By Brian Maass

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (CBS4)– Commerce City has requested the United States Department of Justice step in and help reform its police department, according to a letter obtained during a CBS4 Investigation.

The letter, sent this month by Commerce City’s Mayor, City Manager and Interim Police Chief, notes that “serious internal issues and officer misconduct have been all too prevalent in the department over a prolonged period of time.”

The two-page letter was sent to the Department of Justice’s Community Oriented Policing Division’s Technical Assistance Program for Collaborative Reform on July 18.

In it, the city wrote, “Within the last six months two police officers were criminally charged for their actions while on-duty. In other cases, officers have chosen to resign during the internal affairs investigative process after having been found to have engaged in conduct that likely would have resulted in termination. These incidents of misconduct on the part of police officers who are sworn to protect and serve the community have undermined the trust of the community and negatively impacted the credibility of the department and its membership who are committed to providing quality services.”

The city administrators note that they have been transforming their police department since 2013 with a wide ranging reform effort. They say while they have “experienced success in implementing these reform efforts, and the community is a safer place because of it,” more work and more help is needed.

If the Department of Justice agrees to step in, Commerce City officials expect the federal agency to assist with an organizational assessment of the department, examining internal operations, culture, policies, procedures, training and recruitment practices.

CBS4 Investigator Brian Maass has been with the station more than 30 years uncovering waste, fraud and corruption. Follow him on Twitter @Briancbs4.

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