DPD chief reorganizes, wants more officers on street

11:14 PM, Feb 28, 2012   |    comments
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The changes could also save taxpayers money, and will allow the public to help choose the Denver Police Department's new leaders.

As police chief in Louisville, Ky., Denver Police Chief Robert White says nearly 80 percent of his sworn officers were working the streets. His goal for Denver Police is 70 percent. Currently, 48 percent of DPD's 1,445 officers are on patrol.

White says that means too many cops are doing jobs a cop doesn't need to do.

"We need to ask ourselves, are we asking police officers to do jobs that civilians can do?" White said.

In one example, White says a civilian employee may be called to a minor accident to fill out the report, instead of a sworn police officer.

That means instead of graduating more cops from the academy, the department may be looking to hire more civilians in the future.

White says he estimates it costs the department 20 percent less for a civilian to do the same job a sworn officer is doing.

"If you look at the long run, it certainly has potential of saving money," White said.

White says he wants the public and the council to be involved in choosing its police force leadership.

"I am proposing that we have an open process for the six different areas of command," White told the Denver City Council.

As part of White's reorganization, instead of four division chiefs, the department now has two deputy chiefs.

Under their command, there will be six division commanders, and that's where the public comes in.

Denver Police Chief Robert White is asking each city councilor to pick one person from their district to be on a selection committee. Along with the two deputy chiefs, they will pick the next six division commanders.

The current six division commanders with DPD will have to reapply for their jobs. Any officer with a rank of lieutenant or above can apply.

The committee will choose 12 qualified applicants, but White and Denver Manager of Safety Alex Martinez will then select the final six.

The changes comes as the city is trying to grow public confidence in a department shaken by numerous high-profile excessive-force cases.

Although, the entire reorganization process will take about a year and a half, a decision on the new six district commanders will likely be made by the committee by the end of March.

(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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