Denver voters could be asked to end mayor’s ability to hire, fire city’s police watchdog – Denver, Colorado

Denver, Colorado 2021-08-05 08:00:51 –

Denver voters in November may have the opportunity to further empower the city’s law enforcement authorities and remove it from the mayor’s office.

The two bills that go through the city council process will not change the day-to-day operations of the independent surveillance agency, but will better isolate the office from conflicts of interest, one of the bills, councilor Jamie Torres. Said. sponser.

“Independence really has to mean the independence of this office,” Torres said.

The Independent Surveillance Authority oversees all disciplinary investigations in Denver’s police and sheriff departments and makes policy recommendations to the departments. The office is also investigating certain notable cases, such as police response to the 2020 George Floyd protest in downtown Denver.

The bill pair passed one of the first hurdles on Wednesday when the City Council’s Safety, Housing, Education and Homeless Commission approved them with a 6-0 vote. If Congress as a whole approves the bills, they will be placed on the local government ballot on November 2.

The proposed changes are:

  • Hire an independent monitor from the mayor to the Volunteer Citizens Oversight Committee and reassign the authority to dismiss. The mayor now appoints an independent monitor and has the right to fire on that position, just as he has power over the leaders of public security agencies overseen by the monitor.
  • Give independent monitors the ability to hire outside lawyers rather than relying solely on the city’s law firm. This can cause conflicts of interest in discrepancies between offices and other city departments.
  • Reclassify most office staff as Career Services employees. This provides more protection than ambitious staff. Independent monitors become voluntary employees under the Citizens Oversight Committee.

The proposal has been endorsed by several groups working on police reform, including ACLU in Colorado and Together Colorado, Torres said.

“From a community perspective, this increases transparency and accountability in Denver’s public security and law enforcement,” Janina Horton, Executive Director of the Denver Judiciary Project, said at a committee meeting Wednesday.

Mayor Michael Hancock “is not generally against the proposal at this time,” spokesman Mike Strott said in an email Wednesday.

The bill is not the first time the city council has attempted to remove the appointment of a monitor independent of the mayor’s authority. The ongoing tendency of councilors to impose checks on the authority of government agencies..

Councilor Candy Kudebaka Proposed in August The city council should appoint a monitor as part of a larger measure to replace the Denver police with an unarmed Peace Corps, but that measure was rejected.

Denver voters could be asked to end mayor’s ability to hire, fire city’s police watchdog Source link Denver voters could be asked to end mayor’s ability to hire, fire city’s police watchdog

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