Michael Hancock's State of the City speech: Police reform and e-Denver
A year after taking office, Mayor Michael Hancock delivered his first State of the City address this morning, promoting a range of priorities, including restructuring the police department, increasing programs for children and a new online initiative he is calling "e-Denver." That's right, Denver is getting modern, y'all!
"What lies before us is an opportunity to reshape what it means to be a 21st century city," said Hancock at the start of his speech inside the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. "In short, a smart city."
The address this morning was an opportunity for Hancock to brag about some of his achievements over the last twelve months and also unveil several new initiatives that give us a glimpse of what his administration's stated priorities will be over the next three years.
Sam Levin Mayor Michael Hancock, behind City Council President Chris Nevitt, arrives for State of the City address.
As we noted earlier, the location of the event today at City Park -- where Denver Police Officer Celena Hollis was shot and killed -- was appropriate given that he has focused efforts on addressing a rise in gang violence. In his speech, he didn't explicitly mention gangs today -- and he has previously avoided doing so directly in relation to the Hollis case. But he did allude to concerns about violence.
"We cannot and will not allow the actions of a few to intimidate the citizens of this great city, to keep us from enjoying our parks and our public events, to tarnish our image as a world-class city. We will not surrender to violence," Hancock said, before paying tribute to Hollis, whose family was in attendance.
Also on the topic of law enforcement, Hancock discussed his efforts to restructure the police department -- the topic of our most recent cover story.
"We are changing the culture at the Denver Police Department," he said. "By moving police officers out of the office and into neighborhoods, [Police] Chief [Robert] White is working to get more than 60 percent of our officers back into our districts. Such moves will make the best use of DPD's resources by assuring that our highly trained personnel improve safety by building relationships within our communities and understanding their needs."
Another announcement involved the creation of "e-Denver," an online initiative that he says will provide easy, 24-hour access to city services.
"If you need to get a permit or license, you'll be able to do that online. If you need to pay your taxes, you'll be able to do that online, too," the mayor said, sounding a bit like an infomercial. "Want to see how the city is spending your money? Check it out online. E-Denver saves you time, it saves the city money, and it's simply smart business."
Page down to see more photos from the event and excerpts from the mayor's speech.