Robert White is a business-as-usual police chief, letter from Denver cops charges

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"Where is the change?" asks a letter outlining a series of disappointing, business-as-usual moves by new Denver Police Chief Robert White.

It was signed by "Men and Women of the Denver Police Department" and sent yesterday to Mayor Michael Hancock's office, which was scrambling last night to find a copy.

"As members of the Denver Police Department we agree that changes need to be made within the department," the letter begins. "We are looking forward to a department that is transparent, practices accountability, and is fair. We are hopeful that Chief White will be able to deliver upon the promises he made to the citizens and the officers.... Unfortunately, what we are observing is the farthest from change. In fact, what we are seeing is 'business as usual.'"

From there, the letter outlines a series of incidents that its author or authors see as a sign that the real changes needed at the DPD will not be made by White, who moved to Denver from Louisville last month to take the job that Chief Gerry Whitman had held for eleven years. And then it concludes with this: "Mr. Mayor, we feel that we were ready for Chief White to come in here and be effective. Although he talks a big game his actions are telling us that this [is] Whitman part two. Anybody can re-arrange some titles and move the same people around to different positions. Change is in the heart and mind of every Denver Police Officer who was looking at a new brand of leadership not business as usual."

Even before that letter landed at City Hall (and at the DPD, and at numerous media outlets), Westword writers were scheduled for a Friday meeting with Alex Martinez, the former Colorado Supreme Court justice who's now Denver's Manager of Safety. As part of his duties, he oversees the DPD (as well as the Denver Fire Department and the Denver sheriff).

We already had a list of topics we'd like to discuss with Martinez, ranging from Occupy Denver to the Alex Landau case; we've added some of the allegations in this letter to that list. But we'd also like your suggestions: What should we ask Denver's Manager of Safety?

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