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Denver Police: Occupy Denver Taking Toll On The Force

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An image of the protest from Oct. 29. (credit: Mark Neitro)

An image of the protest from Oct. 29. (credit: Mark Neitro)

DENVER (CBS4) – Denver police say Occupy Denver has been straining its force. Now the department has to prioritize the city’s calls when the movement gets out of hand in order to handle emergencies.

Occupy Denver protesters and police clashed over the weekend. Seventeen protestors were arrested.

Denver’s Department of Safety says they are specifically allocating police officers to be out there, not only to monitor the situation, but also limit overtime hours of police officers.

Conversations are under way among city leaders about how to handle the long-term presence of Occupy Denver.

“There’s going to be a few who have a different philosophy from what the main group believes,” a protester said.

According to Denver Public Safety, for a 2-week span in October, Occupy Denver cost the city $365,000 for Denver police, the sheriff’s office and the Department of Public Health and Environment.

While the city says there isn’t a price tag for last weekend’s scuffle, or the one before it, Denver police say the situation has created a strain on staffing.

“When you have to pull resources from one district to come into another to address Occupy, it creates staffing issues from where the officers came from,” Det. John White with Denver police said.

Denver police say they have procedures in place calling officers back to duty, and in early to cover the gaps in police presence. They also have prioritize 911 calls. Crimes against people are at the top of the list, but traffic accidents that don’t include injuries are now lower on the list.

“The lesser calls for service may experience delays,” White said.

The mayor’s office says while they are monitoring the costs of the movement, above all safety is the biggest concern.

They are expecting more costs for the last two clashes sometime in the next few weeks.

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