Either as a parting shot or a final warning, Denver’s Independent Monitor, Richard Rosenthal released a scathing fourth quarter report on Thursday, accusing the Denver Police Department of lying to protect themselves.
Even though he is the outgoing monitor, leaving after Friday, Rosenthal’s comments, and the reaction of the new Manager of Safety Alex Martinez, will force Mayor Michael Hancock to address the situation.
Both Alex Martinez and Police Chief Robert White criticized Rosenthal’s report and dismissed his claims as emotional parting shots.
The problem for Mayor Hancock isn’t that his Manager of Safety and Police Chief disagree with the comments, it’s the fact that many citizens, after seeing double digit police firings and disciplinary actions in 2011 are likely to see some credence in Rosenthal’s’ comments.
Both Martinez and White have no reason to be doubted in their position. They are new enough on the job that if they really did feel Rosenthal’s comments were correct, they could have safely talked about it. Neither Martinez nor White need to protect any of their turf since it is so new. Mayor Hancock will not likely leave his top two appointments hanging out to dry on this one. He should back them up publicly.
However, Hancock should also be cognizant that blind, enthusiastic backing of White and Martinez will make it seem that somehow an environment that produced so many firings and disciplinary actions in 2011 was miraculously cured seemingly overnight. That’s an unrealistic situation that many citizens of Denver simply won’t believe.
The right play for Hancock is to support his appointments, but in a way that recognizes that much more work needs to be done. He needs to relay to the citizens of Denver that his new guys are ensuring that any negative environment or attitudes within the DPD will be changed permanently.
Opinions vary about the legacy of Richard Rosenthal and his role as Denver’s Independent Monitor. Some people thought he was the key breath of fresh air that was needed, and some saw his role and superfluous and unnecessary.
Regardless of varying opinions of Rosenthal, what’s not in question is that he has left a very complicated political situation in his wake for Mayor Michael Hancock. It should be interesting to see how the Mayor reacts to Rosenthal’s parting gift.
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.