Denver voters to decide whether to make Office of the Independent Monitor permanent

Groups say move will increase community trust
Posted at 11:02 PM, Aug 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-16 01:05:18-04

DENVER-- City Council voted unanimously on Monday to pass a bill that will allow voters to decide whether to make the Office of Independent Monitor (OIM) a permanent part of the city.

The OIM is currently in place by a city ordinance which means council or the mayor could chose to get rid of it or no longer fund the office.

"This office is the only independent entity that the community has to rely on that is involved in those types of investigations of uniformed misconduct," said Alex Landau with Denver Justice Project, the group behind the push.

If voters approve the measure this November, the OIM would be added to the city charter and a citizen vote would be required to eliminate the office. 

The OIM is charged with reviewing cases of excessive force and investigating allegations of police, deputy and fire department misconduct.

The Denver Justice Project held a rally on the steps on the city and county building Monday to demand police accountability and urge the council to vote to ensure independent oversight.

"We are working to transform patterns and practices in the culture of law enforcement," said Landau.

Councilman Paul Lopez sponsored the bill which he said will help take the OIM to the next level.

"I think it creates a good-faith effort to establish trust between the community and law enforcement," said Lopez. "I think as a city we can take a step ahead of everybody else and do this."

"It's not going to be a magic wand that fixes all the problems with lack of police accountability in this city and county but it's certainly a precursor to it," said Elisabeth Epps with the Denver Justice Project.

Independent Monitor Nick Mitchell told Denver7 he supports the change. His office has played a critical role in reforming the troubled sheriff's department as well as investigating allegations of police misconduct. 


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