DPD union calls use-of-force committee a joke; only officer left resigns

Posted at 6:57 PM, Aug 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-14 20:59:55-04

DENVER -- The last rank-and-file police officer on DPD's use-of-force advisory committee has resigned, calling the group "dysfunctional" with infighting and no clear direction.

"It's another example of failed leadership," said Denver Police Detective and Treasurer of the police union, Tyson Worrell.

Worrell was one of several officers invited to participate in the committee that had been tasked with helping write the new use-of-force policy. However, they have all left the committee.

"This does not reflect the type of policy all Denver citizens expect from the police," Worrell wrote in his resignation letter to Chief Robert White. "Furthermore, it puts officers at risk in the performance of their duties. Therefore, I cannot continue to participate nor does the draft reflect any of the input I have provided."

Chief White created the committee in response to public criticism after a revised use-of-force policy was announced without any community input.

"Would it be fair to call this use-of-force committee a complete failure?" asked Denver7 reporter Jennifer Kovaleski.

"Yes," responded Worrell. "It was an afterthought; it was put together in response to pressure on the chief."

"There was a lot of political motivation being demonstrated at the meetings," he said. "There was some name calling; there was some pretty outlandish ideas."

Worrell said he went into the meetings with an open mind but found the discussions one sided or coming from community members who had limited knowledge on use-of-force. 

"Citizens of Denver who get up and go to work every day, when they're a victim of a crime, they deserve better than what's coming out of this committee," said Worrell.

Denver Police Chief Robert White provided Denver7 the following statement:

I strongly believe that updating the Use of Force policy is in the best interest of both the community and the Denver Police Department, and feel it’s important that the PPA provide input. I’m disappointed that they have withdrawn from participating in this ongoing process.

Chief White said he believes the committee has been productive, despite the concerns raised by the union, and will continue moving forward with making recommendations in October.

White was unable to provide examples of how he believes the committee has been productive.