Same As It Ever Was

Three years after the Denver Police Department promised to change its off-duty policies, tending bars still pays off.

Metzler says that the idea is to reduce the risks placed on off-duty officers, even though it's rare that the city ends up paying legal bills in cases such as the one involving Clarry and Chavez. The last big payout before Truax was a 1994 settlement of $400,000, paid to a motorist who was shot and wounded by an off-duty officer during a traffic altercation. But it's apparently still a sticking point for politicians like Councilman Ed Thomas.

"Eddie Thomas is a liar," Metzler says bluntly. "There's no insurance company that a cop can buy off-duty liability insurance from. And if there is, he didn't tell us about it. In fact, Eddie ran [security for] the People's Fair and the Cherry Creek Arts Festival for years, and he didn't give a shit about cops paying for their own liability insurance then, did he? Now he's a politician, so he figures a suggestion like that will get some ink."

Thomas declined to comment for this article.
But Kennedy, who's been through his share of off-duty scrapes with politicians and the department, thinks the liability issue is minor. He says the department shouldn't overhaul a good program just because of political pressure.

"But as sure as the sun is going to come up tomorrow," says Kennedy, "somebody is going to be giving somebody else shit about off-duty work. In any other profession, if you work extra hours you're looked at as being industrious and hardworking. Not policemen.

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