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Denver Police Department: Time it takes to disclipline problem officers "too long and... getting longer," says Office of the Independent Monitor

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Today brings the release of the 2009 report by the Office of the Independent Monitor, which is tasked with keeping a watchful eye on the Denver Police Department and Sheriff's Department to "provide for fair and objective oversight... and ensure public confidence in the ability of these departments to police themselves."

For the most part, the report -- which can be read in its entirety by clicking here -- is positive. The office "was able to achieve or make significant progress towards the implementation" of its assorted 2009 goals, it states. But there was at least one significant exception. According to the report, "The Police Department is currently headed in the wrong direction with regard to timeliness in the imposition of discipline. The amount of time it takes for the Police Department to impose discipline remains too long and seems to be getting longer."

Look below to see that section of the document, complete with a graphic tracking discipline imposed against DPD officers over the past three years:

Police Department Monitoring

In 2009, the Denver Police Department received or initiated 1,099 complaints of which 622 were citizen-initiated. The total number of complaints in 2009 increased slightly from the 1,027 complaints received in 2008.

As in prior years, Discourtesy (20.6%), improper procedure (17.8%), and unnecessary and inappropriate force (21.1%) were the three most common allegations involved in citizen/internal complaints.

Figure 1 depicts year-to-year comparisons of substantial discipline imposed by the Police Department over the past three years. This chart includes counts of officers who resigned or retired while serious allegations were pending but prior to the making of a disciplinary decision.

The Police Department is currently headed in the wrong direction with regard to timeliness in the imposition of discipline. The amount of time it takes for the Police Department to impose discipline remains too long and seems to be getting longer. Improvements can be made in the timeliness of command reviews, DRB scheduling, Chief Hearing scheduling, and reviews conducted by the Manager of Safety.

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