Shane, err, Charles! Come Back!
Charles Garcia resigned from his Denver Manager of Safety post this week. His resignation was somewhat expected since he told everyone when he took the job that he did not intend to stay long.
However, his efficiency at cleaning house in the Denver Police department is probably making many Denverites wish, like the hero in the movie, “Shane” that he would come back.
Certainly the Denver police union and many outspoken critics of the Garcia are happy he is leaving. However, I believe there must be some police officers, who will obviously want to stay anonymous, who respected Garcia and his efforts to eliminate the very few bad apples that were giving the entire force a bad name.
Citizens of Denver who have begun to experience serious police brutality case fatigue must also be sad to see Garcia go. After years of excessive force lawsuits being settled out of court, and countless videos of alleged police brutality, many found Garcia’s swift action refreshing.
Firing eight police officers in four months for a variety of infractions proved that Garcia was not afraid to make controversial moves. But Garcia did not make any friends in the police union and some may have found his swift action a bit too fast.
However, Charles Garcia was exactly what Denver needed at a critical moment in its history. When the dust settles, I think historians will look at the brief tenures of former Mayor Bill Vidal and Manager of Safety Charles Garcia as the keys to bringing credibility back to the Denver police force.
And even though some Denverites will miss Charles Garcia, his tenure had to be as short as it was. With the way he approached the job, he had no choice but to come in, strike hard and fast, and then walk away.
If Garcia would have stayed much longer, he eventually would have made Mayor Michael Hancock’s relationship with the Denver Police very complicated. With a new Police Chief needing to be hired, and the police union up in arms over Garcia’s actions, it was quickly going to get sticky.
Whomever Mayor Michael Hancock names as the next Manager of Safety, will need to approach the job differently than Charles Garcia did.
While the next Manager of Safety cannot coddle the police, he or she must work with the police union so that significant infractions can be addressed, but the relationship with the new mayor stays productive.
It’s a tough balance to walk. However, the next Manager of Safety has the luxury of finding that difficult balance with a clean slate. If the next Manager of Safety also had to deal with the same cases Charles Garcia has already dealt with, their tenure would likely be even more controversial, and maybe even shorter than Garcia’s.
About The Blogger
– Dominic Dezzutti, producer of the Colorado Decides debate series, a co-production of CBS4 and Colorado Public Television, looks at the local and national political scene in his CBSDenver.com blog. Read new entries here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Dezzutti writes about federal, state and local matters and how our elected leaders are handling the issues important to Colorado. Dezzutti also produces the Emmy winning Colorado Inside Out, hosted by Raj Chohan, on Colorado Public Television.