DENVER (CBS4) – From drunken brawls leading to serious injuries, to random attacks on innocent people, LoDo on the weekends keeps Denver police officers busy.
When CBS4’s Dominic Garcia asked police what’s changed to improve safety, they invited him and photojournalist Mark Neitro to hang out for a night. They got a first-hand look at some new tactics to keep the streets safer.
LoDo is the heart of Denver’s night life, and when mixing that many people and that much alcohol, it doesn’t always go well. Just ask Justin Deberry, who was jumped while celebrating a new internship.
“I broke my jaw right here, and over here, and they had to put two plates in my face and 14 screws,” Deberry said.
“There’s no secret, we’ve had challenges, absolutely, we’ve had challenges,” District 6 Commander Tony Lopez said.
So this summer Lopez says they had a new approach to controlling the crowds.
“We’ve identified hot spots or areas where we’ve had issues. We’ve brought in additional resources,” Lopez said.
In addition to regular on duty officers, they’ve added four extra foot patrols just for the LoDo area. They also close several streets right as the bars let out.
Another new addition is called a scout car and it patrols just a few square blocks. Deputy Sheriff Joseph Cleveland says there’s only a few ways to get throw in.
“Basically if you’re too intoxicated, if you’re considered aggressive,” Cleveland said.
Holly Barrett is the executive director of the LoDo District, a collection of businesses and residents who raised the money for the extra resources.
“Commander Lopez approached us in April to say, ‘Hey, don’t forget summer is coming up and we’re going to have a lot of crowds down here like we always do,’ ” Barrett said.
Lopez says it allows them to respond faster. Assaults are actually down.
“We’ve come up with a pretty good strategy to manage a tough situation,” Lopez said.
It’s a tough situation that seems to be getting better, but as long as LoDo is the place to party, it’s one that will always keep officers busy.
Funding for the program has run out. Now that it’s getting colder the crowds die down, and so do many of the problems. They’re hoping to raise enough money to bring it back next year.