Follow Up to Denver’s Dirty Laundry

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Mitch Morrissey (credit: CBS)

Mitch Morrissey (credit: CBS)

Written by Dominic Dezzutti

It is a rare occasion that I bring up a question in blog and actually receive an answer to it. I was able to experience that rare opportunity after my blog entry on Friday about the public disagreement between Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey and Denver Police Chief Robert White.

Towards the end of my entry, I wondered aloud about the reasoning of DA Morrissey’s disagreement with Chief White’s decision to replace to the police officers who serve in the Crime Scene Investigation unit with civilians in order to put more officers on the street.

DA Morrissey’s office was kind enough to respond to my blog entry and provide some important details, including Morrissey’s reasoning.

The first part of the story that received clarification was the point that Mitch Morrissey has no problem with the overall policy of replacing officers with trained civilians. DA Morrissey’s problem with the particular proposal of replacing fifteen technicians in the CSI unit is the timing.

According to DA Morrissey’s office, the current plan calls for the transition to occur by the end of the year. DA Morrissey’s office believes that the speed of that transition “would drastically affect any organization in any industry, and … such a quick transition directly affects our prosecutors in court.”

I am not familiar enough with the intricacies of the how the District Attorney’s office and the staff of the Police Chief work together in order to argue for or against DA Morrissey’s point. I do appreciate that his office was able to shed some light on his reasoning on the disagreement and provide some important details that were not available in previous reports.

The disagreement sounds like the kind that could happen in many different departments of any company.

My production department at Colorado Public Television includes editors that work directly with producers in our development department. If I were to propose the idea to replace my full time editors with freelance editors by the end of the year, I could see the producers in the development department potentially having a problem with my idea.

But I’m fairly confident that my boss would not want to see CBS4 Critic at Large Greg Moody reporting on the disagreement on CBS4 News at 10.

That remains the big problem for Mayor Michael Hancock. While the new details show that his DA and Police Chief are not far apart on theory, but mostly on timing, the Mayor still has his top two law enforcement agents in a public disagreement.

If the Mayor does not step in to mediate and more importantly, get the disagreement back behind closed doors, the argument will only continue to live on in the public eye.

I think the new details from the DA’s office shows that mediation can be successful because amending differences on timing are far easier than solving differences on theory.

But solving those differences needs to be Mayor Hancock’s No. 1 priority. Whether it’s taking a side or finding a compromise, he needs to find a way to bring these two important leaders back together. That will be the next big update to wait for.

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.

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