By Kelly Werthmann
DENVER (CBS4) – It is the first of its kind and gives a glimpse behind the badges of the Denver Police Department.
The “Behind the Badge” project is a calendar featuring men and women with DPD in an effort to help the relationship between the community and police.
“I don’t want to offend any of our firefighters so I’ll say this,” Detective Malik Gatling said, “we’re the first guys to do a calendar with our clothes on.”
A group of officers’ wives started the project, including Kristen Lopez whose husband, Sgt. Tony Lopez, Jr., was nearly killed in the line of duty last year.
“We know this won’t appeal to everybody, but we are hoping even the people who hate police officers will see them in a different light,” Lopez said during the unveiling ceremony Wednesday.
The 2017 Behind the Badge calendar features a different officer or detective each month. Photos and stories show how they serve their community even after they hang up their uniform. Gatling is featured for May and shares how he’s a coach with the local Special Olympics.
“It’s an honor, to be honest with you,” Gatling told CBS4’s Kelly Werthmann of being in the calendar.
The unique project also includes Officer John Adsit who almost lost his life when he was hit by a car two years ago. He’s featured in December and shares how his music serves the Denver community along with how his faith helped save his life.
“It’s by the grace of God that Superman and John Adsit are here today, so we cannot give them enough accolades,” Denver Police Chief Robert White said.
Lopez is on the cover of the calendar in his Superman shirt, a nickname he earned after his miraculous recovery from being shot several times last year. He is also featured in January, sharing how his family and Crossfit saved him.
“It just makes you more proud to be part of the family,” he said of being in the calendar.
During a year when police across the country have experienced so much hate, the hope is the 2017 calendar will help bridge the gap between officers and the community they serve.
“It’s important to show that we’re people, too,” Gatling said.
Kelly Werthmann joined the CBS4 team in 2012 as the morning reporter, covering national stories like the Aurora Theater Shooting and devastating Colorado wildfires. She now anchors CBS4 Weekend Morning News and reports during the week. Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter @KellyCBS4.