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Denver police union president says Chief Robert White should be fired

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DENVER -- The president of the Denver Police Protective Association said Tuesday that Mayor Michael Hancock should fire Chief Robert White.

A survey of about 45 percent of the officers in the union found more than 90 percent do not have confidence in the leader of the Denver Police Department.

Union president Nick Rogers said recent incidents have eroded the public's confidence in the police department, including a car accident involving White that "may have involved conduct prohibited by Denver police policies."

He said details of the accident are being withheld from public scrutiny.

The union has made "diligent efforts over the past year to improve the performance and reputation of the police department, and the relationship between the rank-and-file officers and the police administration," Rogers said.

The survey found the relationship between the rank-and-file officers and the administration of the Denver Police Department is "at an all-time low," Rogers said.

The union represents about 1,300 officers. Rogers said of the 582 officers who participated in the survey, 94 percent said they don't have confidence in White leading the department.

It's the first time the union has issued a no-confidence vote in a Denver police chief.

"The PPA believes the vote reflects a perception by the rank-and-file officers of the Denver Police Department that there exists a lack of transparency within the police administration and a double standard applied to conduct of high-ranking members of the police administraton," Rogers said.

When asked if Mayor Michael Hancock should fire White, Rogers said, "I believe so."

"It says that we were forced to do something we've never undertook before because we believe the citizens deserve a better police department, a better administration," Rogers said. "The citizens deserve better leadership of our department."

White said it's his "responsibility to make the right, and sometimes controversial decisions for the betterment of our department and city."

I highly respect the men and women of the Denver Police Department. I am now and have always been committed to doing what is best for the community and the Denver Police Department. Having been a Chief of Police for 20 years, I understand that being Chief can come with scrutiny from those who may disagree with decisions being made or fully understand all aspects of the position.

DPD is a great police department, but we must always find ways to be better as an agency.  During my time in Denver, we have focused on improving our policies and culture, and these changes have been met with resistance by some. However, it is my responsibility to make the right, and sometimes controversial, decisions for the betterment of our department and city.  I am steadfast in my beliefs of service before self and will continue to do what is best for the residents of Denver.

Hancock indicated he has no plans to make any changes.

After six years of the same message from the union, I am not surprised by the PPA’s opposition to Chief White’s efforts to change the Denver Police Department’s long-held culture, but continue to believe it’s the right move for Denver. I can tell you that when I speak to our officers, I hear a much different story than the one spun by the PPA today. I continue to hold great confidence in Chief White and our police officers to protect the health and safety of our people.