Denver police prepared, positioned nearby during protests

DENVER -- Hundreds of Denver police officers were positioned in a two-block radius near Civic Center Park during Saturday’s immigration rally.

The rally was peaceful and no arrests were reported, but the Denver Police Department was prepared.

“We certainly have more officers for these types of events,” spokesman John White said. “We place them in positions where they can respond quickly if there’s a need to, but we would really prefer to have a hands-off approach. We don’t want to get involved unless we need to get involved.”

White added that incidents such as a citizen in danger of being injured or property being damaged would require police involvement.

The increased number of rallies and protests in recent months has the police department prepared.

“There is a lot of coordination with the groups that are sponsoring the event, and obviously a lot of coordination that goes on within the department which many people may not be aware of,” White said.

“Our SWAT team has to interact with our traffic group, the traffic group has to know how to set up the traffic routes, how to best provide a safe environment for those citizens who wish to exercise their First Amendment rights.”

Officers were seen circling Civic Center Park during the rally. Most of the law enforcement personnel were not at the park, but close by.

“I personally think they’re finally taking a sensible approach, a wait-and-see thing,” Albert Suesser said while sitting on a bench at Civic Center Park. “Make sure there is something to react to, instead of just reacting.”