In anticipation of a series of public meetings — including the first one Tuesday — about the proposed changes to the Denver Police Department’s use-of-force policy, The Denver Post sought reviews from criminal justice experts and compared the policy to a set of recommendations endorsed this month by 11 national policing organizations.
Thus far, most of the discussion surrounding the policy has been focused on whether or not Chief Robert White should have sought community input before writing his proposed policy. Among those who have criticized him for excluding people outside the department are the Denver Police Protective Association, the union that represents police officers, and community groups such as the Colorado Latino Forum and the Denver Justice Project.
Overall, criminal justice experts who reviewed the draft policy agreed that Denver’s police department is headed in the right direction.
“To their credit, they are adjusting to shifting public opinion on police use of force,” said Joseph Schafer, chairman of the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Southern Illinois University.
Denver’s policy contains many of the recommendations included in the National Consensus Policy on Use of Force, which was released Jan. 11 and endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police and the International Association of Chiefs of Police, Schafer said.