DENVER (CBS4) – Task forces reviewing the policies of the troubled Denver Sheriff’s Department on Thursday night released 40 draft recommendations.
The process, ordered by Mayor Michael Hancock, was sparked in large part by the $3 million dollar plus settlement of a lawsuit by Jamal Hunter, who claimed he was the victim of abuse by deputies while in jail.
“The training task force has made great strides to take a very thoughtful, very honest approach to reviewing the effectiveness of how Denver trains its sheriffs,” said Pete Dunbar, Director of the Colorado Peace Officer Standards and Training, in a prepared statement.
The drafts will be refined before a final report is submitted to the safety department’s executive director as well as a third party oversight firm.
Paul Lopez is one of two Denver City Council members who are now on the sheriff’s department reform executive committee.
“Do you think the sheriff’s department needs a complete makeover?” CBS4’s Rick Sallinger asked Lopez on Thursday before the recommendations came out.
“If it does, so be it,” Lopez said.
“At the end of the day we want a sheriff’s department that serves the City and County of Denver, makes sure that folks are safe in the jail and makes sure the deputies — there are great men and women that are doing their job — we want to help them do their job,” said
It’s how they do that job that has caused so much controversy. Videos of deputies striking inmates, tasing one, and the coming trial involving the death of another restrained after he refused to get his shoes are major concerns.
Councilwoman Jeanne Robb is the other Denver City Council member named to the review committee after uncharacteristically raising her voice earlier this week about non-inclusion of the council.
“We’ve got some real systemic problems over there a culture that’s got to be changed and has got to change,” Robb told CBS4.
She says they want to learn why this behavior has taken place.