Denver Police Union Says Mayor Should Fire Chief

DENVER (CBS4) – The union representing most Denver police officers announced a no confidence vote against Chief Robert White at a news conference on Tuesday.

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(credit: CBS)

“The Denver Police Protective Association recently conducted a survey concerning Denver Chief of Police Robert C. White, in which PPA members were asked if they had confidence in the ability of Chief White to lead the Denver Police Department,” Nick Rogers, President of the PPA, stated.

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Denver Police Chief Robert White (credit: CBS)

“In response to the survey, the responding members of the PPA voted by an overwhelming majority of 94 percent that they had no confidence in the ability of Chief White to effectively lead the Denver Police Department,” Rogers stated.

Rogers said the relationship between rank and file officer and the administration is at an all-time low.

He cited recent incidents, including “the manner in which a CORA request made by the PPA was handled by Chief White and Deputy Chief Matt Murray” and a car crash involving Chief White that “may have involved conduct prohibited by Denver Police policies.”

Rogers said the details of the car crash are being “withheld from public scrutiny.”

Rogers said he feels the vote reflects the perception among officers that there is a lack of transparency within the administration and a double standard applied to high-ranking members of the administration.

Rogers said 582 officers responded to the survey.

This is the first time the PPA has ever issued a no confidence vote.

“It says that we were forced to do something that we’ve never undertook before because we believe that the citizens deserve a better police department and a better administration. Our rank and file officers do a great job every day. They do it for the citizens. The citizens deserve better leadership of our department,” Rogers said.

“Should the mayor fire the chief?” Rogers was asked.

“I believe so,” Rogers answered.

After the news conference, Chief White issued the following statement:

“I highly respect the men and women of the Denver Police Department. I am now and have always been committed to doing what is best for the community and the Denver Police Department. Having been a Chief of Police for 20 years, I understand that being Chief can come with scrutiny from those who may disagree with decisions being made or fully understand all aspects of the position.

 “DPD is a great police department, but we must always find ways to be better as an agency.  During my time in Denver, we have focused on improving our policies and culture, and these changes have been met with resistance by some. However, it is my responsibility to make the right, and sometimes controversial, decisions for the betterment of our department and city.  I am steadfast in my beliefs of service before self and will continue to do what is best for the residents of Denver.”

Executive Director Stephanie O’Malley issued the following statement:

“Chief Robert White is a change agent and leader who through steadfast courage and tenacity has effected meaningful change in the Denver Police Department. While making change can be difficult, it can also be the right thing to do. I, as well as others, are encouraged by Chief White’s leadership.”

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock released this statement: “After six years of the same message from the union, I am not surprised by the PPA’s opposition to Chief White’s efforts to change the Denver Police Department’s long-held culture, but continue to believe it’s the right move for Denver.

I can tell you that when I speak to our officers, I hear a much different story than the one spun by the PPA today. I continue to hold great confidence in Chief White and our police officers to protect the health and safety of our people.”

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