CONTACT: Richard Rosenthal
THE INDEPENDENT MONITOR ANNOUNCES THE RELEASE OF THE MONITOR’S FIRST ANNUAL REPORT
The Office of the Independent Monitor (OIM) released its first annual report Wednesday to the public. The report presents details regarding the complaint handling and disciplinary processes for the Denver Police and Sheriff Departments for 2005 and updates on the ongoing initiatives made by the Independent Monitor’s Office since it began operations on August 1, 2005.
The OIM is responsible for (1) monitoring and participating in investigations of sworn police and sheriff personnel; (2) making recommendations to the Manager of Safety, Chief of Police and Director of Corrections regarding case findings and discipline; and (3) making policy recommendations regarding how the Departments operate.
The report identifies the status of several initiatives pursued by the Monitor when the OIM program was begun:
• The OIM has contracted the Los Angeles-based Police Assessment Resource Center (PARC) to conduct a review of Police Department deadly force policies and to review officer-involved shooting investigations from 1999 through 2004 (that are not pending possible litigation). The audit will evaluate the quality of the Denver Police Department’s (DPD) investigation and review processes as well as the quality of deadly force training and tactics. This report is expected to be published in the last quarter of 2006.
• The OIM worked with the Police and Sheriff Departments to enact new policies regarding complaint handling. These new policies allow for OIM participation and review of all internal administrative and critical incident investigations and allow the departments to streamline their complaint handling processes in order to improve timeliness and stakeholder satisfaction.
• The OIM created a new community-police mediation program in November to which 13 complaints have already been referred, with four having been completed in 2005. In mediation, a complainant can speak with the involved officer in a confidential, neutral setting with the facilitation of a professional mediator contracted by OIM.
• The OIM reviewed and made recommendations regarding the administrative review of two DPD officer-involved shootings, one DPD use-of-force resulting in hospitalization, three DPD animal shootings and three Denver Sheriff Department (DSD) in-custody deaths. The OIM was also involved in monitoring three in-custody death investigations regarding one suicide, one homicide and one drug overdose of inmates in the custody and care of the Sheriff’s Department.
• The OIM reviewed the handling of all Internal Affairs complaints made after August 1, 2005 and made recommendations regarding the handling of many of the complaint investigations.
• A survey of citizen complainants for the last three years and all DPD sworn personnel was distributed during the week of November 7, 2005. Survey results will be reported on when the analysis is complete.
• The OIM received access to the administrative investigation databases of both the DPD and DSD, in order to better monitor all ongoing complaint investigations.
• The OIM worked with the DPD to create a process by which tort claims alleging police misconduct receive managerial review by the OIM and the IAB Commander.
The annual report consists of 10 chapters:
• Chapter 1 is an overview of the OIM program, its goals and its achievements over the past year.
• Chapter 2 provides details regarding the types of complaints received by the DPD and DSD, the processes by which complaint investigations are handled and reviewed, and descriptions of complaints made against DPD and DSD sworn personnel.
• Chapter 3 provides details regarding findings made by DPD and DSD management regarding allegations of employee misconduct and the type of discipline imposed by the Departments during the 2005 calendar year.
• Chapter 4 discusses the DPD’s Early Intervention System, issues relating to the management of police officer use-of-force and identifies patterns in citizen complaints.
• Chapter 5 provides details regarding critical incidents that took place in 2005 (officer-involved shootings, in-custody deaths and uses of force resulting in hospitalization). New processes and protocols for the investigation and review of these critical incidents are discussed.
• Chapter 6 discusses the Monitor’s new community-police mediation program. Four mediations were conducted in 2005. By the end of the year, nine additional complaints had been referred to the mediation program.
• Chapter 7 provides detail into commendations and awards made by the DPD and DSD for excellent and heroic service provided by members of those Departments.
• Chapter 8 discusses OIM outreach efforts to community members as well as police officers and sheriff deputies.
• Chapter 9 discusses timeliness concerns regarding the handling of complaint investigations. Details are provided regarding all complaint investigations that are more than one year old.
• Chapter 10 provides detail into OIM-initiated surveys of citizen complainants and DPD sworn officers.
“The OIM Annual Report provides a level of transparency into the disciplinary processes of the Denver Police and Sheriff Departments that has never existed before,” said Independent Monitor Richard Rosenthal. “I am proud to provide the Mayor, the City Council, members of the public and employees of the Police and Sheriff’s Departments the type of information they need to evaluate how well Denver’s public safety agencies are conducting the essential task of policing themselves.”
The OIM’s Annual Report, and its executive summary, can be accessed online at www.denvergov.org/oim. The executive summary is also available online in Spanish.