT/MURDER people. Your 'job' is to keep our communities SAFE, not be the FEAR in us! NOT beat us! NOT murder US!!! And most DEFINITELY, NOT DEFEND ROGUE OFFICERS & THEIR CRIMINAL BRUTALITY!

Ray Denonville
Ray Denonville

I remember the two years Jim Collier was Chief of Police.There was a Denver Police Dispatcher running a Crack House in the 1000 block of E. 22nd avenue. I know this because I worked across the street. Chief Jim Collier sent the SWAT Unit on a no-knock warrant at least two times into the Denver Police Dispatcher's house that I witnessed.For years the Denver Police Dispatcher outsmarted the Chief of Police by applying cayenne pepper powder along the baseboards that made the Drug Dogs sneeze. Then one day the Denver Police Dispatcher was busted by the next Chief of Police that sent her to prison.Some of those cops were fired for making false statements.If a citizen makes a false statement to the police, they go to jail.If a cop makes a false statement to the court, it is perjury.To write a false statement or affidavit is a serious crime.It is also a perversion of justice for the Denver City Attorney, Denver District Attorney, Denver County Court Judges and Denver District Court Judges to trump up charges that is done as casually as the police making deceptive statements.

J Brian Martinez
J Brian Martinez

This line is just chilling: "The Mayor must encourage the Chief of Police to manage the department to the best of his or her abilities and experience and to maximize the administration of justice on the streets."

"Justice on the streets" is EXACTLY why the cops need a short leash.  They think they are entitled to dispense "justice" to anyone who crosses their path.

This is just a PR stunt by the tax-feeders because they're not feeling the love anymore from city administrators - GOOD!  If Hancock wants to earn some respect, he'll hire a safety manager who won't hesitate to fire a cop's ass when he assaults and harasses innocent people.  The sooner we rid the force of these psychopaths, the safer we'll all be.

Bob Smith
Bob Smith

Note: This comment refers to the "Strategic . . ." study, not to the press release which was posted later.

Let's see - DPD, supported by a consultant, evaluates DPD and concludes we need more cops. Surprise, surprise. Who decided which consultant to hire? Want to bet it was DPD?

According to their analysis (if I understand the obfuscatory bureaucratic babble), we could solve the City's budget shortage just by hiring tons more cops. Of course, you'd have to lower the expected rate of return by the amounts we'd have to pay out to the victims of cop misconduct.

How much time and money did we spend on this? Wouldn't we have gotten a better "ROI" by spending that money on more cops on the beat? Or just by getting the big boys' butts out of the chairs and back to actual policing?

The whole thing seems like a prime example of governmental waste to me.

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Strong take, J. Brian -- one worthy of being chosen Comment of the Day. Congrats, and thanks for weighing in.


As a Denver citizen and one who is out nightly protecting and serving (even you), my suggestion to you cop bashers is prepare for what you ask. The next criminal contact possibly with you or god forbid your loved ones, may be with one of the criminal element that would have been contacted and arrested had the officers felt that their protective action not result in biased discipline. Good luck to you.

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Strong take, Dpd -- so strong, in fact, that we're going to make it an upcoming Comment of the Day. Congrats, and thanks for weighing in.

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