Denver PD chief discusses downtown security ahead of planned protests

Local News

DENVER (KDVR) — The Denver Police Department says it is aware of two demonstrations planned near the state Capitol within the next week. FOX31 is hearing about an increase in a demand for information on how to keep businesses safe in downtown Denver as the area prepares for protests. 

Organizers say they want to voice their opinions regarding the recent presidential election and inauguration. 

At buildings and businesses near the Capitol, there are signs there could be trouble as the inauguration nears. 

On Wednesday, DPD Chief Paul Pazen spoke to businesses in a safety and security virtual town hall.  

“We are coordinating with Colorado State Patrol and with other law enforcement to analyze and identify any threats. Right now, we have no specific threat,” Pazen said.

Many businesses, like the 16th Street Mall restaurant West of Surrender, have been preparing just in case. 

“We’ve talked about it on an ongoing basis. We let our staff know if they see something or hear something, let us know,” said Gary Mantelli, who owns West of Surrender. 

Requests for security guards and information on how to protect buildings and people have been pouring into Able Shepherd, a self-defense company in Centennial. 

“We’ve got businesses calling us now saying, ‘We don’t have an emergency operations procedure.’ Every business needs that,” Able Shepherd Owner Jimmy Graham said.

Instructors say all employees play a role should there be trouble, and an emergency plan needs to be in place.  

“What happens if we must leave this building? If you don’t know where to go, that’s your fault,” said Graham. 

During the riots this past summer, many businesses in the popular tourist destination boarded up their windows. Some businesses have not removed those boards.

At West of Surrender, word more protests could be coming is making business during a pandemic that much worse. 

Mantelli said, “It seems like it’s been one thing after another. We look at it and say, ‘It’s one more thing that we are going to need to get through this.’ And we will.”

The saloon and kitchen that banks on serving customers a good time says its main goal is to keep employees and customers safe. West of Surrender has no plans on giving up in what has been a tough year.  

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