DENVER (CBS4) – The honeymoon periods for new big city police chiefs are usually very brief. Heck, there are so many people to upset; the mayor, the safety department, the officers’ union, the citizens.
But Paul Pazen has managed to keep everyone happy a year into the job. The North High School grad knows the territory.
He knows law enforcement has to be more progressive and creative than ever before. As Denver grows, the mission becomes more complicated.
Chief Pazen has rolled out several new initiatives that are already showing results.
“I’m very happy with the results we’re seeing. I can honestly say we’re ahead of schedule,” he told CBS4’s Jim Benemann.
Those initiatives are wide-ranging; expanding the gunshot detection system, more intensive training for officers on when using force is appropriate.
And another that actually works with domestic violence offenders to keep them from reoffending.
“In our growing city we saw a growing number of domestic violence cases. Now we’re turning the corner and seeing a decrease.”
The crime statistics for the first six months of the year compared to 2018 show a safer city in many categories; murders down 30%, rapes down 20% with a dramatic drop in sex crimes overall, and burglaries down 16%.
The chief says he wants his department to be respected and admired in all of the neighborhoods. He says much of that depends on citizens seeing the department as promoting positive change.
It could be helping a struggling family connect with community resources, or directing a kid toward healthy alternatives to the gangs.
“We want to make sure every neighborhood has the opportunities to succeed. That every family succeeds. And every child,” Pazen said.
It’s a mission every citizen can buy into, and one year into his command, the citizens of Denver are being well served their police chief and his troops.