Independent Monitor finalists talk immigration, independence, racial profiling

Categories: News

nicholas mitchell.jpg
Nicholas Mitchell.
Today, Mayor Michael Hancock will interview the last three candidates for Denver's open Independent Monitor position -- again. In the second round of a search that has lasted six months, finalists Kenneth Moore, Nicholas Mitchell and Gary Maas all share connections to Colorado. Last night, they answered questions from the public at Escuela Tlatelolco, where their opinions on the future of the role occasionallly differed as much as the patterns on their ties.

Prior to his current position as the associate director for the Colorado Department of Corrections, Maas worked as the police chief in Littleton and Sioux City, Iowa. Attorney Nicholas Mitchell's past experience includes time as an investigator for New York City's Civilian Complaint Review Board, where he took part in more than 300 investigations alleging police misconduct. For more than two decades, Kenneth Moore has worked for the El Paso County Sheriff's Office. To read more about their extensive backgrounds, visit our original coverage.

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Nicholas Mitchell, Kenneth Moore and Gary Maas.
Topics from this group's one and only community forum included racial profiling, comprehensive immigration reform and Occupy Denver's infamous honking case. But early discussions centered on the relationship between Manager of Safety Alex Martinez and the upcoming independent monitor -- specifically, what that relationship should be.

While Maas told his audience he'd like to see an impartial relationship, Moore said he "wouldn't have any problem reporting to the Manager of Safety. At least today, I found him to be a prudent, intelligent man." Mitchell echoed former Independent Monitor Richard Rosenthal's sentiments when he took the opposite stance, referring to the ordinance that created the position. "I think it's entirely critical that the monitor remain independent and report only to the mayor and the people," Mitchell said.

Mitchell, whose family features both police officers and a federal agent, advocated a monitor who is "extraordinarily proactive. The next independent monitor needs doing early prevention, identifying problems before they hit the newspapers."

Page down to read more about the Independent Monitor forum.

Location Info


La Escuela Tlatelolco

2949 Federal Blvd., Denver, CO

Category: General

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RobertChase topcommenter

Although the panel addressed neither of the two questions I submitted and barely touched on issues I consider of paramount importance, I was able to speak to Nicholas Mitchell afterwards, and while harboring no illusions about the ability of the Monitor to spur the changes needed in DPD, I consider that he is the best choice among the candidates.  Mr. Mitchell endorsed the idea of amending the City Charter to establish an independent agency to investigate (at least some) allegations of police misconduct -- his prior experience was working for New York's Civilian Complaint Review Board which shares responsibility with NYPD's IAB for the investigation of police misconduct there.


With any respect due the two other candidates, they both have been career cops; there simply is no way that they will be perceived to be exercising the utter objectivity expected of the Independent Monitor were they in no way prejudiced by the fact that they have been police officers for much of their adult lives, which seems impossible.  Gary Maas, now Associate Director of the Colorado Department of Corrections, attempted to deflect such criticism by claiming opposition from police unions, suggesting that he has been tough on misbehaving subordinates and is caught in the middle.  Kenneth Moore was a functionary in the CSPD for 22 years.  Both these men spent most of their careers working in law enforcement during the period in which it aggrandized for more power, more take from confiscated property, and more prisoners -- I do not want as Monitor anyone who has made a career of enforcing unjust laws carrying draconian penalties, and the latter two candidates' sense of justice would seem to be dictated by what the laws and their superiors say, as opposed to arising from an innate sense of the rights of individuals.


Mr. Chase,

I respectfully disagree with your comments.  Unfortunately, you are unable to form an educated opinion in regards to what is required to work as a police officer and especially as a member of a police department's leadership team.  You have insulted every ethical police officer by referring to them as criminals.  Your accusations are not only offensive but also truly ignorant.  These police officers put their lives on the line each and every single day so that you can walk safely in your own neighborhood.  They are the army protecting you locally while our military serves abroad for the same.  You enjoy your freedom to write your Westword commentary because of the work performed by the individuals that you slandered in your commentary.  In fact, Mr. Maas has protected the community through localized efforts on the streets by working hand-in-hand with the citizens.  Mr. Maas did this through community policing efforts in both cities where he was a chief.  He also terminated the employment and brought criminal police officers to prosecution.  Mr. Maas’ ethics and professionalism had him fighting against the offenders, thugs and corrupt police officers.  He is the only candidate that is qualified to monitor the Denver Police and Sheriff’s Department because he has a record and a fearsome reputation for handling these “bullies in blue.”  Did you ever stop to think that a good cop might hate bad cops even more than you appear to hate all cops? 


Mr. Mitchell is nothing more that a slick attorney that has spent his entire life protected by a desk in an air-conditioned office.  If you think that a pencil-pushing lawyer is going to fight for you when the times get tough, he might, but it will cost you.  Police officers and Mr. Maas fight for you everyday without asking for a cent from your pocket or a “thank you” in return.  How wonderful of you, Mr. Chase, to show your appreciation by “profiling” the police like you have in your commentary. 


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