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Mayor Hancock’s Equity Platform Expands with Denver Opportunity Index in Public Safety

DENVER – With the release today of the Denver Opportunity Index by the Department of Public Safety, Mayor Michael B. Hancock’s Equity Platform to take an even stronger role in connecting people to opportunity is expanding into addressing the safety needs of residents and neighborhoods in a more progressive, thoughtful and supportive way.

“Many of the neighborhoods that will be a focus of this new approach are the very neighborhoods I grew up in and saw first-hand the effects these social factors had on my family’s and our community’s feeling of safety. We can change those outcomes for our families living there today,” Mayor Hancock said. “We create stronger neighborhoods when our residents trust the people serving them, and that trust is enhanced when our public safety officials take an equity-focused approach to public safety.”

The Opportunity Index is a data-driven initiative focused on identifying opportunities using collaboration to address social factors that will help improve residents’ quality of life, thereby enhancing safety for everyone in Denver. Connecting safety interactions with community-based data will allows safety officials to look at the social factors that may be contributing to crime, as well as creating a more robust conversation about what the needs of residents are and how we address them before they escalate. Public Safety executive director Troy Riggs, in a presentation to city and community leaders, outlined the common themes that have been identified in census tract data and broken into three categories: financial security, health and people left behind.

Said Riggs, “We know there’s a lot of great work going on in Denver and we want to partner with community organizations to make a meaningful connection between the person in crisis and the appropriate level of support, which oftentimes is not public safety.”

Several aspects of Mayor Hancock’s Equity Platform, announced during his 2018 State of the City address, have moved forward in recent weeks.

Mayor Hancock and the city, in partnership with City Council members Robin Kniech and Debbie Ortega, initiated a new demonstration workforce program for one of Denver’s forthcoming public projects, the expansion of the Colorado Convention Center. This demonstration workforce program will help increase outreach, pre-apprenticeship training, job opportunities and employment of local residents. It will also address shortages in qualified construction workers by increasing the number of apprentices being trained on the job. This program will leverage the city’s participation in the WORKNOW platform, presented by the Colorado Resource (CORE) Partners alliance and seeks to integrate construction industry job training with community resources.

Earlier this month, The Denver Office of Economic Development (OED) hired Colorado State Senator Irene Aguilar, M.D., as the director of Denver’s Neighborhood Equity and Stabilization Team (NEST). NEST is an impact team designed to better support residents and businesses facing significant changes to their neighborhoods. The team will deploy resources specifically tailored to neighborhoods at risk of displacement as new public and private investment comes in, as well as work to ensure that residents benefit from Denver’s prosperity and success.