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EXCLUSIVE: Denver Police faces challenge staffing 16th Street Mall officer beat

City promised to more than triple number of cops
Posted: 9:25 PM, Jul 28, 2016
Updated: 2016-07-29 01:29:35-04

DENVER -- One month ago the city promised to more than triple the number of officers on the 16th Street Mall, but Denver7 has uncovered it's a challenge to get enough officers willing to pick up that shift. 

Denver Police Chief Robert White said he would commit 16 officers to the "Walk the Beat" program. Officers can voluntarily sign up for the overtime shift but documents show that's not happening.

"There are still challenges there and we're aggressively working on those," said Chief White.

Denver7 obtained internal police documents showing a vast majority of the time, there are not enough officers signing up to work those shifts. Chief White confirms officers are being pulled from other parts of the city to work the mall but explains he is backfilling shifts when that happens.

"If I'm using an officer that's assigned to other than District 6 to work the 16th Street Mall, we backfill it with another officer that's assigned to that district, so in other words that district is not going void," said Chief White.

On June 27, six officers worked Walk the Beat, on June 28 there were 11 officers and the next day 10. Administrative staff said the chief issued a mandate to fill the mall shifts on July 1. That same staff member confirms 15 to 16 officers worked Walk the Beat during July 1 through July 4.

Police officials could not provide additional staffing numbers because they were reviewing all data.

"Well, you know, I'm challenged right now, given the litany of details that we have, the demonstrations that we've been having on a regular basis, the other details that go on," said Chief White.

Councilman Kevin Flynn has consistently pushed to hire more officers. He said cops are also expressing concerns about staffing.

"We literally need more bodies to fill out all of the slots that are on there," said Flynn.

Denver Police Protective Association President, Nick Rogers, said in a statement, "It has been clear for many years we have a true shortage of officers on the street."

As the summer comes to an end, police will reevaluate their efforts of the 16th Street Mall.

"I've made it clear filling those slots on the mall barring mitigating circumstances is an absolute priority," said Chief White.

Denver7 will continue to follow this story and provide any updated data from police.

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