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Michael Hancock picks the right setting for today's State of the City speech

Mayor Michael Hancock will deliver his State of the City address at 10 a.m. today, a year after he took office. The setting for the speech, City Park, was chosen over a month ago, but it symbolizes two of the major (and overlapping) challenges he'll face over the next three years:

Increased gang activity in the city, and cleaning up the Denver Police Department -- or at least wiping out the perception that the DPD needs cleaning up.

Hancock, a popular Denver City Council member, emerged from a crowded pack in spring 2011 to win the Mayor's office; one of his primary campaign promises involved shaking up the DPD, which had come under fire after several controversial cases of police brutality. And shake it up he did, by persuading Alex Martinez to leave the Colorado Supreme Court to become the city's manager of safety, an office that oversees the police department (and police discipline) and then hiring Robert White as Denver's new chief of police.

But the entire city was shaken on June 24, when Officer Celena Hollis was shot to death while trying to break up a fight at a City Park jazz concert. That popular series has come to symbolize just how much parts of the inner-city have come back -- but the fact that accused killer Rollin Oliver reportedly has gang ties shows that Denver still has a way to go.

This morning, Hancock will outline how he'll deliver "a world-class city were everyone matters," the unwieldy slogan he's adopted for his administration. And he couldn't have picked a better place to do it.

On July 1, the city held a ceremony for its fallen officer at City Park. Get details at "Photos: Celena Hollis vigil brings hundreds to City Park Jazz."


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