DENVER (KDVR) — A Denver police union says rising crime rates in the Mile High City are driven by anti-police policies and attitudes among citizens.
The FOX31 Data Desk found Colorado set a record for violent crime last year, with murders up more than 8% and aggravated assaults up 9%. The police department has struggled with retention and recruitment, which the union says makes it harder to keep streets safe.
Tyson Worrell is the vice president of the Denver Police Protection Association representing Denver Police Department officers. He called out state and local officials in a new Fox News interview in response to Denver’s recent rise in crime.
Officers ‘shot at, ran over by cars’
“We’ve had several police officers that have been shot at, ran over by cars,” Worrell told FOX News in an interview, published online Friday.
Worrell said this is the reality for the men and women who wear the badge in Denver and across the nation, as law enforcement has been the recent target of lawlessness.
“We’ve made the checks and balances not so balanced anymore,” which he said has led to weariness among potential recruits. He said people are retiring early or just aren’t interesting in serving on the force.
He also said the district attorney and other state officials must do a better job in holding people accountable.
“We go out and arrest somebody and put them in jail and there’s no bond,” he added, which he said emboldens criminal behavior.
He said part of the problem is anti-police rhetoric and the social justice movement, which calls for defunding police.
“Our numbers have gone down through the changes, through the defund movement, through the social justice movement,” he said.
Call for reform ‘does not lend itself to lawlessness’
This movement is something Denver native Quincy Shannon knows a lot about.
“To think about this idea that there is a need for reform, that there was a call for reform, and that social justice is happening in our community, does not lend itself to lawlessness,” Shannon said.
He’s led several protests and has participated in a litany of community events, forums and discussions surrounding changes in policing.
“There are changes that still need to be made,” Shannon said. “And if we are able to work hand-in-hand, side-by-side, there are opportunities for us to make the experience for those coming after us, better than the experience has been for us or those who preceded us.
DA’s office responds
Worrell said, “We need the DAs to prosecute more rigorously, absolutely, we also need judges to put bonds on people.”
In response, a Denver District Attorney’s Office spokesperson said: “I can confirm that we are also in court every day arguing for appropriate bonds to ensure people who present a danger are in custody. Ultimately, it is the judge who determines bond.”