Report: Denver isn’t making safety and security of city buildings a priority

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DENVER (KDVR) — A comprehensive audit of Denver’s safety practices found the city needs a strategy to address safety risks at its buildings and facilities.

The 75-page report recommends updating certain policies, creating a more secure badge system for employees to enter city buildings and implementing a more centralized system for uniform safety protocol.

“What’s more important than the safety and security of the most important asset in the City and County of Denver? That’s the people that work there,” said Denver’s Auditor Tim O’Brien. 

O’Brien has been working in his elected role for five years, but this is the first audit the city has had focused on safety and security of its buildings.

“It exposed, you know, a vulnerability for the city that needs to be addressed,” O’Brien said, acknowledging the city already has the wheels turning to implement his recommendations. He says it’s not going to be an easy job.

The report points out each city agency seems to follow its own safety protocol, and recommends putting one lead agency in charge of this issue. It also mentions the badge system employees use to access buildings and facilities could be updated with more security, instead of giving every employee broad access.

“Plenty of ways to make sure that the right people have access to the right buildings at the right points in time, and we’re not taking advantage of the technology available,” O’Brien said.

Denver contracts security guards through HSS Inc. to screen visitors to certain facilities like the City and County Building. O’Brien says there should be a way to evaluate their performance written into their contract.

“What they do and what they’re supposed to do in the contract don’t always line up,” O’Brien said.

A spokesperson for Denver’s Department of General Services says its employees are “committed to next steps and working with our partners to make meaningful change,” when it comes to safety. 

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