DENVER (CBS4)– Many employers encourage their workers to volunteer but Denver’s Department of Public Safety is taking it a step further. The organization is giving all 4,500 employees, from police, fire, dispatch and community corrections, eight hours of paid leave a year to help those less fortunate.
Denver’s Public Safety Manager Troy Riggs says it’s a different approach to public safety. They’re coming together for the community in a whole new way.
“We believe that every life that we help and put them on path to sustainability is good for public safety in this city,” said Riggs.
The public safety motto of “protect and serve” now means serving meals, too. Public safety administrators started the initiative by helping with dinner at the Denver Rescue Mission.
“The individuals serving today are responsible for 4,500 employees and the budgets of close to $600 million. They’re going to make decisions that affect people’s lives. I think we’re not only volunteering, we’re learning a great deal about how to make better decisions,” said Riggs.
Alexxa Gagner with the Denver Rescue Mission says it’s a win-win, “Really inviting people in to serve a lot of times can break down any barriers whether you know our population or not.”
Riggs hopes that population and public safety get to know each other better in a different setting, that’s not an emergency.
“It’s building trust… and one way we do that is by coming in and serving people when they have a need. It also educates us as we are doing this to what that need actually is. It’s helping one person at a time, one community at a time, but we are focused on this for the next four years in the Department of Public Safety,” said Riggs.
Riggs says employees are not required to participate – it’s a volunteer opportunity – and he says it will not result in overtime.
Already some of those that helped out at the rescue mission are planning to volunteer on their own.
If you have a suggestion on a place that could use some volunteers, Public Safety would like to hear from you. You can email them at: firstname.lastname@example.org.