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Gerald Whitman: If Denver Police chief goes, next mayor shouldn't ignore DPD candidates

Here's your chief's hat, what's your hurry? With many of the mayoral candidates saying that Denver Police Chief Gerald Whitman should go -- and Whitman himself saying he would resign if asked -- some people, including the author of today's Denver Post editorial, are calling for the next mayor to go outside the city to pick the next top cop. But sometimes an outsider is not the answer.

Witness the resignation of Catheen Black from her spot as head of New York City's public schools after just 95 days.

If the new mayor wants to take a look for candidates outside of Denver, that's fine. But it would be foolish to overlook qualified candidates inside the Denver Police Department -- people who know the city, know the system and, most important, know what's broken in that system, and what works.

Among the internal names being floated as possible replacements for Whitman is Division Chief Tracie Keesee, who has a national reputation for the work she's done locally. Jared Jacang Maher reported on her efforts to determine whether racism played a role in cop shootings in the 2008 feature article " Target Practice;" soon after that story was published, Keesee was elevated to division chief, in charge of research, training and technology.

And Keesee is just one of the impressive officers in the Denver Police Department worth the new mayor's consideration.

In the meantime, current Mayor Bill Vidal is continuing to move quickly to clean up the DPD's past messes, most recently eliminating the Discipline Review Board that had become redundant after then-Mayor John Hickenlooper introduced the Independent Monitor and the Citizen Oversight Board, but still added months to the final decisions in discipline cases. New Manager of Safety Charles Garcia has already fired the two officers involved in the Michael DeHerrera beating, but he still has more controversial cases on his plate, including the death of Marvin Booker.

More from our Calhoun: Wake-Up Call archive: "Carla Madison: With city councilwoman's death, Denver is a little less colorful."


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