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Denver Officer Writes Open Letter Criticizing Chief

February 16, 2015  | 

Denver Chief Robert White has responded to officer criticism that he allowed the city's fallen officer memorial to be attacked. (Photo: CBS4)
Denver Chief Robert White has responded to officer criticism that he allowed the city's fallen officer memorial to be attacked. (Photo: CBS4)

A Denver officer wrote this angry open letter to Chief Robert White following an anti-police protest where the department's fallen officer memorial was defaced with red paint. Reportedly, officers were ordered to stand down during the attack on the memorial and not intervene. The letter was sent to local media, including CBS4.

Chief White,

I find myself at a loss of words, an inability to express how dismayed I am that you have failed to publicly denounce the inexcusable actions by protesters this afternoon. I checked every Denver area news source tonight and could not find any comments or remarks, from you, expressing disgust and anger over the desecration of our memorial to fallen officers.

Further, I have not seen any internal communication, to the honorable members of the Denver Police Department, the brave men and women you were hired to lead, explaining how a despicable act of degradation could even be allowed to occur!

Anger and frustration, by our officers, have dominated social media this evening. The absence of your leadership today is alarming, but – unfortunately – not surprising. Not to lecture you, Sir, but no other law enforcement agency in our part of the United States, meaning Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma, have lost more officers in the line-of-duty than the Denver Police Department.

This tragic statistic, this humbling fact reinforces the enduring commitment of Denver Police Officers to put their very lives before all else in carrying out their duties. No other city or state agency has spilled more blood, serving the community, than our officers. That our officers, working the demonstration today, had to watch the outrageous vandalism to our sacred memorial, without being able to intervene, is inexcusable and unacceptable.

Equally alarming is the escalation of anti-police rhetoric in our city, incendiary language and actions that have yet to be countered by city leaders, the Mayor, or yourself. Spray painting “fuck the police” and threatening specific officers, by attaching their names with warnings of retribution, on our venerable memorial, as occurred today, only emboldens acts of future violence.

One has to look no farther than the executions of NYPD Officers Liu and Ramos, and the increase in lethal ambushes on police officers nationwide.

Before the next protest occurs, we need to hear from you. We need to know that you will enact and enforce a policy preventing these anti-social activists from damaging our police memorial and facilities in the future. We need to hear from you that your support our active and retired officers, and the memories of our fallen.

I can’t speak for every DPD officer, but of the four or five hundred I routinely interact with, I can state – as a fact – that we are all desperately craving leadership in our Police Department. You have been absent in this role for three years.

Respectfully,

Officer Danny Veith, 94040


Comments (24)

Displaying 1 - 24 of 24

Rick Dufresne @ 2/16/2015 10:24 AM

Well said Officer Veith. I cannot believe that senior staff would tell their officers to do nothing while a crime was being committed in their presence. My prayers go out to you and the rest of the Denver Police DEpartment.

RPG156 @ 2/16/2015 10:32 AM

Kudos Danny. As a retired officer that lost too many friends, I share your outrage and feeling of abandonment. I can only imagine the public backlash if some desecration had occured at the gravesites of the families of those protestors and the police had done nothing. Your leadership has forgotten that policing is a linear profession. Even if the current staff is ignored, the message sent to future generations is that you will be hated and have no allies, within or without. Who wouldn't want that job. The military leaves no one behind. Allowing the honorless to dishonor the honorable is unfathonable. I pray that you find leadership soon. Stay safe brothers and sisters.

Alorue @ 2/16/2015 10:41 AM

This has been a sad trend in law enforcement. Leaders who either can't or won't lead. They refuse to stand up and make a tough call on a situation, or they simply make the "politically correct" decision (read: wrong call, as in this case). So afraid of any negative publicity, they cave before the fight even begins. How this Chief can sleep at night, I do not know. He should be ashamed of himself. Firstly as a man in general, and secondly as some one who calls himself a police officer. He is either a spineless puppet of the city government that appointed him, or he is an incompetent boob. Some newly minted "boss" who learns how to lead by reading the high lighted portions of self help books. To the brave Officer who wrote the letter, I salute you, Sir. This is a valiant attempt to hold those above you, accountable for their actions. Good luck and God speed to you, and the members of the DPD.

buckoo @ 2/16/2015 11:00 AM

This and ALL Law Enforcement Memorial is as sacred to me (retired Sergeant, Kansas City, MO, Police Dept.) as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Both Memorials represent those that have given the ultimate sacrifice protecting OUR freedom. What this chief did was INEXCUSABLE!

Chief Janie Schutz @ 2/16/2015 11:26 AM

Thank you Officer Veith for your words and thank you Denver PD for your service. May the public someday understand that police lives that have been given to the grave, are the very ones that said an Oath long ago to Serve and Protect all, which would, and should, include the memory of their service to their City and their Country when they are gone. Stay safe my friends!

jj @ 2/16/2015 12:28 PM

AMEN!

Chcago Cop @ 2/16/2015 12:42 PM

Demonstrators there defaced their memorial to Fallen Denver Police Officers and were ordered by their chief to do nothing.

Is our Memorial GUARDED? That means sworn armed humans in close presence 24/7 not watched by a Daley/Vaneko video camera.

Out- fucking <#> @*#@

http://www.policemag.com/videos/channel/patrol/2015/02/union-demands-denver-chief-resign-after-ordering-officers-to-allow-fallen-officer-memorial-to-be-de.aspx

My reply:

That was outrageous that a law enforcement chief would allow that. What's next? Would he allow that at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery?
There was another video I was sent where ISIS invaded a World War II British Memorial Cemetery in Libya. It showed groups that had defecated on soldiers gravestones then rallied as they smashed and pushed them over.
What is next for them? Will gangs from ISIS or sympathetic now invade the American Cemetery overlooking Omaha Beach or outside Bastogne Belgium and do the

Jim @ 2/16/2015 1:20 PM

Did the chief not violate an oath to uphold and enforce the laws of the city and state. Most cities and states have laws against damaging property of others. It appears to me that most of the problems relating to the police have been the lack of law enforcement due to the leadership wanting to appear to be politically correct. This starts with the federal DOJ and funnels down to many Sheriffs and Chiefs. In my opinion all that it does create more problems.

LEO @ 2/16/2015 2:34 PM

Very sad to hear of this cowardly display of leadership but unfortunately I'm not surprised one bit. Saw first hand how he "managed" instead of being an actual leader for the last department he ruined. Look on the bright side, there is always compstat(sarcasm)...Keep your head up and Stay Safe!!!

AZBIGDOG @ 2/16/2015 3:00 PM

As sorry as an excuse for a leader as is obama. I feel sympathy and am sad that any officer would be told to ignore the laws you have sworn to enforce because we don't want to cause problems with the protesters who are threatening our police department and brothers in arms. As in Ferguson there is a complete lack of what the police are there for; to stop illegal acts against the property and lives of all citizens not just a bunch of wannabe liberal suit happy criminals. Chief, do your duty and what you are paid to do by all the citizens not just a few and your political masters. OR RESIGN IF YOU CAN'T DO YOUR JOB AS SWORN.

Michael Bannister @ 2/16/2015 3:15 PM

My heart goes out to the families of the officers memorialized. Please know that many millions of people respect and honor the fine men and women of the Denver Police Department and all law enforcement personnel. I have no words that can explain the actions of a police commander failing to act on the most basic level to support the officers and families who made a sacrifice that no one should be required to make. It is a sad commentary and an unforgivable dishonor to all of law enforcement. Chief you will never lead again. No amount of apology could ever be enough and I doubt you have the character to try.

Retired Chief @ 2/16/2015 3:58 PM

It is an unfortunate sign of our times that, particularly in larger cities, police departments are headed (notice I did not say led) by politically correct wimps that care only for their popularity and their job security. They will throw their officers, and the sacrifice of officers KIA, under the bus in a heartbeat to score political points with the leftists who hate us. That makes such "chiefs" (and as a retired Chief it upsets me to say this) no better than the pukes they seek to placate. Thank you Officer Veith for having the guts to write what you did. I hope the retaliation that will be directed to you by your pussy chief and his minions will not be too severe. Sorry to say it but it may be time for you to look at a lateral transfer to an agency led by a real cop.

LA Bulldog @ 2/16/2015 7:40 PM

" intentionally avoiding direct confrontation prevents injury to officers, limits liability and minimizes the criminal actions of many protesters." What true cop believes that hogwash. Quite the contrary you spineless wannabe. It encourages future confrontation which in turn escalates the chance of potential injury and liability. Lack of action is a breakdown of the very system we risk our lives daily to protect. It also can create a reverse effect by causing an increase of criminal behavior without fear of lawful repercussions.Peaceful protest is a right afforded to all of us as US citizens. Acts of blatant vandalism is not. Grow a pair Chief, you should have been front and center,with your officers, protecting the memorial honoring your fallen. Don't know you and really don't want to!

JP @ 2/16/2015 9:41 PM

That is why they are called managers, not leaders. Anyone can be a manager, not everyone can be a leader.

dja2385 @ 2/17/2015 5:21 AM

Unbelievable! In Ferguson, an officer was placed on leave for calling the Michael Brown memorial in the street a pile of trash but officers are ordered to let this vandalism happen? This country is upside down! I have no problem with peaceful protest but protesters need to be shown this type of activity is unacceptable. There are no boundaries for anyone but the police apparently.

Ken @ 2/17/2015 5:36 AM

Robert White is a disgrace to an honorable profession. He should be fired and not given the opportunity to resign. What an epic POS! My sympathy to all the real LEO's on the DPD. This guy seems cut from the Obama/ Holder cloth. It will be a great day when he leaves our ranks.

fatboyslim @ 2/17/2015 6:20 AM

Why do you think Louisville police threw a block party happy as fuck for his departure as chief /cop period..

Boss Hogg @ 2/17/2015 7:11 AM

If the Police Union wants Chief White out then I want him to stay in office. It's the Union that has destroyed the reputation of cops across the nation. The Police Union doesn't protect civilians, they protect bad cops to the end. What do you not understand, it's called a protest? They tossed paint, the protesters didn't shoot an unarmed cop and say "I was afraid for my life". Cops are #16 in dangerous jobs. Cops are not judges so bring them in alive!

Morning Eagle @ 2/17/2015 8:04 AM

Thank you Officer D. Veith for submitting your thoughtful and courageous letter. I hope the repercussions that will descend on you from the hierarchy for your temerity, both overt and subtle, will not be too severe. Good luck and stay safe.

Malcolm @ 2/17/2015 9:17 AM

Chief White may have made some exceptional accomplishments at other points in his career, but this present time, it appears he's gone "ROAD."
Retired On Active Duty. To quote one of my Air Assault School instructors from back in the day (1988) I say this to the Chief: "Lead, Follow, or get out of the way!"
In your case, being "top cop", you should either lead, or get out of the way.

Scotty @ 2/17/2015 12:29 PM

Balls of Steel, Officer Veith! Chief White, why not pull all your officers into the office and simply take reports over the phone? Would you expect officers to intervene if people spray painted "POLITICAL COWARD" on your house? It looks like DPD needs a change at the top.

Dmac @ 2/17/2015 8:19 PM

I have to say I would had disobeyed a direct order of the Chief and gotten days off. I would had refused to stand by and watch that. I would had taken proactive action and made some arrests as Im sure my partners would have as well. I would had gladly done days off. I sincerely hope for the Officers of Denver PD their chief is gone soon.

ssc1911 @ 2/18/2015 5:41 AM

Congradulations Officer Vieth,

You have much courage for writing the letter and expressing your views.It is sad that your chief did not lead and order to have the protestors arrested for vandalizing a memorial to fallen Denver PD officers. You have the respect of many officers for writing your letter. Hopefully there will be no administrative action by your agency against you for writing this letter. God Speed and God Bless Law Enforcement everywhere/

Ima Leprechaun @ 2/18/2015 10:48 AM

In some states tampering with any memorial is a felony. It's probably not even a crime in Colorado. Too bad their chief has no b@lls to protect property. But I would think the Chief is guilty of Malfeasance and nonfeasance of Office at the very least.

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