DENVER — When Denver Police cut off access to police radios two years ago, the police chief pledged transparency about crimes and other events through the department’s social media team.
But just this weekend, the department was hours late alerting the public about both a shooting and a hit-and-run that seriously injured a pedestrian. They’re the latest in a string of recent incidents where Denver Police took hours before tweeting about the incident, only informing the public and journalists long after scenes have cleared.
On Sunday night, DPD tweeted at 9:18 about a hit and run crash that seriously injured a pedestrian near Colfax and Vine. The crash happened around 8 p.m., and once a 9NEWS crew arrived, the scene was cleared.
Earlier that evening, around 8 p.m., was the department's first tweet about a shooting that occurred six hours earlier.
A spokesman for the Denver Police Department told 9NEWS a new employee on the department's communications team was left off an e-mail distribution list about current incidents, prompting the delays this weekend.
But earlier in the week, Denver Police were nearly four hours behind tweeting about a hit-and-run crash that seriously injured someone on a scooter near Colfax and Broadway. When asked about this delay Monday, a spokesman told 9NEWS the original reporting parties thought the scooter was the only vehicle involved in the crash, and it took hours to determine the injured party had been hit by a car.
That same day, Denver Police also delayed another tweet about a scooter rider who was injured in a crash near First Avenue and Acoma Street. The department said someone has to be seriously injured for the department to meet its threshold to notify the public via tweet.
That threshold came into play on Monday morning after a crash at Evans Avenue and Monroe Street, near the University Park neighborhood.
Amanda Roberts was driving by with her husband on Monday morning when traffic started to crawl. Then they saw a man in the road.
“A gentleman who was laying--he was face down on the pavement, motionless,” Roberts said. “I didn’t know if he was alive or dead. He appeared to have blood coming out of his head onto the pavement.”
Roberts rushed home to check Twitter to see what the Denver Police Department wrote about the crash.
But the department never tweeted.
Hours later, a Denver Police spokeswoman told 9NEWS since the pedestrian’s injuries didn’t appear to be serious, the crash didn’t meet the threshold to notify the public.
“It doesn’t get very more serious than a man lying face down on the pavement,” Roberts said.
“It’s not really a judgement call," she said. "The thing happened. Let’s find out information about it and get the facts so we can prevent it in the future.”
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