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Denver City Council considers changes for Office of the Independent Monitor

Police in Denver
Posted at 6:42 AM, Jul 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-15 08:42:31-04

DENVER — This week, Denver’s City Council continued to review 112 recommendations on how to improve policing in the city.

A citizens-led task force published the recommendations in May. The recommendations included changes to the Office of the Independent Monitor, the civilian agency that oversees investigations into police misconduct.

“We want to ensure that the Office of the Independent Monitor is truly independent,” said task force leader Robert Davis.

The Office of the Independent Monitor has been without a permanent leader for the past six months.

Davis said task force members are concerned that the position has not been filled.

“That is very concerning — that such a vital and such an important office that the community has reinforced over and over through various charter changes and votes has been vacant for so long,” Davis said.

To prevent further gaps in leadership, Davis said the task force is suggesting city council members appoint the director of the Office of the Independent Monitor instead of the mayor.

“One of the challenges of the independent monitor is that they are appointed by the mayor. The sheriff is also appointed by the mayor. The chief of police is appointed by the mayor, as well as the director of safety,” Davis said. “The investigator is appointed by the same person that appoints everyone who they are investigating.”

Davis said they also want to expand the office's power.

“We want to ensure that the independent monitor has full subpoena power to be able to have access to all of the investigative documents and materials that they need without having to rely on the sheriff’s department or police department for that info,” Davis said.

Davis said another recommendation includes giving the office more power to discipline officers found guilty of misconduct.

“The third thing that we want is for the independent monitor to have a little more authority as it relates to the discipline of officer rather than just being a recommending body,” Davis said.

Davis said as city council continues to review the task force recommendations, the Citizen Oversight Board has hired a search firm to find the next leader of the Office of the Independent Monitor.