Denver Police Chief Robert White announced this week that there will be major changes coming about for the department. It’s all in an effort to “flatten” the department, increase accountability, and even improve public safety. According to the Denver Post, the changes are being welcome with open arms by everyone.
White made his announcement at a city council meeting this past week, saying the “reorganization will absolutely, unequivocally put us in a position to be more efficient, more effective, more responsive to the citizens in our community.”
He plans on eliminating the rank of division chief entirely and replacing two deputy chiefs. He is also planning reassignments for commanders within the city’s six districts and wants to increase the number of commanders from 7 to 11. Finally, he hopes to increase the number of available patrol officers by 70, both by rearranging and by adding new cops to the ranks.
He plans on reassigning some cops that are currently in specialized units, like the gang unit, and hiring civilians to do some jobs that are currently being performed by police officers, freeing up more for patrol.
White says the new plans will save the department money, over time. He plans on beginning the rearranging at the end of this month and following that with up to 30 new officers on the streets.
In addition to all of the restructuring, White wants to get the community involved, creating a selection board to help choose the new district commanders. He asked each City Council member to submit the name of one member of their community to serve on the board. The assembled board will choose 12 candidates from the applicant pool for district commanders, from which White will choose the 6 new commanders.
City Council members applaud the Chief for this effort at getting the community involved. White said, “I sincerely believe, wherever it is possible, the decisions we make we should have some involvement with the community.”
Community involvement can build trust and a mutual respect between the department and the people it serves.
Many of the top cops interviewed by the Post were highly supportive of the restructuring, calling it exciting and a “fresh perspective.” Such shake-ups can provide dramatically positive changes to a department that may have gone stale.
An efficient and effective police department is crucial to a safe and secure community. If the cops aren’t a part of an effective department, the consequences will be apparent in their relations with the people of the city. One can hope these changes will bring about positive change in Denver.
If you are accused of a crime, however, these changes won’t necessarily mean anything good for you. More cops on patrol means a greater likelihood that you’ll be caught when you break the law.