‘Common sense solutions dropped on their lap’: Recommendations for new community policing in Denver

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DENVER (KDVR) — It’s been almost a year since protests broke out throughout Denver after the tragic death of George Floyd. A task force was formed after the riots, to reimagine how public safety can work in Denver to prevent more unnecessary harm.

In May and June of 2020, protesters took to the streets to fight police brutality and support the Black Lives Matter movement. Denver was not excluded from the demands for change. Nationwide cities got to work to find a new future for policing and public safety.

“Cities like Ithaca, New York have really begun to think about how public safety and policing should look in their communities,” said Dr. Robert Davis, project coordinator for the task force. “I cannot imagine a city as progressive as Denver would not jump on board with trying to figure out common sense reasonable solutions.”

Now, the task force has its ideas all on paper. On Friday, the group revealed five strategies and 112 recommendations in a report finalized by a diverse group of members, organizations, and nonprofits from across the city. The task force will deliver its recommendations to Denver City Council, the Department of Safety, and the Hancock Administration.

“They got reasonable, common sense solutions dropped on their lap by the community,” said Davis.

On Sunday, task force members broke down the highlights of the report and a price tag for their vision, they say will not cost Colorado taxpayers any extra money.

“When we use the word defund, it’s not necessarily that we want to take away the materials, supplies, weapons, and tools the police department may need, but rather take a percentage of what they get from the city budget into other departments, such as the department of human services,” said Xochitl Gayton with the task force.

“If we can put money and strength and power into a war, we should be able to have our city council change a few things in their charter to be able to present and push on these recommendations.”

But the task force has a long road ahead. Denver’s Department of Safety, abruptly left the task force in January, frustrated with their lack of control in the process.

“I believe what ended up happening was, law enforcement wanted to control the narrative, control the direction of task force,” said Davis.

However on Sunday, the safety department told FOX31 they do appreciate the finalized report and need time to review and process the recommendations, leaving the task force hopeful its work will move forward with gradual changes.

“I believe the voice of the community is so clear it’s going to be difficult for any city entity to just back and say we are not going to do it,” said Davis.

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