Nine police chiefs in metro Denver have left the profession – Aurora, Colorado

Aurora, Colorado 2022-08-04 08:00:13 –

Nine police chiefs, representing 63 cumulative years of service leading police departments in the greater Denver area, left their jobs last year alone.

The reasons range from retirements to resignations to layoffs, covering communities large and small, from Aurora and Lakewood to Golden and Morrison.

But experts say there is no doubt about the recent upheaval and scrutiny surrounding policing in the wake of the 2020 police killing of George Floyd. provoked sustained social justice protests Around the world, they are a big part of the picture.

“I think the risk is higher,” said Louisville Police Chief David Hayes, who also heads the Colorado Police Chiefs Association. “I think there’s more pressure on the chief than there used to be. It’s been a tough few years in law enforcement.”

At the same time, he said some of the recent backlash against police tactics had expired and in many ways served as a “wake-up call” for an agency that had lost touch with the public it served.

“We have to stay engaged with the community, but we don’t have all the answers,” Hayes said. “We’re trying to adapt to this new standard, but we’re not quite sure what the new standard is.”

The turnover rate for police chiefs in metropolitan areas has increased, particularly in large cities, against the backdrop of accelerating turnover at the top levels of law enforcement nationwide, according to several people interviewed for this article. said more than usual. last October, CNN reports that 39 metropolitan police chiefs Influenced cities such as Boston, Dallas, Miami and Detroit.

Vail Police Chief Dwight Henninger said: “The sheer numbers across the country are startling and alarming.

Henninger, now president of the International Association of Police Chiefs, said the resignation of chiefs across metropolitan areas, including Bloomfield, Westminster, Inglewood, Brighton and Commerce City, after August 2021 would be disruptive to communities. said that it could lead to

“Communities need chiefs who build trust and have a relationship with the city, and that relationship takes time,” says Henninger. “Culture change takes time”

Helen H. Richardson, Denver Post

Commerce City Police Chief Clint Nichols addresses the media to discuss the ongoing deaths of five people in an apartment complex in the North Range Crossings apartment complex at 14480 E. 104th Ave., Commerce City, February 20, 2022 To do.

“Crime goes through the roof”

The year-long resignation of chiefs across the metro area began in Inglewood last August. That’s when Chief John Collins retired after his 10 years in the department, where he served 43 years. That continued until last month, when Commerce City chief Clint Nichols resigned under pressure and Brighton chief Paul Sutherd announced he would step down in the fall after six years.

Mr Southard, who has worked for Brighton Police Station for 34 years, said he sees no dramatic breaking point other than realizing he’s 61 and not getting any younger.

“It’s time to move on from this,” he said in an interview. “It’s hard work.”

Former Lakewood Police Chief Dan McCuskey I quit at the end of June.It also held the top spot for Colorado’s fifth-largest city for six years. The turmoil of the past few years — both the COVID-19 pandemic and hostility to police — helped propel him to the exit.

McCasky, 60 and a 36-year police officer, said: “You’re really in a pressure cooker and it’s been like nothing you’ve ever seen, especially the last two years. A lot of public trust has been lost.”

He said that before Floyd’s murder in May 2020, the Lakewood Police Department was losing an average of two officers a month. Since then, that number has jumped to his 3 or his 4 in his 282 officer corps. Some of McCuskie’s young officers were frustrated that they were all “smeared with the same broad brush” after bad behavior by police officers thousands of miles away.

“This profession is not as desirable as it once was,” said McCuskey.

Dan McCuskey, retired Lakewood Police Chief...

AAron Ontiveroz, Denver Post

Retired Lakewood Police Chief Dan McCaskey poses for a portrait at his home in Arvada on Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2022. McCaskey spent his 38 years in law enforcement, and his last six years were as Police Chief of Lakewood.

Bill Kilpatrick said the social unrest and police reform efforts over the past two years have not ousted him from his position at the top of the Golden Police Department. At Golden he spent 33 years, and before that at Inglewood he spent 10 years as a cop, then at age 70, “it’s just about time I go.”

Among the Denver Subway’s major retirees last year, Kilpatrick had the longest tenure at 20 years.he retired in March.

“After the death of George Floyd, a new lens was put on police forces across the country and in Colorado,” Kilpatrick said. “Indeed, someone was looking at you who had never seen you before.”

And as a state legislator Passes bipartisan police reform bill in June 2020 After weeks of protests, the former mayor heard concerns from officials about a provision in the bill that would end exemptions. This means that the victim or her family members can sue police officers in their individual capacity for constitutional violations, and those officers can be held personally liable.

Kilpatrick said it caused stress among the public and two officers left the unit because of the new law. Even if police officers felt they were acting in good faith or in self-defense, they would not remain in possession of the bag when pressure was put on the city following sideways exchanges on the street. I thought.

“Will you support my use of force, Captain?” said Kilpatrick. “Will the mayor support my use of force?”

The former chief said he would tell his subordinates, “If you’re doing the right thing for the right reasons, you’ll have my support.”

Golden Chief Bill Kilpatrick...

denver post file

Then-Gold Police Chief Bill Kilpatrick pictured in 2013

Morale of Aurora officers was ‘not good’ when Dan Oates was recalled Lead a police department in Colorado’s third largest city in April. Oates, who since 2005 has been Aurora’s police chief for nearly a decade, was appointed interim chief. After Chief Vanessa Wilson was fired The mayor said he had lost faith in her leadership and management of the 700 officers.

After five years as police chief in Miami Beach, he reappeared with the Aurora Police Department after a turbulent period for the department last year. Consent Decree Signed with Colorado Attorney General’s Office Change policies on the use of force, employment and training.

A year-long investigation by the Attorney General found that Aurora’s police officers’ racially biased crackdowns and excessive use of force patterns routinely violate state and federal lawsInvestigations show that officers in the department persistently arrested and injured blacks and other people of color at a higher rate than white residents.

Two days after the consent decree was issued, Aurora agreed Paying Elijah McClain’s Parents $15 Million Settle a civil rights lawsuit they filed against the city in the wake of the 2019 death of a 23-year-old black man following a violent arrest. has become a hot spot for Some of those protests turned violent.

Interim Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates...

Hyunchan, Denver Post

Interim Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates pictured at Aurora Police Headquarters on Tuesday, May 31, 2022.

Oates, who was chief of staff in Ann Arbor, Michigan in the early 2000s after serving as a New York City police officer for 20 years, says crime levels in Aurora City are higher today than they were when he left New York City eight years ago. said to be significantly higher. A decade or so ago there were about 20 murders a year, but Aurora said he will be tracking 60 murders from 55 by 2022.

“Crime is through the roof,” Oates said.

in the meantime, Violent crime soars in Colorado Similarly during the pandemic, the state’s homicide rate soared to a 25-year high in 2020 after 293 deaths, averaging more than five deaths each week.

Auto thefts and aggravated assaults, including shootings and stabbings, are also on the rise across the state, according to the report. Analysis conducted by the Denver Post Earlier this year.

Aside from the rise in crime, Oates said the rise of social media had made the chief’s job even more difficult, and said he was “almost entirely negative” when it came to police evaluations.

“You can have a platform with 300 subscribers and they will drive the elected officials’ discussion agenda for police services,” he said. “It creates tremendous pressure.”

Chris Richardson, Associate Director of Criminal...

Rachel Ellis, Denver Post

Chris Richardson, Associate Director of Criminal Justice Services (left) and Chase Lindquist, EMT, board the STAR van on Thursday, September 3, 2020, and respond to an emergency call on Thursday, September 3, 2020 . To respond to calls that do not threaten public safety.

Focus on Root Causes

Taylor Pendergrass, director of advocacy for ACLU Colorado, said the state’s crime landscape is complex and not all crimes are on the rise. Colorado’s homicide, aggravated assault, and auto theft rates rose in 2020, while rape, theft, burglary, and burglary rates remained relatively flat or declined, according to an analysis by the Washington Post.

Also, the state’s violent crime rate in 2020 was the highest since 1995, but lower than between 1985 and 1995.

Pendergrass intends a new generation of police chiefs to simply fill prisons, given the underlying chronic social problems such as a lack of affordable housing, low wages and addiction. Said it’s not wise to…of criminal activity.

“The worst-case scenario is someone walks in and says the arrests need to be doubled or tripled,” he said. must be assigned.”

Nine police chiefs in metro Denver have left the profession Source link Nine police chiefs in metro Denver have left the profession

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