Department of Justice begins review of Commerce City police with community feedback sessions

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. -- The U.S. Department of Justice wants to hear from the community in Commerce City about its police department. This is part of a federal review that comes after recent controversies with officers facing criminal charges.

Residents made comments to the Department of Justice's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services public meeting at Stuart Middle School on Tuesday night.

The review will look at every aspect of the Commerce City Police Department, including their recruitment and hiring processes, disciplinary practices, department policies and culture.

The city asked for the Department of Justice's Collaborative Reform Initiative for Technical Assistance for its police department in July.

The goal of the public sessions is to elicit feedback from the community on how the department can improve trust and build relationships within the community.

"Some departments may not be willing to take the risk of having the federal government, the Department of Justice just to come in and review them," said Noble Wray, a member of the Department of Justice's office of COPS.

"It leaves a city and a department in a vulnerable position as somebody comes in to look at what you're doing right in some instances and wrong in some instances."

The review comes after recent black marks on the department.

One officer was charged for inappropriately touching women in his custody, while another shot himself after initially claiming he was shot by a suspect.

The Department of Justice said the review will be a lengthy process, with initial feedback to the department coming in six to eight months and the full review lasting nearly two years.

It is also important for the community to be involved in the process.

"We need citizen involvement because they are the ones that help hold the department accountable," Wray said.

The Department of Justice will host another community feedback session from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Adams City High School.