Letters: "We rely on the sham system of oversight that John Hickenlooper instituted"

"The Watcher," Joel Warner, May 19

Policing the Police

At the mayoral forum on police accountability, none of the eight candidates endorsed independent investigation of citizens' complaints against police. This would only require that a minority of investigative positions within the Denver Police Department's Internal Affairs Bureau be transferred to an independent agency (since most complaints against police officers are lodged by other officers). Instead, we rely on the sham system of oversight that John Hickenlooper instituted: a "Citizen Oversight Board" that has no authority over the imposition of discipline and consists of the mayor's friends, and an "Independent Monitor," who also has no authority over the imposition of discipline and serves at the mayor's pleasure.

Why won't Denver's pols even consider a system of independent investigation of police misconduct that has worked in San Francisco for thirty years?

Robert Dickinson Chase

Denver

As a reporter, isn't your job to get both sides of the story? In "The Watcher," the president of the Police Protective Association mentions information that has yet to be released regarding the controversial "beating" of Michael DeHerrera. Why has that information not been made public? Why hasn't the media chased that story? Because it is not politically correct to do so? Where are the facts of this case, and where are all the legitimate reporters?

Danyelle Harris

Littleton

Every time I hear someone or a cop say, "There are bad guys out there who kill cops," it makes me think that basic human psychologies suggest that if you approach a person with aggression, you will receive one of two general responses: flight or fight. While I agree there are scum out there who will shoot at cops, this excuse does not mean it applies in every situation, nor does it give the cop a right to shoot first or beat up on a person for a minor offense. Cops here act like the United States is the only place on earth that has criminals who shoot cops. Other countries have the same problem and manage to actually reduce crime by using common sense, knowledge of the law, basic psychology and a little human touch (a smile) to win over most suspects in the course of doing their job.

In general, I support the police — but when I read about these kinds of abuses of responsibility, it makes me think of defending myself from the police the moment they approach me, too, since they are the ones who seem to have forgotten their basic reason for joining the police service: to keep the peace.

Ed Ward

Posted at westword.com

It is real easy to blame the police and the sheriff's deputies for all the problems — but Rosenthal couldn't do their job, and he has no clue about the type of people they deal with. I think that you should think about this.

Name withheld on request

Editor's note: For many more comments on the Denver Police Department's most controversial cases, go to westword.com.

"Coming Out to America," Melanie Asmar, May 5

Make Room

I am almost seventy years old, and I still don't understand why gay is so scary to a lot of people. Isn't it more important that you love someone and don't want to cause them pain than what the sex of that person is? Plus, as I heard a comedienne say, why not have gays marry? They should be able to be as miserable in marriage as many heterosexual marriages are. It isn't a joking matter, but don't we have economic chaos, floods, tornadoes, etc., to worry about?

I think people put way too much importance on the sex part and not enough on the everyday-living-with-another-person part. To every heterosexual married couple: How would you like your whole life with your partner whittled down to sex alone? Demeaning, isn't it?

MaryAnn Shaver

Dallas, Texas

 
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