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Denver's Reimagine Policing Task Force to suggest changes to city's public safety model

Robert Davis_Denver's Reimagining Policing Task Force
Posted at 11:44 AM, Feb 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-23 19:54:31-05

DENVER — Denver's Reimagine Policing and Public Safety Task Force explained its progress that the group has completed over the past few months since it was first created.

The task force is working on developing a new public safety model that minimizes police officer and citizen interactions and empowers communities to take control of their own public safety.

“We brought together a wide variety of voices, some who were on the abolitionist side of policing and others who were on the reform side,” said Task Force Project Coordinator Dr. Robert Davis.

Davis said the group has come up with a list of more than 100 recommendations for the city and they are working on finalizing the list now.

“The type of recommendations we’re looking at would transfer a lot of the responsibilities that are currently in the hands of police officers to community organizations and community service providers so that law enforcement is not overburdened trying to handle public health issues, homelessness issues, addiction issues, and mental health issues,” Davis said.

As various community groups discuss ways to limit law enforcement's interactions with citizens, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock recently announced Denver police officers would no longer be the first to respond to homeless encampment cleanups.

In a statement to Denver7, the mayor’s office said, "following the successful implementation of our co-responder program and the STAR program to enhance service delivery, the mayor has directed that police officers not be the first to respond to routine calls about encampments. Those calls will be routed through 311."

Davis said the task force supports this change.

“Police officers are not trained on how to clean up sites, not trained on how to provide social services for individuals who are unhoused. So, this is something that we talked about a lot and we discussed how we get people in place that know how to perform and provide these services,” he said.

Davis said the task force will formally present other suggestions for limiting citizen and officer interactions next month.