By Jamie Leary
DENVER (CBS4) – During one of Denver’s biggest snowstorms, the police department is praising the work of its newest unit: Crash Report Technicians.
“Crash report technicians are also known as CRTs,” said Sgt. Kimberly Lovato. “They are made up of 15 individuals who come from a variety of backgrounds with one thing in common: they all have law enforcement backgrounds and more importantly have a commitment to public safety.”
Lovato was hand-selected to get the program off the ground in February of 2017. After six weeks of training with the Police Academy, the 15 new hires were ready to hit the road.
“I am old enough where I don’t need to be out chasing bad guys. I can just help out how I can,” said Kirk Miller who retired with Denver Police in 2013 after 33 years.
The technicians work part time, Monday through Friday, during peak traffic times. They are trained to respond to minor crashes, but have cross training to prepare for a variety of situations.
The initial goal was to have CRTs respond to at least 60 percent of crashes for each district.
Several districts have already met that goal and have reported a noticeable difference in available resources.
“It’s been one of the best programs the Denver Police Department has ever implemented. One of the biggest bonuses is we have cut down our wait times for citizens where crashes have maybe held for 90 to almost 2 hours,” Lovato said. “We’re now cutting that down to less than 15 minute wait time.”
She continued saying, “So we’re getting a faster response. We’re keeping officers in service for the higher priority calls and we’ve also gotten some kudos from the Denver Fire Department. They’re not waiting out there at a crash scene for an officer.”
Between May and December of 2017, DPD reported more than 10,000 minor crashes. Of those, CRTs responded to 42 percent.
“That’s the biggest bonus of this program; is it has alleviated uniformed officers to handle higher priority calls,” said Lovato.
Lovato says Colorado’s 2018 budget includes the CRTs and says it looks like it’s here to stay.
She said the program has been so successful she recently hired 13 additional technicians who will start on Monday.
Jamie Leary joined the CBS4 team in 2015 and currently works as a reporter for CBS4 News at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. She couldn’t imagine a better place to live and work and will stop at nothing to find the next great story. Jamie loves learning about and hearing from her fellow community members, so connect with her on Facebook or Twitter @JamieALeary.