“On behalf of everyone in Denver, I want to thank Chief White for his dedication to our city and his distinguished service over these past six years,” Mayor Hancock said in a statement. “Through his great work, he has firmly established a legacy of building strong community relationships and a police department better equipped and prepared to keep our neighborhoods and residents safe, and I wish the Chief all the best in his much-deserved retirement.”
Hancock listed as White's accomplishments reorganizing the department's management structure, heightening safety in downtown, modernizing officer training, rewriting the department's use-of-force policy, bolstering safety for police, expanding services to vulnerable citizens and building trust with the community.
But the last few weeks have been rocky for the chief. In early April, Hancock announced that he would not discipline White over two internal-affairs investigations into events that took place in 2016 and 2017 that involved an open-records request and a situation involving a police officer and Deputy Chief Matt Murray in which Murray arrested Angiella Arnot and police officer David Munk for unwanted sex with a second woman.
"In the end, [then-Denver District Attorney Mitch] Morrissey didn't charge either party, and he suggested in his communications with White that Arnot never should have been busted in the first place — and that he felt she'd only been busted because of Murray's efforts," our Michael Roberts wrote.
Hancock essentially slapped White on the wrist for his handling of both situations.
Keep reading for White's letter:
There are so many reasons to love this city: the weather and natural beauty, the diversity and rich culture of Denver neighborhoods, the pioneering spirit, and so much more – they are just some of the reasons why we call Denver home. These great attributes and the opportunity to shape the future of the Denver Police Department are what brought me to this great city back in 2011.
And after six years of leading the dedicated men and women of the Denver Police Department, and as I near the 46-year milestone in my law enforcement career, I am announcing my retirement. A specific retirement date has not been set at this point as I intend to continue leading this great Department and assist with the transition to my successor, once selected my Mayor Michael B. Hancock.
I am retiring with a profound sense of pride for the advancements we’ve made as a Department over the past several years and am optimistic that the Department will continue to evolve with the changing needs of this community. During my tenure as Denver’s Chief of Police, I implemented changes with the overarching goals of: improving relationships and dialogue between the Department and community with the fundamental goal of preventing crime; modernizing police operations and policies; improving officer and community safety; and restructuring the organization to help achieve those goals.
Some specific accomplishments we achieved were the launching of a body-worn camera program, updating the Department’s use-of-force policy and modernizing our recruiting and training programs to help ensure our officers have the skills and experience necessary to effectively and safely fight crime and help to keep you safe.
Success in implementing changes and progressing forward requires a team effort, and the Denver Police Department team rose to the challenge and delivered. I am confident that this Department will continue to thrive because the agency is loaded with talented officers, civilian employees and leaders dedicated to serving and protecting this great city.
I want to thank you, the Denver community, for your support, partnership and for embracing me and my family and welcoming us so many years ago – we will continue to call Denver home. I also want to thank Mayor Hancock for his support and for giving me the opportunity to lead this exceptional police department, which has been an honor.
Robert C. White
Chief of Police – Denver Police Department