Last week, administrators of the city's 911 system revealed that federal, state and local dignitaries -- like the governor, the mayor and others -- have been receiving "a more robust Denver police response than the public," according to theDenver Post
. The new policy went into effect in December, less than two months after Mayor Michael Hancock's office complained about having to wait 35 minutes (or roughly one-third as long as it takes an average person to sit around at the DMV waiting for a registration renewal) for an officer to respond to a break-in call on Halloween. The dispatcher in that case was, of course, fired.
While it has been reported that the case wasn't an emergency, city spokeswoman Amber Miller says that wasn't necessarily the case: "The 911 call was made to report someone who ran out of a closed office area when an employee was entering it," she writes. "The 911 dispatcher did not categorize the call appropriately and therefore, police were not notified to respond to a live situation."
Furthermore, she adds that "the safety policy wasn't created or amended in response to the 911 call that was made by an employee in the Mayor's Office." Eventually, it was determined that no crime had occurred, the city adds.
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Nevertheless, the policy change is particularly ironic in light of the circumstances surrounding the recent death of Kristine Kirk, an Observatory Park mother of three who was shot in the head about thirteen minutes after dialing 911 to report that her husband was acting erratically, that he was threatening violence and had a gun in the house. Kirk stayed on the phone, talking with the dispatcher -- until she was shot dead while still on the phone.
But we've learned that elected officials are much more important than the rest of us -- which is why we've compiled this top five list of other situations in which the mayor, the governor and other dignitaries should be able to step to the front of the line:
Number 6: Marijuana Under Colorado's new marijuana laws, residents over the age of 21 can buy one ounce of pot at a time from a licensed dealer and also grow up to six plants in their homes. Citizens can also smoke pot in their homes, but not in public. Dignitaries, on the other hand, should be allowed to buy two ounces at a time and grow twelve plants. They should also be allowed to smoke it in public, during city, county and state functions, and at Broncos games. Number 5: Dogs Your best friend can be a bit of a nuisance to others, which is why Denver charges $80 if an officer catches you with your dog off its leash. A second leash-law violation is $150, and a third will set you back $300. Pit bulls, meanwhile, are entirely illegal to own within Denver city limits, whether the pet is on a leash or not. And although our elected officials made those rules, they shouldn't have to abide by them. Dignitaries should be allowed to own up to three pit bulls, none of which should be required to be leashed. In addition, VIPs shouldn't have to clean up after their pooches when they poop in the parks. Continue to keep counting down the top six ways Denver VIPs should be treated better than the rest of us. Number 4: Taxis/Uber Denver has always been one of the worst cities when it comes time to find a cab. Hailing one is nearly impossible, and calling one is a hit-or-miss proposition -- sometimes resulting in longer wait times than 911. Uber changed that last year, though, giving people the ability to find a ride easily and quickly. Our elected officials are still questioning whether Uber should be able to operate, however, and we'll have to abide by their infinite wisdom. But that doesn't mean that dignitaries should have to do the same. The best solution would be to forbid Uber from servicing the general public, leaving all of its cars for important people. Number 3: Wash Park After considering the issue for weeks, the city finally decided against banning beer in Washington Park, a measure proposed in response to complaints about too many drunken activities in the high-use open space. If the issue comes up again, however, the city should make an exception for dignitaries, who should be allowed to continue to booze it up at VIP-only volleyball games. In addition, they should be allowed to drink regular-strength beer and wine in all Denver parks; current laws only allow the public to consume beer that is 3.2 percent alcohol by weight, or less. Continue to keep counting down the top six ways Denver VIPs should be treated better than the rest of us. Number 2: Street Sweeping Spring is here, and that means it's time to move your car on street-sweeping days -- if you can remember when those are. Forget, and you'll find a pretty yellow ticket stuck in your door or windshield. But dignitaries already have a lot to think about -- so why should they be burned with this? The Denver Department of Public Works should abstain from issuing tickets to VIPs and should instead wash their cars on street-sweeping day. Number 1: Fireworks/Bobbleheads Dignitaries shouldn't have to keep circling the airport while they wait for a loved one to arrive (right, Chief White?). They should get to drive in bus lanes during rush hour, light fireworks in the city, have campfires in restricted fire areas, buy automatic weapons that hold more than fifteen rounds, and ride their bicycles on sidewalks. And finally, dignitaries should be given Rockies bobbleheads whenever they go to a baseball game, even if they are not one of the first 15,000 fans to enter the stadium.
More from our Lists and Weirdness archive: "Photos: Top nine reasons other than pot to visit Colorado according to CN Traveler."