Along with many of you, I am disturbed by the recent developments that have brought to light a culture that enables the use of excessive force in the Denver Sheriff’s Department. I assure you that the City and County of Denver takes allegations of wrongdoing seriously and is committed to meaningful reform.
I support Mayor Hancock’s decision to remove Gary Wilson and conduct a national search for his replacement and also support the Mayor’s decision to engage a third party investigation of the department.
To the extent changes are necessary to any city laws or budget resources City Council stands ready to work with the Mayor. I am also happy to report that some changes have already been made. For example, inmates now have an additional avenue to file grievances through direct access to the Office of the Independent Monitor. Grievance forms now list the OIM’s phone number and it is no longer a collect call. Forms are now also available in Spanish.
Task forces convened in May and composed of internal and external stakeholders will continue their work to examine training, discipline, staff well-being, and policy and procedures within the Sheriff’s department. By all measures, deputies must be held to a higher standard and advance a culture of accountability within the department.