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Sheriff Department Top-to-Bottom Reform Overview

The top-to-bottom review of the Denver Sheriff Department has delivered thoughtful recommendations for reform. To ensure the process was comprehensive, input was gathered from independent consultants, law enforcement experts and engaged community members. The following are the reports the recommendations came from, as well as progress reports on where the reform effort stands now.

Recommendation Progress Reports

PRIORITIZATION CATEGORY

TOPIC

RECOMMENDATIONS

PLANNED COMPLETION

DATE

Culture

Community Engagement

Create a new task force as a way of providing transparency, and for soliciting input on projects that will have a significant impact on the jail population and broader community. Give careful thought as to who will lead the task force, consider using an outside facilitator to keep the community collaboration processes moving forward in a progressive manner and ensure that the task force consists of community members from diverse backgrounds, as well as DSD deputies.

Hold an annual community forum that brings together community members and DSD deputies so they can learn from each other. Invite the public to give input after significant incidents occur to provide recommendations for improvement.

Continue positive steps in improving DSD’s communications with the media and the public. Focus on proactive messaging, rather than waiting to respond to problems as they occur or are made public.

Create a web page that includes relevant reports, data, statistics and other documents about the Department. Determine what kind of data DSD has the capability of publishing, keeping in mind DSD’s challenges with collecting reliable data. Survey the community on what kind of information they would be interested in getting, and then decide what should be published.

Continue to use volunteers from the community to assist with the development and implementation of programs. Partner with community and advocacy organizations to generate funding opportunities for specialized training and services specific to inmate populations.

 

7/31/2017

 

 

 

OIM Involvement

Add powers and duties of the OIM and into the City Charter and involve OIM in DSD reforms, policy developments, and training curricula initiatives impacting accountability, force and deputy performance. The OIM should be entrusted with the responsibility to audit and publicly report on the Department's compliance with those recommendations from this report.

PAST DUE

PRIORITIZATION CATEGORY

TOPIC

RECOMMENDATIONS

PLANNED COMPLETION

DATE

Accountability

 

 

Data/Technology

Department orders should be updated to explain processes for data collection and analysis, facilitating department-wide coordination and assign clear responsibilities for various aspects of data management. DSD should develop a coordinated approach for collecting and documenting performance statistics that will be included in the Mayor’s Budget Book, which includes a quality control process to accuracy of data.  The Department should expand its assessments to begin data analysis on intake data to determine its impact other practices in the City, such as expansion of DPD’s authorized strength and DSD’s jail operations.

Improve data collection and accuracy, periodically publish data on workforce diversity, produce training video on data entry and Require employees to be trained and held accountable for data collection and accuracy, create response network of technicians and super users to support IT needs, ensure new computer systems allow for verification and quality checks to ensure data is accurate, ensure data integrity at each entry point, along with quality control mechanisms.

Continue to use Oracle Business Intelligence technology to provide actionable information for decision makers, streamline IT systems, which currently operate in silos, study feasibility of having electronic health records, replace the jail management system, develop a five year IT strategic plan, supported by an annual tactical plan that outlines the actions required to achieve goals.

Create an IT committee to review purchases, ensuring they developed in line with the strategic plan, create an IT management oversight committee for selecting, using, monitoring and managing vendors, create a committee with community members, DSD employees and a representative of the City Attorney’s Office focused on information transparency.

 

6/30/2018

 

 

 

Policy Management

Determine how and when policies and procedures will be introduced and explained to DSD employees, develop a process by which critical policies are identified and reviewed to ensure staff understand and comply with them , review post orders on a annual basis with designated personnel, organize department orders and facility policies in such a way that they are easily accessible to employees, consider using a document management system for policy, such as PowerDMS, implement a process in which deputies must sign off that have received and read new orders, establish a single, ensure that policy and policy changes are reviewed during in-service training.

Ensure DSD has an understanding of the legal landscape regarding inmate confinement, and ensure policy complies, create manuals and policies to provide up to date direction based on DSD’s mission, develop partnership with City Attorney to draft policies and ensure compliance with Hillard Heintze report.

Incorporate information in the Emergency Response Unit Manual into departmental orders, require an annual risk assessment of the emergency plans.

 

3/31/2017

 

Grievances

Develop guidelines on grievance handling, including clear instructions that all grievances containing allegations that fall within IAB’s jurisdiction are to be sent to IAB, develop a centralized electronic database in which all inmate grievances are recorded, and grant the OIM live, contemporaneous access, produce routine analytical reports on patterns and trends in grievances, implement a centralized grievance tracking log that is easily accessible by staff.

Require the major responsible to review all the completed grievances monthly to assess the quality of grievance responses, modify the inmate grievance form to include the date the inmate submitted the grievance, streamline process to reduce the redundancy in data entry.

DSD should improve the quality of data in its monthly reports to ensure that resulting conclusions and decisions are based on accurate information, by ensuring processes for data validation and analysis are consistent at both jails.

 

3/31/2017

 

Inmate Mental Health

 

 

Examine the current management and treatment of mentally ill inmates, the training provided to deputies and sergeants on mental illness, particularly related to the use of force, ensure all inmates’ mental health statuses are taken into account during the classification process, address the topic of excited delirium in policy.

Ensure a qualified mental health professional assesses each inmate on suicide watch to determine what precautions are necessary, define the method of documenting observations and the process of ensuring supervision of suicidal inmates, as well as documenting the completion and accountability for such rounds, require DSD first responders to take necessary precautions and remove items that may potentially cause self-harm.

Outline a procedure in DSD and Denver Health policies that identifies mental health professionals as the employees responsible for the assessment of suicidal inmates, stipulate at least two levels of observation determined by health care staff, and define which employees will conduct the observation, conduct an analysis of the number of psychiatric prescriber employees at the DDC to address the delays in inmates receiving psychiatric assessment and treatment.

 

2/28/2017

 

PREA

 

 

Provide comprehensive training to deputies by community victimization experts on Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA), continue to meet and develop PREA protocols that are responsive to the goals of the federal legislation, form a PREA task force to establish PREA investigatory protocols.

 

4/30/2017

 

Inmate Classification

Contact the National Institute of Corrections to request technical assistance to ensure that the classification system is validated as national best practices.

Clarify and emphasize the authority of the classification staff to make housing assignments, allow classification deputies who are aware of pertinent information to re-classify inmates who request housing transfers, r require classification staff to consider gang affiliation when determining where to house inmates, keep updated gang intelligence on inmates who should be kept separate.

Conduct a comprehensive time and task analysis of classification deputies to leverage valuable personnel resources more effectively, ensure that classification deputies are working when and where they need to, consider creating an additional rank or providing specialty pay for all classification deputies.

Revise County Jail policies to eliminate the redundancy of the primary classification interview and subsequent interview required at County, include in the classification process at the DDC a formal, structured and meaningful interview, train classification deputies at the DDC to conduct more detailed and in-depth interviews.

 

PAST DUE

 

Inmate Management

Update policies and procedures to account for all inmates within the jail facilities and verify their identities, stop all movement of inmates when deputies are counting inmates, create a consistent process for deputies to submit all tier sheets for all formal counts to confirm the deputies completed a comprehensive count of inmates at that time, program designated round-tracking devices so that supervision exception reports include the date and time an inmate’s supervision level was increased so supervisors can identify when increased rounds are mandated.

Distribute handouts to inmates that identify the many services and programs available to them, purchase exercise videos and mats to increase the ability for inmates to perform large muscle exercise, identify dominant languages, in addition to Spanish, spoken in the jails and continue to translate grievance and sick call forms into these.

Talk to architect to determine if existing space could be renovated to create single or double cells at County, freeing up space at the DDC and thereby maintain the integrity of inmates’ housing classifications.

Change the procedures to require the property deputy to be the first and only deputy to inventory an inmate’s property, store the inmate’s property immediately after critical information has been obtained during booking to decrease the likelihood of inmates bringing contraband into DSD jails.

 

2/28/2017

 

Safety and Sanitation

Update Department Order 4040.1Q and DDC Policy 803.00 regarding strip searches to reflect the currently approved practice of DSD using a body scan, rather than conducting an actual strip search, consider establishing a policy where inmates returning from work details, such as kitchen duty, are scanned and pat searched, preferably after having stripped down to their underwear.

Clearly outline policies and procedures requiring every cell to be searched during a specified time period, and require deputies to provide clear documentation that the searches were conducted, inform deputies that they must address sanitation issues as soon as they observe it, require sergeants to conduct periodic inspections during each shift and report on the inspections to ensure compliance with policies and procedures.

Identify in department orders and corresponding facility policies a list of approved items that deputies may bring into the building and have while on post, conduct random searches of employees entering the facilities, ensure supervisors are aware of the presence of unauthorized items when conducting rounds.

Create a disturbance control team composed of at least two ERU members for the DDC intake and second floor, revise department orders to identify the types and frequencies of emergency drills, draft detailed plans on how and where to relocate inmates in an emergency, improve the system to identify deputy and civilian staff inside the facility for each shift so the Department has a working knowledge of where employees are during any disaster or critical incident, develop plans and implement policies for the following situations: mass casualties, inmate lockdown, mass arrests and infectious disease containment and control.

Incorporate findings of the Department of Justice’s 2011 Task Force Guidelines on the use of restraints on pregnant inmates into DSD and Denver Health Authority policies and procedures.

 

12/31/2018

Use of force

CIT

 

 

Implement 100% deputy certification in CIT, make CIT mandatory within the first year of employment to stress the value and importance of de-escalation and using less lethal weapons in use of force incidents, increase number of deputies as CIT instructors, increase excited delirium training in CIT, complete an analysis of the effectiveness of CIT in reducing sustained use of force complaints.

 

5/1/2017

 

UOF Policy and Training

DSD should set out a more precise definition of “excessive force” in its use of force policy and should set out a more precise definition of “objectively reasonable.” DSD should add a preamble to its use of force policy that sets out the overarching principles and philosophy by which the use of force should be considered, the policy should set out a distinction between “immediate force” and “controlled force.” The policy should expressly advise deputies of their responsibility to intervene when they observe excessive or unnecessary force by fellow deputies.

Increase emphasis and training on de-escalation tactics and decrease emphasis on use of force to achieve compliance, provide de-escalation refresher training on an annual basis and adjust the firearms curriculum to reflect the standards outlined by the Colorado Peace Officer Standards and Training, create a policy and provide additional training on the use of less-lethal devices so deputies feel confident and comfortable when using them, DSD should consider ways to allow more regular ongoing training on force tactics targeted to the jail setting.

Evaluate DSD’s current defensive tactics training with nationally recognized best practice defensive tactics in secure custody environments, reevaluate the methodology of current Use of Force and Defensive Tactics courses, especially given the increased attention to appropriate and justified use of force that resulted in litigation and subsequent large monetary settlements when the use of force was allegedly used in accordance with training.

DSD should develop a policy specifically requiring deputies to get medical assistance for inmates who have been subjected to chemical agents so that their eyes can be decontaminated. The Department should modify its policy to say that unless there are no other options, a deputy who used force should not be assigned to escort the inmate to medical.

In furtherance of the goal of increasing accountability and transparency in the disciplinary process, the Department

of Public Safety will also publicly provide a list of the nature of pending allegations, without identifying the deputy. DSD should develop criteria that require certain categories of force or force outcomes to trigger an automatic review by Internal Affairs, send the Office of the Independent Monitor automated notifications when a use of force incident occurs and there is serious bodily injury.

DSD should demonstrate how much it values deputies’ abilities to resolve confrontations without resorting to force by issuing commendable restraint citations.

 

12/31/2017

 

Use of Force Data

DSD should conduct an annual use of force analysis to inform management decisions about training opportunities and staff supervision.  DSD should devise a remedy to ensure that its aggregate force data is reliable and sufficient resources should be allocated to support a robust data analysis and internal auditing function. Additional performance indicators should be added to EPARTS, including but not limited to inmate complaints and grievances, as well as civil lawsuits alleging deputy misconduct. Prior to launching a deputy force tracking program, DSD should ensure the force data is reliable, that there is an accounting for jail assignment in the analysis.

DSD should use its website and other social media to provide employees, stakeholders, and the public at large with more information about the number and type of force events occurring in the jails. It should also increase the profile of its training unit to allow training staff access to force reports and any force data or analysis.

The Department should more rigorously enforce its existing requirements regarding the collection of data and

information about TASER deployments. All TASER usage reports should be filled out completely and consistently.

 

9/30/2017

 

UOF Investigations and Reportin

DSD should examine force incidents to determine whether there were issues of supervision, policy, or training that it should address. It should also develop standards for investigating all uses of force that go beyond collecting involved and witness deputies’

narrative reports and meet minimal investigative standards for thoroughness and objectivity.

The DSD should revise its use of force reporting standards to require deputies and supervisors to submit comprehensive narrative descriptions of the circumstances. It should also revise its policy to require supervisors responding to any use of force to interview involved deputies and inmates, and deputy and inmate witnesses, on video.

DSD should provide regular training to deputies on how to prepare use of force reports and to sergeants on how to review

them. DSD should consider creating a cadre of sergeants at each jail facility specifically trained to conduct force investigations and

reviews. In cases where a sergeant was involved in a use of force, directed the force, or was a witness to the force, DSD should assign the force investigation to a non-involved sergeant or captain.

DSD should create detailed checklists setting out the Department’s expectations for investigation and review of force

incidents to guide investigating sergeants and supervisors at each level to ensure a uniform and thorough coverage of the fact collection and review process.

DSD should consider designing protocols whereby a force review committee reviews significant force incidents and a sampling of less significant force incidents. It should improve its force review process to ensure that not only is the incident centrally reviewed to examine whether tactical decision making was consistent with department policy. At the end of the force review, officers involved in every force incident should be debriefed regarding how the Department considered the handling of the incident.

The DSD should evaluate the feasibility of sending all use of force packets (which include deputy use of force reports, any evidence gathered by the responding supervisor, and the responding supervisor’s cover sheet) to the DSD Internal Affairs Bureau for an evaluation of whether a more comprehensive investigation should be conducted.

 

4/30/2017

 

UOF video storage policy and compliance

The DSD should revise its policy to require that all available video footage of all uses of force be automatically preserved indefinitely. An assessment should be conducted of the estimated costs for lengthening the retention period for all footage from cameras in DSD jails to a period that is longer than 30 days.

The Department’s internal auditing function should regularly review the Department’s compliance with the new video downloading and retention policy. Sergeants should be afforded the opportunity to view video evidence so they can adequately conduct an initial force investigation and review.

The Department should develop protocols that would allow its force experts to use video of actual force incidents as

teaching tools. DSD should ensure that IA investigators have easier, more secure access to video recorded at the County Jail, particularly when it expands video capability at that facility.

 

12/31/2017

PRIORITIZATION CATEGORY

TOPIC

RECOMMENDATIONS

PLANNED COMPLETION

DATE

Accountability

Compliance

DSD should create internal audit team and perform regular system checks.

 

9/30/2017

Accountability

 

 

Data/Technology

Department orders should be updated to explain processes for data collection and analysis, facilitating department-wide coordination and assign clear responsibilities for various aspects of data management. DSD should develop a coordinated approach for collecting and documenting performance statistics that will be included in the Mayor’s Budget Book, which includes a quality control process to accuracy of data.  The Department should expand its assessments to begin data analysis on intake data to determine its impact other practices in the City, such as expansion of DPD’s authorized strength and DSD’s jail operations.

Improve data collection and accuracy, periodically publish data on workforce diversity, produce training video on data entry and Require employees to be trained and held accountable for data collection and accuracy, create response network of technicians and super users to support IT needs, ensure new computer systems allow for verification and quality checks to ensure data is accurate, ensure data integrity at each entry point, along with quality control mechanisms.

Continue to use Oracle Business Intelligence technology to provide actionable information for decision makers, streamline IT systems, which currently operate in silos, study feasibility of having electronic health records, replace the jail management system, develop a five year IT strategic plan, supported by an annual tactical plan that outlines the actions required to achieve goals.

Create an IT committee to review purchases, ensuring they developed in line with the strategic plan, create an IT management oversight committee for selecting, using, monitoring and managing vendors, create a committee with community members, DSD employees and a representative of the City Attorney’s Office focused on information transparency.

 

6/30/2018

Accountability

 

 

Discipline

There should be a comprehensive review of DSD use of force policies, the Discipline Handbook, discipline matrix, use of force training, to ensure compliance with state law. The review should focus on emphasizing DSD’s and community expectation that deputies only used amount of force necessary to perform duties. Department of Safety to continually analyze discipline determinations to decide if changes need to be made to policy.

Career Service Rules should be changed so hearing officers consider DSD Disciplinary Handbook and Matrix at appeal; city should consider moving DSD out of Career Service system and into Civil Service system; require reviewers to consider special circumstances, as described in the Disciplinary Handbook, when a deputy is found to have used inappropriate force, change language in conduct categories to say DSD treats inmates with dignity and respect.

DSD should elevate the following infractions to Conduct Category F of the disciplinary matrix: Discrimination, Harassment or Retaliation Against Inmates, Cruel and Unusual Treatment of Inmates, Harassment of Inmates; inappropriate force and use of force reporting, should be elevated to Conducted Categories E through F in the disciplinary matrix; changes rules regarding Misleading and Inaccurate Statements to include mens rea element of “knowing”; with inappropriate force, Appendix C of the DSD Discipline Handbook needs to be revised to provide more guidance; Appendix C of the DSD Discipline Handbook needs to address distinction between standard of proof in administrative review process verses in the criminal or civil liability context; Appendix C needs strong values statement reflecting the more serious sanctions proposed for infractions; Appendix C needs to emphasize the specific purpose and importance of discipline for inappropriate force; with respect to inappropriate force, Appendix C needs to emphasize community expectations; Appendix B, history of guiding principles should be updated; reassign DSD inappropriate force rule to Conduct Categories E through F – most egregious – in disciplinary matrix; Amend definitions of misconduct in Categories D, E, F of Disciplinary Matrix so most serious infractions of use of force policy are assigned to F, which has a presumption of termination. Sleeping on post and abandoning post should be moved to Conduct Categories D through F of Disciplinary Matrix. Dimming of lights should be added to Conduct Categories D through F.

Change DSD Rule and Regulation 400.6, Abuse of Prisoners, to Conduct Category F, presumption of termination, changes to DSD Rules and Regulations 400 series to provide more clarity with regard to discrimination, harassment or retaliation against prisoners, cruel and unusual treatment of prisoners, erroneous release, harassment of prisoners, protecting constitution rights of prisoners, protecting prisoners from physical harm, failure to make required rounds.

 

4/30/2017

Accountability

 

 

Employee Management

Develop clearly defined performance measures for departmental units to ensure they are reaching their goals and are aligned with Strategic Plan.

Change policy to reflect that deputies visually check on inmates at least every 30 minutes. Train employees to do staggered visuals checks every 30 minutes and make supervisors responsible to ensure checks are done. Require deputies to use round-tracking devices and immediately report when they break. Alternatives to round-tracking device such as log books and JMS, only to be used if device is broken. DDC rounds-tracker system software be replaced to enable routine reporting of missed rounds. Sergeants should be given greater responsibility for monitoring whether deputies complete rounds.

Conduct staffing analysis in conjunction with five-year strategic plan and determine additional staffing. Implement new DSD Staffing Plan to improve operational efficiencies. Convene task force to prioritize civilianization and outsourcing. Develop strategic post rotation plan to ensure deputies are rotated. Implement staffing changes for multiple units and phase in non-sworn staff so sworn staff and be redeployed. Update staffing model by converting to more efficient single shift relief factors on 8, 10, and 12-hour schedules of 1.71, 2.1 and 2.4 FTEs, respectively. Change 8-hour work schedules to reduce number of unfunded positions, increase flexibility to meet surge demand and by extension reduce overtime. Change shifts from 12 hours to 10 hours. Change employee break structure to first break 45 minutes and second break 15 minutes.

Update Budget Post Matrix to account for 24-hour, 365 day year methodology to reflect most accurate accounting of staff need. Once Budget Post Matrix is updated, DSD should reconcile actual staff need with approved budget and determine whether an official supplemental budgetary request is required.

Entrust supervisors to make decisions and operate facilities, hold them accountable, provide them with training and guidance. List leadership duties in employee expectation/performance plans, known as Performance Enhancement Plan Reports (PEPR). Adjust selection process for specialty units with selection committees so the process is fair. Review the promotional and special assignment screening process to identify any inequities in opportunity. Create a subcommittee to study mandatory job transfers every three to five years. Collaborate with HR to ensure specialized assignment transfers are based on merit. Create a policy to require ratings and narratives to be listed in PEPRs. Review performance appraisals to see if supervisors often put “above satisfactory” regardless of employee performance. Work assigned to sergeants should be reviewed to free them from administrative responsibilities including preparation of rosters. Include training on Executive Orders and Career Service Rules to minimum training requirements and increase this for leadership positions. Add more sergeants to improve the span of control and improve supervision of deputies while on duty.

Implement policy to require supervisors to include following duties in performance ratings: leadership skills, use of force reporting, bias-free policing, verbal and written communications skills, reporting complaints, preparing for specialized assignments and promotions. Implement policy to require supervisors to include following duties in performance narratives: leadership skills, use of force reporting, bias-free policing, verbal and written communications skills, reporting complaints, preparing for specialized assignments and promotions.

Develop a plan to replace the sworn staff in the technology and accreditation units with civilians. Minimum of staffing in data analytics unit should include a senior researcher, an associate researcher and a management supervisor.

Update Budget Post Matrix to account for 24-hour, 365 day year methodology to reflect most accurate accounting of staff need.

Once Budget Post Matrix is updated, DSD should reconcile actual staff need with approved budget and determine whether an official supplemental budgetary request is required.

 

3/1/2018

Accountability

 

 

Internal Affairs Policy and Procedure

Review all internal cases filed for excess force and other IAB matters to determine if there were any disqualifiers in previous hires. The Department should develop a set of guidelines for policy violations which commanding officers must refer to Internal Affairs. Tailor appropriate training and follow up with employees to improve risk management and ensure the consistent enforcement of policies. Work with OIM to provide consistent resolution of cases involving accusations of deputy misconduct.

DSD should retain all use of force and IA investigations indefinitely. IA should make public a report containing information regarding process, caseload, outcomes and if it is keeping to internal deadlines, in an effort to be more transparent.

IAB procedures should be clarified so all allegations are entered into IAPro and communicated to OIM. Department of Safety should provide notice to all deputies of disciplinary decision, without identifying deputies by name.

IAB should review organizational capacity and data collection procedures, and provide staff with training and guidance. IAB should develop a database to allow DSD to analyze and discover patterns and trends to help identify process improvements. Implement a data verification and validation framework to improve data quality, performance measurement and support decision-making for the IAB.

Increase and quality and speed of DSD IAB processes, giving priority to excessive force, other inmate treatment and deceptive conduct is alleged. In coordination with Conduct Review Office and Office of the Independent Monitor, IAB should update polices and processes to ensure incoming cases are property triaged.  IAB should run training sessions with staff responsible investigating informal complaints. IA should create a system for tracking informal complaints. DSD should develop a mechanism for resolving straightforward cases with undisputed facts. DSD should develop a formal process for division staff to request IA to initiate an investigation, requiring the division to provide basic background information. DSD should consider enhancing the supervisory structure at IAB to ensure investigative case books are reviewed by someone higher than a sergeant. IAB should implement a policy that will bring consistency to the way investigators use video during interviews.

That investigators need commander approval to engage in “interrogation techniques” should be removed from the IA Procedures Manual. IA Procedures Manual should have types of events IA is expected to immediately respond to. The IA Procedures Manual should clarify the meaning of “incident statement” and provide interviewees with only a brief description of the nature of the matter under investigation. IA Procedures Manual should be revised and updated in a timely manner to reflect changes to procedures.

 

12/31/2017

 

 

 

Internal Affairs Staffing

DSD should develop a set of guidelines stating qualities necessary to be an IA investigator, and traits that would disqualify someone. DSD should have policy setting out minimum amount of training a new IA investigator must receive. The City/County should maintain commitment to in part staffing IA with investigators from outside the Department. The Department should regularize selection of IA investigators to ensure transparent. DSD should allow IA commander to choose most capable sergeants. DSD should have policy setting out minimum amount of training a new IA investigator must receive. DSD should assign a major to oversee IAB.

 

PAST DUE

 

 

 

Policy Management

Establish a single, coordinated approach to develop and maintain DSD policy. Implement a process in which deputies must sign off that have received and read new orders. Determine how and when policies and procedures will be introduced and explained to DSD employees. Organize department orders and facility policies in such a way that they are easily accessible to employees. Format and number departmental orders consistently to enable employees to locate information easily. Consider using a document management system for policy, such as PowerDMS, which could easily be accessed by staff.

Review post orders on an annual basis with designated personnel. Ensure DSD has an understanding of the legal landscape regarding inmate confinement, and ensure policy complies. Create manuals and policies to provide up to date direction based on DSD’s mission. Develop partnership with City Attorney to draft policies and ensure compliance with Hillard Heintze report. Ensure DDC chief reviews the policies and procedures before they are implemented. Develop a process by which critical policies are identified and reviewed to ensure staff understand and comply with them. Summarize department rules and facility policy revisions, providing rational behind changes. Ensure that policy and policy changes are reviewed during in-service training. Consider categorizing all policies into a matrix-style system that identifies policy by frequency to help determine priorities.

Require an annual risk assessment of the emergency plans. Review DSD’s emergency plans and recommend changes on an annual basis.

 

3/31/2017

 

Training Data

 

 

Establish a tracking system that can monitor the status of mandatory training for each deputy. Record the names of deputies who are certified and approved to carry less-lethal and lethal weapons, and post on the intranet. Purchase a program that will track employee training.

 

12/31/2017

 

Training Delivery

 

 

Review training needs and requirement for the basic academy and in-service courses annually. Ensure training academy personnel receive training on how to present robust, mandatory leadership training. Revise lesson plans. Require instructors to use approved plans. Review and enhance the training provided to new sergeants to ensure it prepares them to be supervisors. Locate additional space to conduct training. Invest in online training.

Make videos on new, revised and existing policies for briefings to provide consistency in messages delivered. Require the Training Academy to develop videos to be shown during roll-call briefings on major policy changes.

Create a lesson plan to meet CALEA standards. Revise the process used to select adjunct trainers and have them use approved lesson plan that meets CALEA standards.

Require core instructors to have regular staff meetings to discuss updates and policy changes. Use an instructional system design to measure effectiveness of future training courses. Implement a training structure that uses industry or vendor expertise. All training should be offered within two weeks of when a new system is deployed. Designate two firearms trainers, recruit two additional trainers and hire a curriculum developer. Include stakeholders on training advisory committee to provide fresh ideas and perspectives on curriculum. DSD should use training bulletins or briefings to ensure information is exported back to line officers.

 

12/31/2017

 

Employee Engagement

Improve staff utilization of the Office of Human Resources offers by expanding communications and understanding. Use the results of city-wide employee engagement surveys to create training and programming to address many of the consistent concerns raised in the surveys. Review and consider the recommendations from the rank and file that surfaced during the 2013 employee survey.

 

PAST DUE

 

Inmate Mental Health

 

 

The OIM recommends that the DSD examine the current management and treatment of mentally ill inmates, the training provided to deputies and sergeants on mental illness, particularly related to the use of force. Define the method of documenting observations and the process of ensuring supervision of suicidal inmates, as well as documenting the completion and accountability for such rounds. Ensure a qualified mental health professional assesses each inmate on suicide watch to determine what precautions are necessary. Require DSD first responders to take necessary precautions and remove items that may potentially cause self-harm. Outline a procedure in DSD and Denver Health policies that identifies mental health professionals as the employees responsible for the assessment of suicidal inmates. Stipulate at least two levels of observation determined by health care staff, and define which employees will conduct the observation. Conduct an analysis of the number of psychiatric prescriber employees at the DDC to address the delays in inmates receiving psychiatric assessment and treatment. Ensure all inmates’ mental health statuses are taken into account during the classification process. Address the topic of excited delirium in policy.

 

2/28/2017

 

Leadership

 

 

Hire a new sheriff from outside the organization to rapidly implement reforms. With Office of Human Resources, evaluate current DSD organizational chart to ensure that a proper chain of command is established. Avoid burdening the new Sheriff with too many direct reports.

Ensure hiring, career development and succession planning is in place for the Latino community, as well as for other growing minority communities.

Focus on leadership skills and an individual’s potential to develop them during the hiring process.  Ensure first-line DSD employees receive leadership development training for law enforcement officials serving in detention centers and correctional environments. This will help them deliver the quality services the community expects and prepare them for greater responsibilities when they are promoted.

Develop a Strategic Plan – actionable at the employee level – that addresses DSD’s strengths and weakness. Use the plan to implement the recommendations proposed by DSD reform task forces. Ensure the Strategic Plan establishes a hierarchy of goals that cascades across all DSD functions and personnel, and sets clear expectations for leaders, supervisors and employees.

Create a Code of Conduct that clearly defines DSD’s expectation of employee behavior. Ensure that the formal training programs for DSD supervisors and command deputies are included as specific duties within DSD’s Performance Enhancement Plan Report appraisal system. Amend DSD Mission, Vision and Guiding Principles, to reflect DSD’s duty requires treating inmates with dignity and respect.

Study the cost and efficiency of outside resources where employees may be sent to receive leadership training. Implement leadership training for first-line employees into the basic-entry academy and hold annual training sessions. Sergeants and Captains should be required to complete a train-the-trainer certification program. The training should include an explanation of shift briefing protocols. Institute a strategic job rotation policy as part of department succession plan. Create formalized succession plan comprised of training, recruitment and retention components.

Implement the proposed administrative structure with two divisions: the Custody Division and Administrative Support Services Division. Merge functions – such as Budget, IT, Human Resources, Research and Development, and Policy and Procedure Development – into a Support Services Division. Have another agency or entity to manage the VIF and cancel or postpone the aquaponics program. Assemble a team of ballistic and weapons experts from DSD to identify one weapon manufacturer and one caliber of weapon that is offered in various hand sizes. Decommission DSD’s Technology Management Unit (TMU) and transfer it to TS so they can share resources to support IT.

Encourage the Sheriff to lead by example and participate in outside associations to gain insights and ideas from peers and colleagues throughout the U.S. Develop a list of appropriate memberships and affiliations that personnel, by position level, could become involved within an effort to strengthen leadership.

Create a civilian position, Information Technology Executive, with extensive expertise and understanding of corrections processes and technology. Reassign the current responsibilities assigned to DSD deputies and sergeants to the civilian employees in TS who have the specific skill sets to use critical business management information. Ensure TS provides the technological resources and expertise required to construct, manage and maintain the operationally driven analytical tools. Include the Data Analytics Division in the administrative support services divisions.

Provide training to command staff on effective methods to communicate policy changes during roll call briefings. Permanently designate the two firearms trainers as instructors assigned to the Training Academy, recruit two additional trainers and hire a curriculum developer.

The OIM recommends that the DSD reexamine Department Order 2001.1I (“Exercise of Authority as a Peace Officer to Stop or Arrest Suspects”). Re-evaluate benefit of CALEA membership. Become POST certified.

 

8/1/2017

 

Recruitment

Increase accountability and transparency during the entire recruitment and hiring process to help rebuild community trust. Recruitment should be reflective of the broader Denver community, specifically the Hispanic, Asian and Native American communities. Create a realistic job preview by allowing applicants to shadow correctional deputies and observe other sheriff-specific activities and job responsibilities.

Review hiring criteria to ensure that candidate quality and character requirements are stringent. Ensure OHR facilitate any changes needed to the entry qualifications for new deputies and work with OHR to seek guidance and assistance on best practices in screening and hiring.

Analyze data received from candidates annually regarding academy composition, demographics and equal employment. Conduct exit interviews and attempt to capture any standard post employment data to improve employee retention.

 

TBD

 

Wellness

Reinstate the City Safety Wellness Committee or a similar support group so law enforcement, corrections and public safety employees can meet regularly. Provide a comprehensive employee fitness and wellness program.

Work with Employee Assistance Program provider to promote the holistic approach of EAP and remove the stigma that it can only be used in times of crisis.  Use a “lessons learned” approach in EAP, drawing on the shortcomings of prior roll-outs as a guide for learning how to avoid potential pitfalls. Draft an employee handbook of services that explains all available EAP services.

Assess and evaluate the effectiveness of the current employee support programs. Consider expanding chaplain recruitment to include a broader representation of religions. Require deputies to self-report alcohol and drug use. Train deputies on anger/stress management.

 

10/31/2016

 

Safety and Sanitation

Update Department Order 4040.1Q and DDC Policy 803.00 regarding strip searches to reflect the currently approved practice of DSD using a body scan, rather than conducting an actual strip search. Consider establishing a policy where inmates returning from work details, such as kitchen duty, are scanned and pat searched, preferably after having stripped down to their underwear. Ensure supervisors are aware of the presence of unauthorized items when conducting rounds.

Identify in department orders and corresponding facility policies a list of approved items that deputies may bring into the building and have while on post. Conduct random searches of employees entering the facilities.

Clearly outline policies and procedures requiring every cell to be searched during a specified time period, and require deputies to provide clear documentation that the searches were conducted.

Inform deputies that they must address sanitation issues as soon as they observe it. Require sergeants to conduct periodic inspections during each shift and report on the inspections to ensure compliance with policies and procedures.

Create a disturbance control team composed of at least two ERU members for the DDC intake and second floor.  Incorporate findings of the Department of Justice’s 2011 Task Force Guidelines on the use of restraints on pregnant inmates into DSD and Denver Health Authority policies and procedures. Revise department orders to identify the types and frequencies of emergency drills.  Draft detailed plans on how and where to relocate inmates in an emergency.  Improve the system to identify deputy and civilian staff inside the facility for each shift so the Department has a working knowledge of where employees are during any disaster or critical incident. Develop plans and implement policies for the following situations: mass casualties, inmate lockdown, mass arrests and infectious disease containment and control.

 

12/31/2018

 

Use of force – CIT

 

 

Implement 100% deputy certification in CIT. Make CIT mandatory within the first year of employment to stress the value and importance of de-escalation and using less lethal weapons in use of force incidents. Require all staff assigned to the intake area and second floor housing at the DDC to complete CIT training; for people under the influence of drugs and alcohol; the mentally ill and the developmentally disabled. DSD should work toward providing CIT training to each of its deputies. DSD should also ensure that the CIT training coordinator incorporates outside stakeholders such as mental health professionals into the CIT curriculum.  Increase number of deputies as CIT instructors.

 

5/1/2017

 

UOF Policy and Training

Increase emphasis and training on de-escalation tactics and decrease emphasis on use of force to achieve compliance.

Evaluate DSD’s current defensive tactics training with nationally recognized best practice defensive tactics in secure custody environments. Reevaluate the methodology of current Use of Force and Defensive Tactics courses, especially given the increased attention to appropriate and justified use of force that resulted in litigation and subsequent large monetary settlements when the use of force was allegedly used in accordance with training. Provide de-escalation refresher training on an annual basis and adjust the firearms curriculum to reflect the standards outlined by the Colorado Peace Officer Standards and Training. Create a policy and provide additional training on the use of less-lethal devices so deputies feel confident and comfortable when using them.

Implement OIM's recommendation to improve training on use of force with mentally ill inmates. Rather than using "policy" as a justification for excessive force, apply policy plus a reasonableness standard. DSD should inculcate principles of force prevention in its culture, policy, training, and overall orientation.

DSD should add a preamble to its use of force policy that sets out the overarching principles and philosophy by which the use of force should be considered. DSD should set out a more precise definition of “excessive force” in its use of force policy. DSD should set out a more precise definition of “objectively

reasonable” in its use of force policy. DSD’s Use of Force policy should set out a distinction between “immediate force” and “controlled force.” DSD’s force policy should expressly advise deputies of their responsibility to intervene when they observe excessive or unnecessary force by fellow deputies. In an effort to reduce the need to resort to force, DSD policy should provide additional specific guidance to deputies and supervisors.

The policy governing use of the TASER should require a warning to inmates prior to use of the TASER when practicable. DSD should demonstrate how much it values deputies’ abilities to resolve confrontations without resorting to force by issuing commendable restraint citations. DSD should develop a policy specifically requiring deputies to get medical assistance for inmates who have been subjected to chemical agents so that their eyes can be decontaminated. The Department should modify its policy to say that unless there are no other options, a deputy who used force should not be assigned to escort the inmate to medical. The Department should consider ways to allow more regular ongoing training on force tactics targeted to the jail setting.

DSD should develop criteria that require certain categories of force or force outcomes to trigger an automatic review by

Internal Affairs. The DSD should provide comprehensive training to all DSD deputies and supervisors about new use of force standards. In furtherance of the goal of increasing accountability and transparency in the disciplinary process, the Department

of Public Safety, will also publicly provide a list of the nature of pending allegations, without identifying the deputy. Send the Office of the Independent Monitor automated notifications when a use of force incident occurs and there is serious bodily injury. Include force variables in the use of force policy and make them accessible to deputies during the writing of their use of force reports.

 

12/31/2017

 

Use of Force Data

The Department should more rigorously enforce its existing requirements regarding the collection of data and

information about TASER deployments. The Department should increase the profile of its training unit to allow training staff access to force reports and any force data or analysis. DSD should devise a remedy to ensure that its aggregate force data is reliable.

DSD and those responsible for resource allocation should devote sufficient resources to support a robust data analysis and internal auditing function. Prior to launching a deputy force tracking program, DSD should ensure the force data is reliable, that there is an accounting for jail assignment in the analysis. DSD should use its website and other social media to provide employees, stakeholders, and the public at large with more information about the number and type of force events occurring in the jails. The OIM recommends that additional performance indicators be added to EPARTS, including but not limited to

inmate complaints and grievances, as well as civil lawsuits alleging deputy misconduct.

 

9/30/2017

 

UOF Investigations and Reporting

At the end of the force review, officers involved in every force incident should be debriefed regarding how the Department considered the handling of the incident. DSD should examine force incidents to determine whether there were issues of supervision, policy, or training that it should address. DSD should develop standards for investigating all uses of force that go beyond collecting involved and witness deputies’ narrative reports and meet minimal investigative standards for thoroughness and objectivity. DSD should provide regular training to deputies on how to prepare use of force reports and to sergeants on how to review them.

DSD should consider creating a cadre of sergeants at each jail facility specifically trained to conduct force investigations and

reviews. In cases where a sergeant was involved in a use of force, directed the force, or was a witness to the force, DSD should assign the force investigation to a non-involved sergeant or captain. mDSD should create detailed checklists setting out the Department’s expectations for investigation and review of force

incidents to guide investigating sergeants and supervisors at each level to ensure a uniform and thorough coverage of the fact

collection and review process.  DSD should consider designing protocols whereby a force review committee reviews significant force incidents and a sampling of less significant force incidents.

DSD should improve its force review process to ensure that not only is the incident centrally reviewed to examine whether tactical decision making was consistent with department policy.

The DSD should revise its use of force reporting standards to require deputies and supervisors to submit comprehensive narrative descriptions of the circumstances. The DSD should revise its use of force reporting framework to capture more specific variables to enable more robust pattern and trend analysis. The DSD should revise its policy to require supervisors responding to any use of force to interview involved deputies and inmates, and deputy and inmate witnesses, on video. The DSD should evaluate the feasibility of sending all use of force packets (which include deputy use of force reports, any evidence gathered by the responding supervisor, and the responding supervisor’s cover sheet) to the DSD Internal Affairs Bureau for an evaluation of whether a more comprehensive investigation should be conducted.

 

4/30/2017

 

UOF video storage policy and compliance

The DSD should require that all available video footage of all uses of force be automatically preserved indefinitely. The DSD’s internal auditing function should regularly review the DSD compliance with the new video downloading and retention policy; sergeants should be afforded the opportunity to view video evidence so they can adequately conduct an initial force investigation. And the Department should develop protocols that would allow its force experts to use video of actual force incidents as teaching tools. DSD should ensure that IA investigators have easier, more secure access to video recorded at the County Jail, particularly when it expands video capability at that facility.

12/31/2017

Expert Reports and Recommendations

Denver officials have released 40 draft recommendations for reform from several task forces convened earlier this year to review policies, procedures, discipline, training and staff well-being within the Denver Sheriff Department. 

Staffing/Staff Well-Being Task Force
Identify and assess the mental, physical and emotional challenges of the Denver Sheriff Department staff and recommend compassionate and sustainable solutions to enhance and strengthen their overall well-being. 
Staffing/Staff Well-Being Report

Training Task Force
Conduct a review of the training policies, procedures and practices of DSD. The workgroup will review the effectiveness of its current training program and determine if improvements can be made.
Training Report

Policy and Procedure Task Force
conduct a review of written policies and procedures within the agency to determine if improvement is necessary. The workgroup will make recommendation for improvement where necessary.
Policy and Procedure Report

Discipline Task Force
Assess the effectiveness of the conduct principles and disciplinary guidelines; review statistics, trends and patterns to identify opportunities for improvement; and develop comparisons to other similarly situated Sheriff Departments to evaluate norms and processes. Example: The impact of Career Service Rules on the Denver Sheriff Department’s Disciplinary Matrix.
Discipline Report

 

Upon completion of the report by consultants Hillard Heintze and the OIR group, an internal Implementation Team, led by Executive Director of Public Safety Stephanie Y. O’Malley, immediately began to work to develop an action plan that prioritizes the multitude of recommendations received from the Independent Monitor, the 2015 Jail Operations Audit conducted by the City Auditor, the Phase 1 reform effort, and the assessment report. In all, over 400 recommendations are under consideration. 

The Implementation Team has convened six Action Teams comprised of community members, city employees and public safety stakeholders to evaluate the recommendations and to prioritize appropriate implementation. Priority will be given to those recommendations focused on: Leadership and performance accountability; Professional correction services; Accountability for violations of department policies, procedures, department and post orders; Staffing related to reducing overtime and properly deploying existing sworn personnel; and Safety for deputies and inmates.

The team is comprised of individuals who will be tasked with implementing the recommendations. Members of the team are:

  • Stephanie O’Malley, Executive Director of Public Safety
  • Sheriff Elias Diggins, Denver Sheriff
  • Nick Mitchell, Independent Monitor
  • Scott Martinez, City Attorney
  • Brendan Hanlon, Budget Director
  • Denver City Councilman Paul Lopez, Dist. 3 and Chair of the Committee on Safety and Well-being
  • Deputy Mike Jackson,  President of Denver Sheriff Lodge 27
  • Shawn Smith, Peak Performance staff

Implementation Team Meeting Minutes: June 1, 2015 | June 9, 2015 | June 17, 2015 | June 22, 2015 | June 29, 2015 |July 6, 2015 | July 13, 2015  | July 20, 2015 | July 27, 2015 | August 3, 2015 | August 10, 2015 | August 17, 2015 | August 28, 2015 | August 31, 2015 | September 8, 2015 | September 14, 2015 | September 21, 2105 | September 28, 2015 |October 5, 2015 | October 12, 2015 | October 19, 2015 | October 26, 2015 | November 2, 2016 | November 16, 2015 |December 7, 2015 | December 14, 2015 | January 4, 2016 | January 11, 2016 | January 25, 2016 | February 8, 2016 |March 7, 2016 | March 14, 2016 | March 21, 2016 | March 30, 2016 | April 18, 2016

ACTION TEAMS

Use of Force and Internal Affairs

Staffing and Performance Optimization

Leadership, Supervision and Strategic Planning

Training

Human Resources

 

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