Denver’s director of public safety stepping down

Local News

DENVER (KDVR) — The director of public safety for the City of Denver is leaving his position come January 2022.

Murphy Robinson moved into the director role in January 2020 and held it through a challenging two years during COVID-19 and riots.

“I have not approached this decision lightly. Serving as the Director of Public Safety has been one of the greatest honors of my life,” Robinson said. “I have been planning a departure for some time and wanted to give my successor enough time in the life of the administration to make their mark and contribute in a meaningful way — just as I have been fortunate to do. I could not be more grateful to have worked alongside such incredible public servants. I am proud of all that we have accomplished together, and I am confident that I am leaving the Department in good hands.”

Robinson has held several other positions for the City of Denver, including deputy mayor twice designated by Hancock for 2019 and 2021.

“In the four years since he first joined my administration, Murphy has proven to be not only an outstanding public servant, but also a true asset to our city and our residents,” Hancock said. “He is a rising leader who never shied away from a challenge and approached problem-solving with a true innovative and collaborative spirit. While I will miss his partnership and leadership, our community has benefited greatly from his time here. Whatever endeavors he takes on in the future, I know he will bring the same level of dedication he brought to the city.”

A nominee to replace Robinson is expected to be announced in the next few days.

The chair of Denver’s Citizen Oversight Board, Julia Richman, said she learned the news of Robinson’s departure via Twitter.

“Murphy has undertaken what he has promised to be an aggressive agenda for change in the public safety departments none of which has yet been realized,” Richman said. “There’s a lot of work ahead that his departure creates risks of impacting.”

Richman said with Robinson’s departure, the board hopes that the City of Denver will have enough executive leadership beneath Robinson to continue the reform work they started with him.

“It does create risks to the promises the department has made,” she said, referencing Robinson’s efforts to create a Transformation Office, aimed at reimagining public safety in the city. The effort came after the city received 112 recommendations on ways to improve various aspects of the public safety department, including issues related to oversight and transparency.

Richman said she suspects the efforts at the Transformation Office may “stall out.”

She also expressed concerns about efforts to publish and track complaints against commissioned officers within the city.

“We have been asking them to do that for years. We are really hoping that that comes to fruition,” she said, explaining that the promise was to implement the practice by January 2022. “That timeline is at risk.”

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