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Community task force recommendations would transform the way police respond to protests

denver police tear gas george floyd protests
Posted at 6:22 PM, May 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-24 20:28:12-04

DENVER -- The Task Force to Reimagine Policing and Public Safety worked for one year to create recommendations and hand them to them to city officials. A series of recommendations could transform the city’s approach to public safety, especially after last year’s protests in Denver after the death of George Floyd.

After the protests, conversations began on how to transform policing.

Associate professor of psychology for the University of Denver, Dr. Apryl Alexander, says one of the task force’s recommendations could have a big impact on how law enforcement responds to protests and riots in the future.

"The use of those less lethal weapons during the protests last year were very concerning with people, especially when individuals were targeted with those less lethal weapons who were peacefully protesting," said Alexander.

MORE | Here are 112 ways the Denver Police Department can improve, according to community members

The task force is calling for DPD to prohibit the use of its gang unit and all militarized responses as well as receiving assistance from surrounding municipalities, if there is no documented proof that those people coming in have not been trained in Denver policies.

"For us it was important that that particular recommendation on mutual aid be there for accountability purposes," said co-chair for the Colorado Latino Forum, Xochitl Gaytan.

This recommendation also requires every officer to be identifiable and the Denver Police Department would have to log the name and post of every officer as well as assuming liability for everyone assisting.

For Gaytan, who took part in a rally outside Denver’s City Council building and contributed to the task force’s recommendations, these are reasonable suggestions.

"Our hope is that city council will take them as a whole and take a look at in a very holistic view and not pick them apart," said Gaytan.

Whether this or any of the 112 recommendations are adopted by the city is still too early to tell, but for many in the community, changes are needed now.

"I’m glad that they’re taking time to look through their recommendations, examine what is feasible and also think about next tangible steps that we can make in order to create a system of public safety," said Alexander.

Mayor Hancock says he will take the next couple days to review the recommendations.

DPD told Denver7 they couldn’t comment since they were also still reviewing but did say similar recommendations were included in the Office of the Independent Monitor’s report, many which they agreed with.