Watchdog report details discipline cases of officers, deputies

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A deputy asked an inmate if he would kill someone for her, according to the 2023 annual report from Denver’s Office of the Independent Monitor.

DENVER — The watchdog group that oversees discipline matters for Denver’s police and sheriff’s departments released its 2023 annual report and shared some investigations that the public may not have known before. 

Denver’s Office of The Independent Monitor (OIM) outlined some of the discipline cases, including a Denver deputy who asked an inmate if he would kill someone for her and an officer who tried to get his daughter-in-law out of a parking ticket.

According to the report, a deputy resigned before the end of the disciplinary process after she asked an inmate if he would kill someone for her. The deputy told a sgt., the report says, that the father of her children was terminally ill and that she had asked an inmate about hiring someone to kill him. 

In another case, a Denver police officer used his department email to send a note to a right-of-way enforcement agent to try to cancel a parking ticket issued to his daughter-in-law. The officer resigned. 

Two other Denver police officers appealed their suspensions after the report says they lied about pursuing a car before a deadly crash. According to the report, two officers chased after a car at more than 60 miles per hour, despite a DPD police policy that required them to stop any attempt to follow a car. The driver lost control, crashed into a tree and later died at the hospital. The report says the officers told a sgt. they did not pursue the car before it crashed. 

A different officer resigned before the end of the disciplinary process after a sgt. said he made inappropriate comments about shootings involving cops. The report said the officer had already been involved in officer-involved shootings with a handgun and a rifle and “wanted to have a kill” with a shotgun too.

Within the Denver Police Department, OIM said 11 officers retired or resigned in 2023 before a disciplinary finding. That is slightly higher than the numbers from 2020 through 2022. The most common forms of discipline are written and formal reprimands.

For the Denver Sheriff’s Department, the most common forms of discipline in 2023 were suspensions, written reprimands and notices of improvement. There were 29 suspensions in 2023 which is down from 39 in 2020.

The report also highlights commendations and awards to officers and deputies whose actions rose above the expected standards. 

A Commendatory Action Report was given to 192 Denver police officers. One officer received this award after a woman called the non-emergency line about her 60-year-old friend who was alone and unable to meet their basic needs. Within an hour the officer called the friend and conducted a welfare check. The friend was transported to a medical facility.

“The woman noted that she was impressed by the quick response and the fact that the officer took the time to ensure that her friend was safe,” the report said.

A deputy received a community service award for volunteering for the Christmas Crusade and making sure every family received gifts during the holiday season as a volunteer for the holiday event.

In future reports, independent monitor Lisabeth Pérez Castle plans to include more information about ongoing evaluations of policy, training and the handling of misconduct complaints.

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Watchdog report details discipline cases of officers, deputies

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